Blue Mountain Hospital Advances to Digitized Learning

Blue Mountain Hospital is a nonprofit charitable organization serving San Juan County, Utah and the surrounding area. Blue Mountain depends on the Relias Platform for online education and compliance tracking.

Before implementing Relias, Blue Mountain did not have a structured method for administering training and tracking compliance across the organization, according to Cari Spillman, Compliance Program Director, who oversees infection control, compliance, patient safety, and continuing education for Blue Mountain.

Information was kept on paper, in files, with minimal tracking on desktop computers, leading to potential access and scheduling issues and missed training targets. With Relias, the hospital now has a course compliance rate over 80%.

Doctor explains the upcoming procedure

Gaining Structure and Speed with Automated Training Administration

By bringing in the Relias Platform, Blue Mountain gained the ability to organize its staff training in a comprehensive way. Adoption by Blue Mountain staff happened quickly, and Relias now automatically tracks all education for the hospital and provides staff with reminders and easy access to the training it needs.

Spillman can easily assign courses, track completions, and identify gaps. Staff members have consistent, quality content and completion certificates all in one place. Reflecting on the before and after, Spillman said the difference Relias made was “night and day.”

Spillman also noted that she frequently relies on Relias Customer Support’s chat function to get fast help from a real person.

Serving a Diverse, Rural Community

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has designated Blue Mountain as a Critical Access Hospital. The designation aims to reduce the financial vulnerability of the rural hospital and improve access to healthcare by keeping essential services in the community.

Although Blue Mountain Hospital is a small, rural facility, it provides comprehensive medical services, including surgery, obstetrics, orthopedics, dialysis, laboratory services, radiology, and emergency care. Located near Lake Powell, Moab, Mesa Verde, Canyonlands, and a Ute and a Navajo Reservation, the hospital serves a critical need for a diverse population of 15,000 residents and hundreds of thousands of visitors to the area each year.

CEO Jeremy Lyman won the Excellence in Care During COVID-19 award at the Rural Hospital Administrators Summit in 2021.

Educating New Staff Effectively Despite Obstacles

When new employees join Blue Mountain Hospital, Spillman provides an orientation that includes emergency codes, fire safety, annual training requirements, and the Relias Platform. They learn what courses are available and how the system tracks course completions. After orientation, they are assigned department- specific onboarding courses on the Platform.

Spillman noted that some of their new hires who went to school during the pandemic didn’t feel as comfortable in clinical settings because their programs were modified due to COVID-19. They may have had online labs instead of in-person learning experiences, for example. When they came to Blue Mountain, some were eager to get more training on the job, and Relias helped fill those gaps.

Blue Mountain’s efforts have paid off. CEO Jeremy Lyman won the Excellence in Care During COVID-19 award at the Rural Hospital Administrators Summit in 2021.

Providing Pathways for Compliance and Career Advancement

For existing staff members, the Relias Platform serves as a critical resource, helping them keep their licenses up to date, meet hospital compliance requirements, and advance their education.

They can review prior training they’ve taken and seek out additional learning on their own as they need it. This learning can open new career pathways. For example, the hospital offers a Tech to LPN program that gives patient care techs a way to earn higher wages while they work toward their RN licenses.

The hospital has also participated in the Resuscitation Quality Improvement Program, offered through Relias, to increase certifications in high-quality CPR knowledge and staff competency.

To spark interest, the hospital incentivizes training with prize drawings. If staff members are 100% complete with their training and 100% compliant all year long, they are eligible to win. The incentive program has energized the staff and increased the number of staff members meeting the criteria many times over, transforming entire departments from low- to high-compliance teams. “Relias has been a game-changer,” Spillman observed.

Meeting Education Delivery and Optimization Challenges with Relias

Blue Mountain was fortunate to maintain its level of onboarding effectiveness during the COVID-19 pandemic despite hiring challenges. For its other educational needs, some in-person training continued with small class sizes, but many staff members took their training remotely with Relias.

In the coming year, Spillman hopes to further leverage cost savings by encouraging more staff members to turn to Relias to fulfill their CEUs instead of traveling to obtain them.

“Whenever we have a new challenge, there’s always the question, ‘Can we do this with Relias?’ We’re using it more and more. It seems like we’re learning something new every week that we can do with it. There are so many things you can do with Relias. We keep learning and growing with it.” – Cari Spillman, Compliance Program Director

Patients are the ultimate beneficiaries of the enhanced education. When nurses and care teams maintain their skills and competencies — from clinical knowledge to customer service — Blue Mountain has seen patient care improve. “Patient care and safety are our number one priority,” said Spillman. Young Woman Computer Learning


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