Wheeler Health Partners With Relias to Drive Sustainable Growth

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Over the past 10 years, Wheeler Health has seen substantial growth in scope and focus. They have gone from 740 employees to 857 and expanded to 35+ sites across Connecticut, including five federally qualified health centers (FQHCs). At each location, Wheeler serves a large population of patients representing varying ages and needs.

While this sustained growth is obviously beneficial to Wheeler and those it serves, it does come with its own set of challenges. This unique confluence of needs is what brought Wheeler to partner with Relias in the first place, explained Dieudonnee Kokoszka, Talent Development Manager for Wheeler. “We needed to expand and include more to ensure that we’re able to meet the needs of our staff.”

A customer since 2011, Wheeler’s learning management needs are far different now than when they first started with Relias. Over the past ten years, Wheeler has taken advantage of the plug-and-play nature of the Relias platform, adding the content they needed as they grew.

To properly handle this substantial growth in staff and continue a strong focus on employee retention, Wheeler has added features to its Relias account that gives it access to:

  • Consistent training for new hires
  • A wide breadth of learning content to match the many services it provides
  • A centralized location for organizational communication

As Wheeler continues to grow, it plans to use Relias courses offered in partnership with Skillsoft to offer better training for leadership and DEI efforts. Through these courses, Wheeler hopes to train its future leaders and provide better, more culturally competent care to those they serve.

Sustainable Content With Changing Workforces

Staff retention and onboarding in healthcare is vital today during a pandemic that has profoundly challenged healthcare workforces. As it brings new hires on board, Wheeler needs training it knows will last.

What’s more, Wheeler must fill positions in locations across Connecticut. To meet this goal, it needs a learning platform that offers consistent, flexible training that meets the needs of staff with varying specialties across the state.

With over 7,000 courses related to compliance and clinical expertise in the Relias Platform, Wheeler has successfully onboarded and trained new staff, no matter their location or specialty. This has led to consistent care for those they serve, even in the face of turnover.

In addition to training new staff, Wheeler must also provide its staff with recurring trainings to ensure they remain compliant. “We have to think about how we sustain ongoing, year-after-year training,” Kokoszka told us.

With so many locations and staff members, this can be a daunting task. The challenge here is twofold: coordinating these recurring trainings and ensuring staff have taken the requisite courses.

“We have to think about how we sustain ongoing, year-after-year training.”
— Dieudonnee Kokozka, Talent Development Manager for Wheeler

With visibility into course completions via the Relias platform, Wheeler Health’s managers and administrators have been able to easily keep track of their compliance records in one central location.

Additionally, with Relias’ blended learning options, Wheeler is able to coordinate both virtual and in-person trainings. This flexibility has allowed their staff to remain compliant without having to take significant amounts of time off work to take courses or receive compliance training.

A Breadth of Content To Match a Breadth of Services

As noted, Wheeler Health’s staff works across a wide variety of specializations. They offer treatment to individuals of all ages with concerns related to mental and behavioral health, substance use, and primary care-related issues. While their breadth of services has allowed them to give the individuals they serve better care, it has created some obstacles for training.

One big challenge Wheeler faced was how to offer learning and training options to all their staff without spending a fortune on several different learning management products.

By using the Relias platform, Wheeler has been able to offer courses and training to all its staff, all in one place. Whether they work in pediatrics, LGBTQ-responsive services, counseling, or any of the myriad services offered by Wheeler, employees have access to courses in the Relias library to help them hone and develop their skills.

“Relias has really been able to help us support all the different specialties in their growth and their development,” Kokoszka told us.

“Whether they work in pediatrics, LGBTQ-responsive services, counseling, or any of the myriad services offered by Wheeler, employees have access to courses in the Relias library to help them hone and develop their skills.”

How Wheeler Connects Learning Needs and Business Goals

While the ultimate goal of any healthcare facility is to better serve its community, certain business needs must be met. For Wheeler, these needs took the form of organizational communication around compliance training.

If Wheeler wasn’t using the Relias platform, Kokoszka said, staff would most likely be operating the same way they did previously: keeping track of compliance trainings in spreadsheets; manually sending out emails to communicate to staff about training deadlines and upcoming courses; or even asking staff to use pen and paper to fill out training completion documentation.

This type of communication comes with many bottlenecks and can make it hard to ensure everyone on staff has completed the necessary training on time. And when it came time for a compliance audit, this scattered approach created a nightmare scenario for Wheeler’s management.

With Relias, Wheeler has streamlined this process. Kokoszka and her colleagues use the Relias platform as a centralized location from which to assign compliance training, track course completions, and analyze data when necessary for compliance audits.

If it weren’t for Relias, Kokozska said, “I really don’t know what I would do.”

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