Findings for Healthcare Sectors

Introduction

The information in this section elaborates on previous findings outlined in this report and expands on findings in specific parts of the healthcare industry: health and human services; acute and pre-acute care; post-acute care; and payers and insurers. Results show that healthcare organizations overall recognize the value of training.

In response to COVID-19, 87% maintained or increased their investment in training, with many turning to online training and use of a learning management system (LMS).

During the pandemic, most respondents said their organization was prepared in terms of delivering online training (84%), management and leadership (76%), readiness to deliver relevant training material and content (73%), staff readiness (71%), and ability to deliver virtual training (69%).

Finding: Less than half of healthcare respondents indicated that training directly affects the organization’s financial results, and that area ranked lowest when they identified areas where training showed positive results.

Although most respondents (76%) said training has a positive impact on business goals, they are not clearly recognizing financial results from the investment. Training was seen to have the most impact on compliance, core staff clinical competencies, and risk management.

Takeaway: Executives should ensure that learning and development professionals are aware of high-level goals, then they can use their systems to measure the effectiveness of training and link that to outcome measures to show a return on investment.

COVID-19 Insights: Organizations recognize the value of staff development and training, with more respondents increasing (33%) or maintaining (54%) their investment than decreasing it (13%). Prior to COVID-19, online training (61%) was already more prevalent than face-to-face. With almost half of respondents (47%) noting a major change in the use of online training since the pandemic, online tracking becomes more feasible as well. More organizations are now using an LMS (24%) to track their training.

Sector 1: Health and Human Services

Health and human services was the primary service sector self-identified by 2,806 respondents; 32% were in executive or senior management positions, and 12% were training or staff development directors.

Importance of Staff Development and Training

Health and human services respondents believe training and development is important—70% say it’s very or extremely important. More than two-thirds of respondents (68%) say that their training and staff development programs show positive results for service or program outcomes. They indicate that training is especially important for meeting compliance needs.

Areas of Business Showing Impact From Staff Development

Q: How much impact does your staff development and training program have on current results in each of the following areas? (Note: Percentage who chose most positive rating)

Graph: Areas of business showing impact from staff development

COVID-19 Insights: Training topics given priority amid the pandemic were employee wellness and self-care (68% of respondents), pandemic planning and response (65%), and infection control (61%).

Training Topics Prioritized Due to COVID-19 for Health and Human Services

Q: Which of the following areas have become prioritized training topics for your organization as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic? Select all that apply. (Note: Percentage of mentions as a priority topic)

Graph: Training topics prioritized due to COVID-19

Technology

Almost three-quarters (72%) of health and human services organizations conduct more than half of their training online. The most popular method of tracking whether staff completed the training was through an LMS (44%), up 33% from usage in 2015 and showing no increase in the last two years. In fact, many of the survey respondents report that they continue to also use paper or word processing files (34%) and spreadsheets (34%) to track training completion. This industry sector is among the lowest use of LMS software of all those surveyed.

Use of Learning Management Software

Graph: Use of learning management software
 
COVID-19 Insights: Moderate or major changes in the use of online learning were noted by 80% of health and human services respondents. Because this sector’s use of an LMS was previously low in comparison with other healthcare sectors, the post-COVID-19 trend toward online learning could potentially support efforts to increase the use of an LMS for tracking training in health and human services in the future.

Sector 2: Acute and Pre-Acute Care

Acute or pre-acute care was the primary service sector self-identified by 495 respondents; 22% were in executive or senior management positions, and 24% were staff development or training directors.

Importance of Staff Development and Training

As our research in 2017 revealed, pre-acute and acute care respondents believe training and development most positively impacts compliance with external requirements and core staff clinical competencies. In fact, 76% report that staff training and development have a positive result on core staff clinical competencies, compared with only 70% of organizations in the health and human services sector.

Areas of Business Showing Impact From Staff Development

Q: How much impact does your staff development and training program have on current results in each of the following areas? (Note: Percentage choosing most positive rating)

Graph: Areas of business showing impact from staff development

COVID-19 Insights: Training topics given priority amid the pandemic were not surprising: infection control (82% of respondents), pandemic planning and response (72%), and employee wellness and self-care (64%).

Training Topics Prioritized Due to COVID-19 for Acute & Pre-Acute Care

Q: Which of the following areas have become prioritized training topics for your organization as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic? Select all that apply. (Note: Percentage of mentions as a priority topic)

Graph: Training topics prioritized due to COVID-19

Technology

When it comes to the technology to deliver training, adoption rates haven’t moved much since 2017. Currently, 92% of acute and pre-acute respondents conduct at least half of their training online, similar to where the sector was in 2017. Most of these organizations (68%) track training completion using an LMS—the highest adoption of this technology of any of the industries we surveyed. These results suggest that acute and pre-acute organizations may be more attentive to tracking and recording staff development than some of their peers in other healthcare sectors. These respondents also report the highest use of spreadsheets to track completion (40%).

