PAM Health Supports Business Growth, Employee Engagement, and Better Patient Outcomes With Relias

In less than three years, PAM Health has grown from 41 long-term acute care hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, and outpatient rehabilitation clinics to more than 63 locations throughout the United States. Known for providing excellent care in the specialty hospital space, PAM Health also provides services in behavioral medicine and home health.

PAM Health’s rapid expansion — with no signs of slowing down — has brought thousands of additional patients and employees into the system. With the rapid growth, the company needed automated, user-friendly human resources and training processes — and needed them fast.

Automation was vital to make post-acquisition employee onboarding easier and, perhaps more importantly, to influence positive patient outcomes through high-quality staff training and coaching, said Kevin Kahl, Vice President of Organizational Innovation.

“My goal is to help employees use these tools so that they can realize how their input into their role affects patient outcomes. That’s number one,” — Kevin Kahl, Vice President of Organizational Innovation

While PAM Health had already implemented some aspects of the Relias Platform, leaders recognized the need for full utilization after acquiring 16 additional specialty and rehabilitation hospitals. “Having a learning platform that had automation capabilities that could interface with our human resources information system (HRIS) was critical.”

Supporting Seamless Acquisitions

When PAM Health acquires a hospital or another facility, leaders typically increase the staffing in that location to ensure a high level of patient care. The company’s strategy is to equip acquired units with human capital and other tools to be efficient and effective in providing care. But when it comes to onboarding, orientation, and training large numbers of employees, PAM Health turns to Relias.

Kahl creates training plans specifically for newly acquired operations. After the initial setup, that training plan runs itself for at least the next year. “When we purchase, acquire, or merge with a new hospital, we use Relias to ramp up staffing so we can help more people and provide the best patient care in the community,” said Kahl.

Even though PAM Health has tripled its workforce during Kahl’s time, the amount of work that it takes for Kahl to build training plans for the entire company has increased only minimally. Kahl acknowledges that Relias makes it easy, saying, “It’s a click of a button to add a new hierarchy or a new hospital.”

Auto-Enroll by Specific Identifiers

With the help of his Relias client success manager (CSM), Kahl was also able to use the auto-enrollments feature to add employees to the training platform quickly.

“The ability to auto-enroll by position, location, and specific identifiers that we can create internally is a great benefit.” — Kevin Kahl, Vice President of Organizational Innovation

Interface with Human Resource Systems

Also crucial to the success of PAM Health’s acquisitions is Relias’ ability to interface effectively with the company’s human resources system. The interface eliminates the need to run manual feeds, which became an unwieldy process as the number of PAM Health employees grew. “It cut down the time we spent on certain workflows, which we were doing when we had a smaller number of employees. That was rough,” Kahl added.

Expedite Compliance with Policies and Procedures

Along with using Relias for acquisition-related onboarding and orientation, PAM Health also uses the Relias Policies and Procedures feature to assemble binders when employees need to attest to reviewing policies that have changed quickly.

Whether those changes are related to COVID, regulatory initiatives from the government, or an internal process, Relias makes it easy for PAM Health to update staff. Kahl said, “Communication and policy adjustments have been a critical part of not only acquisitions, but the company as a whole.”

No-Fluff Learning That Sticks and High Completion Rates

As superusers of Relias training plans, PAM Health learning and development leaders have seen concrete improvements in staff engagement and the pursuit of continuing education. Things didn’t start out this way, however.

Kahl said, “When I started with PAM Health, our completion rate was pretty low.” After optimizing the company’s use of Relias’ training programs, Kahl saw a phenomenal average of 23 training completions per user for 8,741 users.

Kahl’s approach was to divide the company’s annual training plans into quarters and distribute them over the Relias Platform. For example, Q1 might be dedicated to regulatory compliance, Q2 might focus on internal compliance, Q3, job- specific training, and Q4 on new training needs that arise during the year.

“Building quarterly training allowed our employees to adapt to using the Relias Platform on a regular basis. Relias became part of our everyday lives. We built it into the culture.” — Kevin Kahl, Vice President of Organizational Innovation

The personalized quarterly training approach and the built-in communication features have made it easier for Kahl to keep training top of mind for employees. The leaderboards built into employee dashboards are great motivators, he said.

High completion rates aren’t the only benefit Kahl saw from using Relias training plans. The training content itself has helped employees retain and use the information they learn in their jobs. Kahl said, “The content forces the learner to read and click through everything. There’s no fluff around the information. It gives employees exactly what they need to know to be successful in their jobs.” Whereas some training platforms are merely a checkbox tool, “Relias is truly an educational tool. It facilitates e-learning at a high level,” Kahl said.

Ease of Access to Employee Development Options

Kahl characterized the Relias Platform’s user interface as easy to use. Because the interface “is so intuitive,” he said, supervisors and learners can dive right in and begin using it.

Relias Connect has removed a significant customer service burden from Kahl and PAM Health’s HR teams. Educators show employees how to log in and then refer them to Relias Connect with questions. “It is very rare for someone to reach out to me for support,” said Kahl. “When we provide an overview of Relias for employees, it’s really nice to say, ‘I’ve never found an error with this system. Nothing really goes wrong on our end.’”

While the quarterly trainings, content, and user interface have helped PAM Health achieve fantastic results, employees really like the ability to earn CEUs. Kahl emphasized, “That’s the best feature of Relias, hands down, that I get feedback from across our company.”

Employees can search the system for their desired certificate — state-specific occupational therapy, physical therapy, SHRM, etc. — and find modules that count toward CEUs for their certification. They can complete the course, immediately work toward the certification, and provide proof that they’ve completed it. “It’s a great feature,” Kahl said. “People love it.”

Time Savings That Support Long-Term Business Growth

Kahl’s position as a Relias administrator was originally meant to be full time. Thanks to the system’s user-friendliness and reliable support from the CSM and Relias Connect, “It never really evolved to be full-time until we grew recently, and that’s only because we expanded our line of business,” said Kahl. That time savings has enabled PAM Health to invest in other areas that support business growth, such as organizational and leadership development.

A fast-growing healthcare organization like PAM Health needs an automated HR and training system that can keep pace with current challenges, make future expansion as seamless as possible, and support positive patient outcomes.

That’s exactly what PAM Health has found with Relias. “I’ve worked with learning platforms where you need a whole team with background in IT to run it,” said Kahl.

Relias is extremely efficient. The automated features, system design, training content, reporting — it’s all very effective.” — Kevin Kahl, Vice President of Organizational Innovation


Connect with Us

to find out more about our training and resources