Many healthcare organizations currently are facing increased compliance regulations from staffing to operations, etc. The penalties for noncompliance are steep, posing a risk for everyone involved. Thankfully, a top-rated learning management system, or LMS, can help you meet compliance requirements in a heavily regulated industry. An LMS provides value far beyond delivering e-learning courses.
The Heavy Costs of Noncompliance
The healthcare industry faces more regulation than most. The rise of the Electronic Health Record (EHR) has made security and compliance more critical than ever. HIPAA violations come with steep fines, ranging from $100 to $1.5 million. Providers may also risk board sanctions or lose their license. While most of this is probably well understood by most healthcare professionals, some of the finer points could prove to be hugely valuable to you.
According to Becker’s Hospital Review, some of most common HIPAA violations include:
- Employees are disclosing information. One of the most common HIPAA violations is employees gossiping about patients. Teaching patient confidentiality helps reduce fines and increase compliance.
- The mishandling of medical records. If a practice uses written charts, a nurse or physician may leave it out for others to see.
- Lost or stolen devices. Many physicians take their work on the go with mobile devices. Protected health information stolen from these devices can result in hefty HIPAA fines.
- Texting patient information. While a simple and effective way for physicians to report, they can expose patient data.
- Social media blunders. Posting pictures of unusual situations can compromise patient privacy. Employees must be aware of the dangers social media can cause.
The costs of noncompliance highlight the need for a robust online learning system. With an LMS, employees can undergo personalized training based on their job descriptions.
How Can Online Learning Help?
Online training helps your healthcare organization meet compliance standards and reduce violation risks. Here’s how:
- It ensures all training is consistent, both in content and delivery.
- It’s accessible to all staff across different workforces.
- It allows workers to access the material on their schedule.
- It features employee tracking, which adds a level of accountability to your team.
- It has evaluation mechanisms, so employees know where they stand.
- It has automatic scheduling capabilities – for example, an annual refresher course.
- It can issue certificates and badges.
- Administrators have full access to data and reports. For example, they may look at areas of weakness by sub-area to tailor further training.
Learning management systems are a sensible option for healthcare organizations of all sizes. eLearning and assessments are cost-efficient and effective methods of quality control. Setting up an eLearning platform for healthcare compliance is a simple process. And, hosted systems do not need an internal IT department to deploy, install, or manage them.
Tailoring Compliance Training
Training is expensive, making it vital that compliance training targets the right people. Employees do not want to engage in irrelevant training. Presenting them with unnecessary information hinders engagement and retention.
The best way to address this is by connecting training to an employee’s needs and job description. The right LMS allows you to track individuals and tailor their training. If employee reports show weaknesses, you can adjust their learning accordingly. You may also adjust learning to specific job roles, regions, or other characteristics. Managers can also receive automatic alerts when employees finish training or fail assessments.
Using these forms of quality control, healthcare organizations can reduce their risk of noncompliance. Given an audit, an LMS provides evidence that organizations have issued compliance training. Last, personalization with an LMS increases employee engagement, giving learners relevant training.
The basic principles of adult learning show that we retain approximately 10% of what we see, 30% of what we see and hear, and 90% of what we see, hear and do. Interactive updates are essential to compliance training and reducing violation risks. An online LMS delivers applicable learning, encouraging lesson retention. Engaging learners with relevant lessons help ensure employees understand and apply their training.
When to Use an LMS?
Healthcare organizations can use an LMS for compliance training in many different scenarios. These include:
- The onboarding process for new employees
- Management training
- Annual refresher training
- Quarterly updates or assessments
- Training for third-party vendors or partners
Online learning management platforms offer social capabilities to enhance the learning experience. These include group discussions and chat forums, which supports learning across departments. But how should your healthcare organization approach the compliance training process?
Creating Effective Compliance Training: 5 Essential Steps
Creating a compliance program may seem daunting, but it’s not as difficult as you may think. Follow these actionable steps to create a comprehensive healthcare compliance training program:
1. Establish Your Training Needs
A useful medical compliance program contains written policies and procedures. These documents clarify a healthcare organization’s expectations for their employees. They also speak to the organization’s commitment to legal standards and code of ethics. Develop training based on your existing code of conduct, organizational mission, and values. Look at existing policies and codes of conduct to determine your compliance requirements. What are your key risk areas? How does each of these relate to different roles? Looking at overall needs, develop modules that reflect your organization's ethical standards.
2. Choose Someone to Deploy Your Solution
Large healthcare groups have the luxury of selecting a Chief Compliance Officer or committee. But, many smaller healthcare organizations do not have the budget to fill these roles. A CCO may work with senior management to deploy a training and compliance program. Smaller healthcare programs work collaboratively to understand audits, monitoring, and assess compliance programs.
A learning management system helps realize all these goals. Your healthcare organization will still have to determine the type of solution required. Questions to ask include:
- What do we need to do differently to make compliance training more accessible?
- What kind of training materials do we need? Will online training supplement other forms of learning or replace it?
- Can we use existing content, or do we need to buy or develop it?
- What learning environment will we use? Will the learning be self-paced, consist of webinars or workshops? How will we assess its efficacy?
Now is also the time to choose a hosted learning management system or an internal solution. A hosted system does not require internal IT support, but the latter requires your IT team to deploy and manage the system internally.
3. Design Your Training
Compliance training is more than regurgitating a set of regulations or policies. It also involves the actions one must take to reduce the risk of noncompliance and HIPAA violation. These actions include:
- Ensuring that all learners and stakeholders understand the consequences of noncompliance.
- Using interactive methods of training, such as modules, infographics, and short videos. Interactivity improves retention and lessons are more memorable.
- Making training engaging. Compliance training can be a dry subject, and learners may struggle with the material. Make things fun and interactive by introducing a simple social component or using incentives.
- Tailoring your training for your organization’s weak spots. Use a pretest to find where your team struggles and include extra training in these areas.
Compliance training should be mandatory for all employees. But, do they all receive it the same way? First, set up an in-person review of your compliance plan and code of conduct. Next, design modules or lessons with focus points for each department and job role. Remember, training programs should be interactive and include realistic scenarios.
Now is also the time to consider the best methods of delivery. Some items, such as refresher courses, may be best sent to mobile devices. This mobility allows your employees to complete training during their downtime. Other forms, like onboarding training, are best provided via desktop or laptop module.
When planning for compliance training delivery, consider how to include managers and stakeholders. Will managers receive automatic notifications of completion and or non-completion? How will they support the learners?
5. Create Assessments
Finally, your training program is only as good as its assessments. When designing a method for assessment, consider:
- Who will employees report to for noncompliance issues?
- What is the timeframe for reporting compliance issues?
- Are your employees familiar with compliance issues they should report? How will you know?
The goal of any assessment is to make sure your employees understand and can apply the material. Employees should be able to do more than recalling it when prompted. Make a clear plan for how you will assess the value of your training. Certificates help healthcare organizations to keep track of who has completed tasks. Decide how often you will issue refresher courses and who will need to take it.
A system for assessment and internal audits does more than track the effectiveness of your program. It also helps providers follow Centers for Medicaid Services (CMS) requirements. An LMS enables you to determine any weak spots so you can follow up on training accordingly.
Partner With A Learning Management System for Comprehensive Compliance
Compliance can be a headache for anyone in the healthcare
A learning management system is a critical partner in compliance training and monitoring. Flexible training increases retention and reduces the risk of compliance violations. An online learning system provides flexibility and accessibility. These benefits are vital to an industry that never sleeps.
There is no better compliance training partner than a learning management system. Torch LMS is a leading provider of quality compliance training management. Get a demo today to see how automated your compliance management could be.