Methods Used to Track Training

Q: How do you track the training completed by staff?

Graph: Methods used to track training
 
COVID-19 Insights: Moderate or major changes in the use of online learning were noted by 78% of respondents in pre-acute and acute care. If the increased online learning is used in tandem with an LMS, then that could bring greater tracking ability as well.

Sector 3: Post-Acute Care

Post-acute care was the primary service sector self-identified by 1,558 respondents; 28% were in executive or senior management positions, and 16% were healthcare training staff directors.

Amid the spread of COVID-19, post-acute care respondents said their organizations were giving even more priority to infection control training. That figure is not surprising, given the high risk of complications from COVID-19 for seniors in long-term care facilities.

Importance of Staff Development and Training

As with other sectors in healthcare, post-acute care respondents believe training and development programs most positively impact compliance with external requirements, followed closely by core staff clinical competencies. These priorities show a slight increase from 2017, making it clear that these are top of mind for post-acute care executives and training stakeholders when making critical investment decisions.

Areas of Business Showing Impact From Staff Development

Q: How much impact does your staff development and training program have on current results in each of the following areas? (Note: Percentage choosing top two positive ratings)

Graph: Areas of business showing impact from staff development

COVID-19 Insights: Respondents working in post-acute care (74%) are significantly more likely to report increased importance given to staff development and training. Training topics given priority amid the pandemic were not surprising: infection control (92% of respondents), pandemic planning and response (78%), and employee wellness and self-care (64%).

Training Topics Prioritized Due to COVID-19 in Post-Acute Care

Q: Which of the following areas have become prioritized training topics for your organization as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic? Select all that apply.

Graph: Topics prioritized due to COVID-19

Technology

Most respondents (86%) report using online training at least half the time, and 41% use mobile devices for training at least half the time. Just under half (46%) track completion of training using an LMS, which is among the lowest adoption rate in the healthcare industry. In fact, the post-acute care sector reported the highest use of paper or word processing files for tracking among all in the industry, at 42%. These results show room for improvement in this sector’s tracking of training progress.

Methods Used to Track Training

Q: How do you track the training completed by staff?

Graph: Methods used to track training
 
COVID-19 Insights: Moderate or major changes in the use of online learning were noted by 66% of respondents in post-acute care. Because 42% indicated in the initial survey that they still use paper or word processing files to track training and only 46% use an LMS, this is an area ripe for growth in LMS use.

Sector 4: Payers and Insurers

The payers and insurers segment was the primary service area self-identified by 68 respondents; 31% were in executive or senior management positions, and 7% were training or staff development directors.

Importance of Staff Development and Training

The most important benefit of training and development for those in the payers and insurers industry is, as with so many in healthcare, to ensure compliance with external requirements (82%). Just over half of respondents in this sector (56%) ranked it as the number one consideration. As with others in the industry, the organization’s financial results ranked near the bottom of the list of business goals where training has shown the most positive impact, along with staff recruitment and retention, and brand reputation.

Areas of Business Showing Impact From Staff Development

Q: How much impact does your staff development and training program have on current results in each of the following areas? (Note: Percentage choosing top two positive ratings)

Graph: Areas of business showing impact from staff development
 
COVID-19 Insights: Training topics given priority amid the pandemic were employee wellness and self-care (69% of respondents), pandemic planning and response (63%), and telehealth (51%). Attention to infection control as a priority training topic was dramatically lower in payers and insurers than in other healthcare sectors.

Training Topics Prioritized Due to COVID-19 for Payers and Insurers

Q: Which of the following areas have become prioritized training topics for your organization as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic? Select all that apply.

Graph: Training topics prioritized due to COVID-19

Technology

Most payer and insurer respondents (72%) indicate that their organization conducts more than half of training online, and 19% of the organizations conduct all training online, which is the highest percentage of any of the sectors.

Half indicate that their organization uses LMS software to track training completion, and about one-quarter use human resources information systems—the only sector using these systems so prevalently. This sector has robust adoption of automated systems and, in fact, the lowest number of organizations still using paper or word processing files and spreadsheets to track completion of training.

Methods Used to Track Training

Q: How do you track the training completed by staff?

Graph: Methods used to track training
 
COVID-19 Insights: Moderate or major changes in the use of online learning were noted by 60% of respondents in the payers and insurers sector.


 
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