Mmmm. Breathe deep. Can you smell it? Can you feel it? No, not the pumpkin lattes or sprigs of spruce and pine. It’s more like stale coffee and the gentle clicking of keys on the computer.
Yes! ‘Tis the season for evaluating training programs and checking everything twice to make sure you’re on CMS’ and The Joint Commission’s nice lists.
To get you in the spirit, we’ve put together a three-part blog series, 12 Days of Compliance, to keep your organization on track through the rest of the year and on into 2021.
Part 2: Measure Your Results
Compliance is about more than just yearly mandatory training. You stay compliant because you want to provide quality care, reduce risk and eliminate variations in care. To meet any of those goals, you need to be tracking the performance of your team. We don’t mean just monitoring what courses they’ve taken; you’ll do better to measure how much they actually retain and in what areas they need to improve. Read below to learn four ways to measure the effectiveness of your training, as we count down days 8 to 5.
8. Create Baselines
Think about your favorite part of school. The thing you miss the most.
You’re probably thinking of your Ticonderoga #2 pencil scratching away while taking an exam, right?
OK, probably not.
But unlike certain standardized tests required of high school students, you should find assessments that will actually measure how much your staff knows about a wide range of job-related topics.
Here’s how it works.
You assign your staff member an assessment that will test their knowledge of job-specific skills.
You’ll get the results, which will show you what the staff member is good at and what they need additional training in. This will be your baseline.
Once you have a baseline in place, you’ll be able to identify gaps in their knowledge and assign courses to fill those gaps.
Maximize your staff’s time by giving them courses that fill gaps in their knowledge instead of wasting hours or days trying to teach them something they already know.
Work smarter, not harder. Your staff will appreciate not having to take the same course about the same topic they’ve already mastered, and you’ll be creating a stronger team.
Without a baseline in place, you will end up measuring the number of courses your staff members have taken. That tells only half the story.
Instead of being reactionary and holding trainings after a mistake happens, you can use assessments as a tool to identify potential issues before they negatively impact a patient.
Be proactive in measuring your staff’s knowledge using assessments.
7. Track Competency
Tracking competency is easier said than done.
Numbers and spreadsheets can’t determine whether your team member is regularly employing person-centered care.
There isn’t a test you can put in front of them to know whether they’re employing best practices. That’s not an easy thing to measure because it requires observation.
So what is the best way to track competency development?
Create customized proficiency standards and scales to help measure the things that aren’t easily quantifiable.
As you observe your staff working in their day-to-day jobs, you can keep track of how they are performing certain activities.
Assess them on your customized scale and identify strengths and weaknesses.
Creating proficiency standards will give you consistency in evaluation.
Every evaluator will know what it means to “meet expectations,” so you’ll be able truly determine the quality that each member of your staff is providing.
The first step in solving a problem is recognizing that you have one. Without measuring and tracking the competencies of your staff, how do you know if each staff member has sufficient skills for your case mix? How do you know if your training program is working?
By not employing this practice, you’re deciding not to measure important skills.
6. Demonstrate Skills
Online training is a fantastic tool for anyone in charge of managing compliance in your organization.
But it’s just one tool; it’s not the whole toolbox.
Don’t tell this to your friends who are teachers, but not everything can be measured with a multiple-choice test.
Sometimes you need your staff to be able to demonstrate their skills in person for certain tasks.
How will you know that your staff is properly washing their hands before working with those they care for?
You need to observe your staff member washing their hands before you can say for certain that they know the procedure.
The best way to measure and track these types of skills is by using checklists that are thorough and walk you through each step of the procedure.
Observe your staff members as they attempt to complete the task or series of tasks given, and measure their performance against the checklist.
These kinds of checklists can be found online, or you can try to build them yourself.
After you observe, create records of a staff member’s ability to demonstrate specific job-related tasks to an approved observer.
Not only will you have confirmation that your staff members are following best practices, but you’ll have an electronic record of their competency.
You will be able to easily identify what tasks they are not properly trained on, and you will know down to the step where they are making mistakes.
In some cases, you don’t know what you can’t see. So it will pay off to find checklists that are designed for you to learn more about how your staff members work.
5. Customize and Automate Reporting
Too many organizations are relying on manually updating spreadsheets or stuffing their filing cabinets to track compliance.
What happens when your computer crashes or you misplace some of your papers?
Not creating an internet-based system to report on compliance puts your organization at risk. If you misplace the wrong piece of paper at the wrong time or forget to update the spreadsheet, that could be an issue.
An auditor or surveyor could come at any moment, so you need to be prepared to hand over all compliance-related information whenever someone asks for it.
With Relias’ reporting features, your information is just a few clicks away. Build customized reports that pull the information you need automatically.
No more ruffling through papers or creating complex formulas in your spreadsheets.
Without a solid reporting framework in place, you will be spending a lot of time manually tracking what has been completed by your staff.
Instead of taking up all your time tracking, spend your time on reporting and analyzing. Free yourself up to dig into the competency of your staff rather than waste your time manually collecting data.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you had the time to analyze where the strengths and weaknesses of your staff are?
Utilize automated reporting and put your resources toward building new plans rather than building spreadsheets.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2019 and has been updated with new content.
If you missed Part 1, catch up here.