The basics of a healthcare LMS
Few industries have grown as quickly and consistently as healthcare. From changes in regulations to the continual growth of the workforce to breakthroughs in treatment and diagnostics, the need for healthcare organizations to ensure their employees are knowledgeable and up-to-date is critical. And in order to manage consistent, quality training at scale, more and more healthcare organizations are relying on a learning management system or LMS.
What is an LMS or HLMS?
An LMS, at its most basic level, is a software platform used to create, deliver, and track employee participation in training. An LMS built specifically for healthcare organizations is sometimes referred to as an HLMS. Complex organizations need fully-configurable LMS systems. For healthcare organizations, who must meet regulatory requirements, track licensing and certifications, and scale to meet changes in these needs, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) LMS or HLMS is often their best option.
What is the importance of an LMS in healthcare?
The demands on doctors, nurses, and other health care providers (HCPs) is at an all-time high and while growing your organization’s workforce will help alleviate those demands, it brings its own set of challenges. One of the biggest challenges is navigating the knowledge gap with your transitional workforce. You've got temporary workers, new-to-the-job workers, and seasoned workers. When you add in the need to ensure your workforce is certified, compliant, and using the latest best practices, managing the continual professional development of your staff quickly becomes overwhelming. Making sense of this complexity is precisely what a well implemented and thoroughly integrated LMS helps you do.
What is the difference between a healthcare LMS and others?
Finding the right LMS for your healthcare organization is about more than just finding an easy-to-understand user interface (UI) at the right price. While those factors are important, it’s critical that an LMS provider understand the unique requirements of the healthcare industry.
How to use your healthcare LMS
Implementing an LMS for your healthcare organization can help you meet multiple needs across the organization, improving patient care outcomes and helping meet various business objectives — such as HCP retention or employee training and compliance goals. Here are some ways your organization can leverage an LMS.
Use case 1: New employee onboarding
Getting your new employees — both full time and temporary or traveling HCPs — quickly up-to-speed on your facilities, policies, and technology is critical to providing consistent and quality patient care. Using an LMS enables you to provide a uniform and remote-friendly means of onboarding your workforce that can easily be tailored to specific roles or requirements.
Use case 2: Assessing knowledge gaps and continuing professional development
Creating better patient outcomes requires that your doctors, nurses, and other HCPs stay up-to-date on the latest best practices and standards of care. Doing this effectively means not just knowing that most of your HCPs have finished the latest course — but assessing their individual knowledge and making sure they’re getting the training they need. Doing this manually for one small team would be difficult enough. Tracking it manually at a facility-wide scale is almost impossible. A well-designed LMS solution can help you assess the skills and education of your workforce, identify gaps in knowledge, provide a wide range of training to supplement that knowledge, and provide tracking and reporting — so you know your workforce has the skills your organization needs.
Use case 3: Patient education
Well-trained health care providers are critical to providing the best patient outcomes possible — but educating your patients helps build trust, promote a proactive role in their own care, encourage adherence to treatment plans, and remove uncertainty. By creating patient and caregiver training on healthy living, post-care regimens, and new treatment options you can help patients become active, engaged participants in their care, which delivers better outcomes for everyone.
Benefits your healthcare LMS should provide
While security for a SaaS solution is a basic requirement, not every provider understands the regulatory requirements of the healthcare industry. By partnering with an LMS provider with deep experience in the healthcare industry, you can be assured that their solution will help you stay compliant.
Tracking and verifying your health care providers’ certifications and ensuring they’re working roles they’re qualified for becomes a daunting task the larger your workforce gets. Deploying an LMS that provides certification tracking and reporting reduces that complexity and helps your providers stay current by providing reminders about renewal deadlines and relevant training opportunities.
While most LMS systems boast some level of personalization or customization, many require significant developer resources to build complex learning environments. But large healthcare organizations typically have multiple evolving and ongoing needs across different departments and facilities. This means any successful LMS solution will need to have both easy-to-use customization features and the capability to anticipate their specific needs.
Critical healthcare LMS features
When using an LMS for continual professional development and certification tracking, it’s vital that the solution provide deep, detailed readouts on course use, engagement, and completion across users. The ability to build custom reports or dashboards with automated updates and distribution is critical to ensuring your LMS is helping you achieve your goals.
Easy course creation
Whether it’s updating to the latest information or meeting a public health need, the courses in a healthcare organization’s LMS will change. Ensuring that courses can be easily created and updated by non-developers will help ensure your solution is flexible enough to meet your changing needs.
Intuitive UI for admins and users alike
Whether it’s on the back end or from a student’s perspective, if your LMS is difficult to use or navigate, usage will eventually fall off. Providing a straightforward and easy-to-use learning environment will help keep both your users and your administrators engaged and learning.
Choosing your healthcare LMS
Choosing the right LMS solution for your organization can be a complicated process — whether you’re comparing its features to your needs, understanding how it’s deployed and eventually operated, or planning the long term outcomes — it can be hard to even begin evaluating a solution. Here are a few quick tips:
Tips for choosing an LMS
- Focus on the learners’ experience and results: Make sure the solutions you’re evaluating are intuitive, mobile-friendly, and meet the needs of your workforce.
- Remember ALL of your end users: Outside of your learners, you’ll have different teams setting up courses, dashboards, and automated reporting on a variety of devices. Your staff likely includes a range of technological comfort levels and experience. Ensuring that everyone can easily use the tool is critical to its success.
- Integrations can unlock adoption: No one needs another piece of technology that sits in its own silo. Finding an LMS that integrates with your existing technology will help drive not just adoption, but engagement and use in the long run.
- Always be ready for audits: Your LMS should be ready for the unannounced compliance auditor — able to turn out the required reporting clearly and easily, right when you need it.
- Made-to-evolve: Of course you want a made-to-measure solution that fits your organization’s needs on day one. But can your solution evolve with your org to meet its needs in the future?
- Know your needs: Finding a solution that meets your needs requires you to know what you need — this helps avoid delays from unplanned customizations and data migrations. Have a comprehensive list ready, which may mean surveying department leads and examining your existing systems.
- Technical horsepower: Does your solution have what you need for proper integration and future evolution? Does it meet SOC or ISO compliance requirements? Where is data stored? What Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plans are in place?
- How does your LMS support ongoing competency development for new nurses as well as more tenured staff?
- Tell me about how your platform makes the survey/auditing process more efficient for when Joint Commission shows up?
- What is your ability to integrate with point of care reference tools like Lippincott or Elsevier?
- How does your system manage BLS, ACLS, PALS certifications? What is the process for managing Continuing Education (CE) credits and other certifications in your LMS?
- Describe how policies can be managed and acknowledged in your system?
What it all comes down to:
From healthcare-specific compliance requirements to HCP certifications to complex organizational structures, finding an LMS that meets the needs of a healthcare organization is no easy feat. But it’s not just about being compliant — it’s about creating better patient outcomes across your organization. It’s about ensuring both your healthcare providers and your patients are trained, knowledgeable, and engaged in working towards those outcomes.
Ready to see how Learnsoft can help your healthcare organization? Schedule a demo today.