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Digital Competency Evaluations Can Ease Your Administrative Burden

Managing competency evaluations is time-intensive, and gaps in skills or knowledge can sometimes go unnoticed. Many post-acute care agencies continue to use outdated paper-based evaluation processes, which are difficult to track and prone to errors. With the right tools, you can streamline the process, minimize errors, and provide quality care to your patients and residents.

The quality of the care you deliver is more important than ever with value-based purchasing (VBP) taking hold. Under VBP, your organization is rewarded or penalized based on patient outcomes, so ensuring the competency of your staff to provide high-quality, evidence-based care is vital.

During routine or complaint-based surveys of healthcare organizations, government auditors require evidence of staff competence, as well as compliance training, ongoing competency education, annual skills training, and licenses needed to practice.

Trish Richardson photo
Trish Richardson, MSN, BSBA, RN, NE-BC, CMSRN

“CMS has increased oversight of nursing homes and per instance fines for poor-performing facilities from $21,000 to $1,000,000,” said Trish Richardson, MSN, BSBA, RN, NE-BC, CMSRN, Director of Post-Acute Care Solutions at Relias and President-elect of the North Carolina Nurses Association. “In addition to validating staff performance and up-to-date competence, surveyors are looking for evidence of a standardized process for comprehensive skills training.”

“The key to reducing your risk for survey deficiencies and associated fines is to use an evidence-based platform to consistently train your team and secure a safer care environment and optimal resident outcomes,” said Richardson.

Competency crisis

Healthcare organizations are facing a competency crisis. A study published last year in The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing suggests, “Initial competency of [new graduate registered nurses] is declining at an alarming rate.”

The volume of new, inexperienced hires that replace experienced clinicians who have retired or changed careers poses a risk to providing consistent care. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 2.6 million healthcare and social assistance employees quit their jobs between April and August 2022.

To address this challenge, post-acute care providers need to identify staff members’ strengths and weaknesses from day one, improve their skills, and build their confidence to provide safe and optimal care. Your staff’s knowledge, skills, and abilities are key to delivering quality care.

Evaluating staff competencies also benefits your business throughout the employee life cycle:

Recruitment — to ensure you’re choosing qualified candidates during the interview process

Onboarding — to gauge competency levels of new hires and reduce unnecessary training that keeps them from providing care sooner

Retention — to keep employees satisfied and reduce turnover by investing time and resources in evaluating and improving their skills, thereby showing that you are invested in their professional growth.

Career development — to evaluate knowledge and skill gaps needed to prepare staff members for new specialties and the next steps in their careers.

Risk and wasted time

Post-acute care agencies still using paper-based evaluations for staff competencies are increasing risk. Having an employee with most — but not all — skills up to date won’t save you from an auditor’s citations and penalties. With paper-based systems, it’s easier to miss those gaps in knowledge and skills.

Plus, with paper, you spend more time filing and organizing your documentation. And you risk misplacing documents when you need them most — at survey time.

Digital alternative

By transitioning from paper-based or disjointed electronic management of competencies to a comprehensive digital solution, your organization can quickly measure the skills and abilities of your staff. As you pinpoint weak spots, you can assign learning to bridge the gaps and ensure consistent, high-quality care. And you can keep your documentation available to all leaders at a moment’s notice.

Digital tools can ensure you automate compliance training reminders and conduct skills checks on time for all employees. Mobile-friendly options make the attestations and documentation go more smoothly as well.

When your assessments, evaluations, and trainings are all in one digital platform, documentation will be easily accessible to keep you on track and ready for government surveys.

A system that keeps you prepared, ensures you stay on top of requirements, validates your staff’s competence, saves time, and reduces risk is the way forward when value-based purchasing actively dictates higher levels of accountability.



Introducing Competency Evaluations

Relias has launched a new digital tool to help you evaluate staff competencies quickly. Our new, mobile-optimized Competency Evaluations solution allows you to observe, document, and track staff competencies in real time. Evaluate quickly, track progress, and run reports on customized or preloaded, accredited evaluations for your skilled nursing, at-home care, and end-of-life staff.

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