Improving Healthcare Outcomes Starts with Employee Training

In the age of big data, hospitals and health systems have a broader range of information-derived insights at their disposal than ever before. But healthcare is still a people-first industry, in which the contribution of caregivers and administrative staff alike impact patient care deliverables and satisfaction more than any other factor. In this article, we’ll examine how training employees can drive better quality in both clinical and business departments.

The Hiring Challenges Faced by the Healthcare Industry

A poll conducted by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) found that 60 percent of healthcare leaders were finding it hard to recruit highly skilled nonclinical staff because the best applicants were already employed elsewhere, competitors were offering better pay and benefits packages, and budgets for small and midsize organizations were tight. Another challenge encapsulated by one respondent was that “Lack of medical training in colleges and technical schools and reliance on ‘on the job training’ means less qualified non-clinical applicants.”

In other words, even if a healthcare organization can hire the candidates it needs to fill open job roles, they might require upskilling from the get-go if they’re to perform the duties expected of them well. Achieving such proficiency cannot be left to classroom training, because it typically takes too long and would pull new hires away from their work. Job shadowing can be effective in some situations, but it is limited in scale and requires experienced employees to take time out of their day. Another respondent to the MGMA poll stated that such on-the-job training was complicated by a lack of manpower among existing staff and a low budget for training new employees.

How Healthcare Training Impacts Patient Care Outcomes

A second factor complicating healthcare employee training is the high turnover rate in the industry. In another MGMA poll, 50 percent of respondents identified clinical support staff (such as registered nurses, medical assistants, and licensed practical nurses) as the positions with the greatest annual turnover. Office staff like transcriptionists, medical records personnel, and receptionists were identified as additional high turnover roles by the healthcare executives surveyed. This data suggests that it’s difficult for organizations to get a reasonable return on their hiring and training investment when there’s a revolving door of both clinical and support staff. As a result, some hospitals, physician practices, and other health providers may cut back their per-employee training costs.

However, this approach can prove to be shortsighted, resulting in worse patient care outcomes, even greater staff turnover, and decreased job satisfaction. A study led by researchers from Rice University, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and the University of Central Florida concluded that team training of healthcare employees can reduce patient mortality by 15 percent and medical errors by 19 percent. Commenting on the study in an interview for ScienceDaily, Eduardo Salas, the Allyn R. and Gladys M. Cline Chair and Professor of Psychology at Rice University, and one of the study’s authors said, “The evidence is clear: Medical error causes patient harm, and much of this error is preventable. Team training is one possible way to prevent such errors from ever happening.”

Scaling Employee Training using Technology

Coordinating such team training in person or in a classroom setting is time consuming, slow, and costly, particularly when there are a lot of clinical and administrative staff at larger hospitals and health systems and such education might be needed for staff at multiple locations. Which is why video-based learning can be useful. It allows a healthcare organization to record footage just once, rather than having to repeat the same training exercises over and over again.

An AI-driven platform like DeepHow via Stanley X can then break up the content into short, digestible chunks that are automatically tagged and categorized. This makes video clips searchable, allowing users to locate the precise piece of content they need at the exact moment they need it. DeepHow also transcribes what speakers are saying and translates it into multiple languages that users can choose between, making videos highly usable without the need for slow and expensive transcription.

Given the shortage of skilled staff on the healthcare job market, organizations need help in upskilling new hires as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. Complementing traditional training methods with video-based learning can help achieve this aim, creating a more competent workforce that is better prepared to provide exemplary patient care and service in clinical departments and drive business success in administrative roles.