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Motivate Your Employees to Meet Education Requirements

  Sep 10th, 2015   -     MRI Safety, News   -  

We spend a lot of time talking with medical facility managers about how tough it is to keep a staff current on their facility’s compliance and continuing education (CE) requirements. Can you recognize these three common roadblocks to compliance? A recent survey of 106 healthcare facilities by a professor of radiology at the University of Wisconsin found that only 25% of healthcare facilities are completing annual training. The study was regarding preparedness for XR29 standards. The results show room for improvement. Failure to meet compliance training can result in a reduction in the technical reimbursement, so the stakes are high. If your staff has even one person who doesn’t maintain the qualifications for their license, the facility as a whole can suffer serious consequences including:
  • A liability exposure with potential legal repercussions
  • The license for the facility can be compromised
  • Non-compliance with CMS, resulting in a penalty or reduction of reimbursements
These and many other risks of non-compliance are nothing new. So why is systemic non-compliance still a problem in hospitals and clinics? The key components are the three biggest hurdles in nearly every walk of life: time, money, and attitude. 1. Time: Staff members don’t have time to complete required courses, and managers don’t have time to make sure they do. For time-deprived physicians, nurses, MRI techs, etc., taking compliance training, CE courses and attending seminars/webinars is just about the last thing on their minds. When they do think about it, they’re easily turned aside simply by having to figure out different aspects such as:
  • Which credits/exams/certifications do I need to address next?
  • Are the required courses/seminars available online?
  • If not, when and where are they?
  • Can I manage this into my schedule?
All these hurdles must be jumped before actually signing up for the course or test, and then preparing for and completing it. On the management side, there must be someone monitoring employees’ development. They should be prompting them to complete the necessary requirements and follow through with documentation of their progress. These individuals probably face many of the same challenges as the employees they’re monitoring, if not more. Time-crunch solution: You may not be able to do much about decreasing the time required to prepare for and complete educational requirements, other than making sure employees are granted time in their schedules to address these requirements. However, you can help with the logistics. You can start by looking for an automated online CE tracking system. Each employee should be able to log in to the system and see at a glance where they are in terms of their regulatory compliance education and continuing education for licensing purposes. The tracking system should also provide those responsible for monitoring the staff’s compliance with the ability to track both individual and group progress and as a result, simplify the reporting process. You may be surprised what a difference it makes in compliance when you remove the paper shuffling and head-scratching that stops so many people from completing the right CE requirements at the right time. 2. Money: Is it easier to build or buy CE content? And if buying it is better, who pays? You can simplify CE requirements for employees by conducting courses on-site. However, for many CE requirements, this is not practical. First you must have the in-house expertise. Even then, if you’re relying on one person for a given course, there is much that remains out of your control. It is important to establish a program for keeping enough qualified trainers in place to meet the demands for training at varying times. Another solution to in-house training is to partner with a CE provider to customize online content for your facility. This gives your staff an online portal that pertains only to your facility, so meaningless searching will no longer take up valuable training time. A “who pays” for the training: Your facility may currently buy CE courses for compliance training on a “per-seat” basis for an individual course. This lessens the demand on your staff to develop in house training and provides more flexibility to complete it. For example, some CE content providers charge per seat, so if you have 20 employees who need the course you purchase 20 “seats.” Once 20 employees have registered for that course, it’s closed until you purchase more seats. In this system, it’s easier for the facility to pay for certain courses, typically those necessary for compliance which allows the facility to remain eligible for CMS reimbursement. This solution leaves the employees paying for their CE courses to maintain their license. If you want to turn CE into a powerful employee benefit, consider a plan that cost-effectively pays for the required compliance training and most of your employees’ required CE. This way the facility purchases seats for a single fee that provides access to an entire library that covers both compliance training and CE. You might find that the cost this type of program provides a great value to the organization while easing the monetary and time demands on your staff. At the same time, you’re encouraging staff members to stay on track with requirements. Even more, you’re encouraging them to grow as professionals with the added bonus of knowing that your team has completed their compliance training and their continuing education is in place to maintain their license. 3. Attitude: Some folks just don’t like going “back to school” — especially not when the CE content makes the experience a chore One reason employees aren’t motivated to stay on top of their training is that the courses aren’t personally satisfying. They’ve taken too many CE courses that weren’t presented well enough to hold their interest or help them retain the material. Think about the best and worst training experiences you’ve had. Bad training- whether it’s in person, online, or at-your-own pace formats- seems to drag on forever. It’s either so simplistic or so esoteric that your mind constantly wanders. Now, have you ever been in a training session that teaches what seems like thousands of facts and ideas in a short time, yet you felt like you just got it? Chances are, the material was presented with energy, confidence, and credibility. That’s the type of material you need to seek out for your employees. It’s difficult to get people to overcome the obstacles that pop-up everyday that prevent them from getting their work done. It’s increasingly difficult when the work itself is tedious because the required education is boring. So, if you haven’t reviewed your CE content in some time, take a fresh, honest look at it now. By taking a broad view of how all three of these factors are affecting your training program, you will be able to get to the source of the problem and ensure your facility is not another liability.