Aligning L&D with Business Goals: Healthcare

The healthcare industry is evolving at a rapid pace, which means providers need to not only finance and deliver quality care, but also treat the maximum number of people at the lowest possible costs.

In this business goal alignment post, we'll discuss how L&D can align its programs with organizational goals and objectives within this industry.

Timing is everything in healthcare

One of the most obvious (and likely recurring) priorities for healthcare organizations is keeping patients healthy. There are many ways in which L&D can and should contribute to this priority:

Reduce mortality rate

L&D can provide training and learning resources that focus on improving clinician performance to increase response times during emergency situations—such as heart attacks. 

Furthermore, L&D can focus on learning activities to drive improvement while revising or removing less effective learning activities.

Decrease recovery time

Countless research reports (like this one) have found that sleep disturbance of intensive care patients significantly prolongs recovery and increases mortality. L&D can directly impact patient recovery by providing training to employees who work in the hospital during typical sleeping hours.

Specifically, provide training around how to control noise levels and monitor vitals without waking patients.

Show how minor changes in staff practices can help improve outcomes and change decades-old routines—such as checking vitals at 2 a.m., cleaning rooms late at night, or administering unnecessary medication.

Comply with new government requirements

As health care and insurance plans evolve, L&D’s role is not only to ensure the organization is kept current with government requirements, but also fully understand how those mandates affect their practices and patients.

And an inevitable priority for many healthcare organizations is mitigating the risk of cyber hacks and data breaches. The cost of HIPAA violations, missteps in handling claims, or service interruptions in critical health-related systems can be both financial and symbolic.

According to HIPAA Journal, data breaches reported to the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights in 2016 exceeded that of 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 combined. That equates to big losses in dollars and consumer confidence. So how does L&D fit in?

Lessen annual spending on operational costs

In this example, let’s say your organization’s goal is to reduce the annual spending on operational costs—such as legal fees, crisis management, regulatory fines, and database management.

As a result, the organization identifies that HIPAA violations are a key area to address.

L&D can start by finding the training currently in place that most closely relates to or most likely resulted in previous incidents of HIPAA violations.

Next, identify the people involved in those violations and gauge if they had lower performance or scores in those training programs. If so, there’s likely an information gap in employee training that needs to be addressed and remedied.

Or, say your situation isn't that simple, and your investigation shows that everyone involved with a violation attended and passed training with flying colors. A possible solution is identifying other relationships in training and performance.

For example, do violators exhibit lower competency scores in certain areas? Do they have less experience in their roles? Do they work in a certain department or during a specific shift? Continue to drill down until you find the outlier.

Technology is changing patient care

Due to the growing number of options in consumer health-related technology, patients are not only better equipped to monitor their own health, but also share that information with their medical providers.

Furthermore, mobile apps offer an array of patient benefits ranging from scheduling appointments and promoting wellness to virtually communicating directly with physicians.

That means patients are treated more quickly without having to leave home, which also means there’s less strain when it comes to patient scheduling and in-office wait times—often allowing physicians to spend more time with patients.

If reduced in-office time is a goal for the organization, there are a few ways that L&D can assist.

Efficiency saves money

Survey care providers to identify the activities during in-office visits that generally occupy the most time. Can any of these activities be eliminated with an existing digital alternative or with better pre-appointment patient preparation?

Perhaps receptionists, nurses, or physicians need more training on how to prepare, diffuse, and direct patients in these instances.

In hospital settings, can physician assistants or nurses be trained to better accomodate patients who expect an unrealistic amount of attention from their physician—such as diagnosing, treating, and answering questions for patients?

Self-service is expected

If you have a mobile app for patients, audit the app to find the most used features. Provide regular education to healthcare providers on the most common types and areas of content that patients access on the app.

This may contribute to physicians providing more concise answers both in-office and in digital communication. Furthermore, customer service staff also will benefit from this training by being able to better direct patients to the most appropriate resources.

Multiple payment options frustrate patients

According to PwC, about five percent of healthcare provider revenue is currently received through credit card transactions—a percentage that likely will double by 2020.

That means providers will need to modernize their payment options to create more consumer-centered experiences.

Currently, many health care systems don’t have standardized payment methods, processing systems, or vendors. Rather, different offices and locations within one system often choose their preferred methods and vendors.

As a result, patients are routinely left frustrated and confused after multiple bills from the same system with each invoice requiring separate forms of payment.

Make patient billing quick and easy

It’s critical that your organization has a team responsible for creating standard processes for invoicing patients and processing payments to:

  • lessen confusion,
  • increase efficiency, and
  • expedite payments from patients and insurance companies.

And L&D can assist in this effort by ensuring that training for these processes is routinely developed, updated, and delivered to the teams responsible for patients billing.

As a result, patients will be able to better understand their bills and provide timely payments, which should help impact your organization's bottom line.

Up Next: L&D focus on pharmaceuticals

Our next post will explore ways for L&D to align its programs with organizational goals and objectives specific to the pharmaceutical industry. And be sure to sign up for Watershed Insights and have the latest posts sent right to your inbox.

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And the learning measurement survey says...

See how global changes have affected the world of learning and development by reading the results from our sixth annual survey with LEO Learning. It shares an evolving picture of L&D’s relationship with measurement and business impact—including real-world examples and extended commentary.

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