The Business of Learning

With Changes in Healthcare Looming: The Time for Training is Now

Increased market pressures in healthcare are encouraging medical systems more than ever to shift their focus from episodic to managed care, reduce the number and frequency of re-admissions, and drastically reduce costs. It’s a big undertaking – and training will be one of the critical factors for success as it allows providers to improve across the critical areas of care, efficiency and costs.

How big of an issue is training in the healthcare field? Medical errors, some of which can be attributed to insufficient training, cost the U.S. economy an astounding $19.5 billion dollars each year, with an approximate cost of $13,000 per error. While training is one of the best ways to reduce error rates in a hospital –current training programs in many health care systems face institutional challenges. Each area of functionality within these systems has its own incubated process for training and learning. While this may allow for initial flexibility and specialization, fragmentation can also result in misaligned goals, redundancies and varying processes for execution. This can lead to miscommunications and mistakes by employees who have different training backgrounds when they need to operate together seamlessly. By focusing on the training methods with the highest potential for positive impact, organizations can identify and eliminate problems prior to putting its people in scenarios where successful execution is required 100 percent of the time.

Here are several training methods to consider when training employees for high-consequence environments:

–        Simulation: It is absolutely vital that practitioners experience simulated scenarios which will accurately recreate the stressful, zero-fail tolerance environment. Through repetition, processes will be improved and mistakes will be eliminated.

–        Group Emotional Intelligence (GEI) training: GEI develops when individuals learn the patterns of behavior or norms that develop within a team. Understanding these patterns and the expectations involved allow for confident execution and effective communication.

–        Blended Learning programs: Combining technologies and learning interactions – from web-based training to virtual classroom instruction to instructor-led training – makes quality training more accessible to more employees quickly, and allows organizations to adjust for variables such as technological limitations or resource constraints.

With coordinated training comes confident execution. A strategically trained staff can perform their duties and transfer tasks seamlessly to one another. As healthcare systems struggle to lower costs, they simply cannot afford to let costly mistakes occur due to employee error and miscommunication. As healthcare continues to change, training practices must evolve with them.

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