Focusing on Training Healthcare Providers Through eLearning

If you read our new article about Ebola, and more specifically how the nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian hospital are telling officials they had no training on the disease when they were left to care for the Liberian man who became ill with the disease, you’ve seen how more training was completely necessary and eLearning could have been the proper route to deliver that training.

Unfortunately, the care providers at this particular hospital weren’t prepared with the training they needed, as evidenced by the infection of nurses caring for the sick patient.

This raises an important question in the healthcare and even the pharmaceutical profession about whether or not there’s a consistent lack of training and what can be done to address the issues.

If Ebola is contained and becomes a distant memory for care providers in this country, will a similar situation occur if there’s a new disease that finds its way to the U.S.?

The healthcare and pharmaceutical industries are at a critical point right now, and healthcare workers are really beginning to demand they receive not only the proper training, but also development, and hospitals and health organizations are seemingly reluctant or unsure of how to do that.

As many global organizations have shown, the answer may lie in multimedia learning opportunities.

The Numbers

For hospital administrators, pharmaceutical companies or healthcare organizations who are faced with issues like a lack of staff training, consider the following:

  • Research conducted by IBM showed training and developing employees through a learning management system (LMS) has the potential to increase productivity by as much as 50%.
  • Since Obamacare was implemented, there have been about one million healthcare-based jobs added in the U.S.
  • In 2015 it’s anticipated the use of eLearning in the healthcare industry will expand by about 45%.

There’s a lot of growth in the healthcare industry, and with this type of expansion it becomes more important than ever to explore training options that are effective, efficient and budget-friendly.

Infection Control Success Story

While there are many success stories available pertaining to the utilization of multimedia learning in the healthcare industry, one such case involves an eLearning project undertaken by the Canadian government in 2013.

Focusing on Training Healthcare Providers Through eLearningThe details of the case can be seen on NursingTimes.net, but essentially during the SARS global epidemic, there were numerous gaps found in the infection control processes throughout the world. These gaps were as simple as things like not enough hand washing.

The Canadian government stepped in and created an eLearning project focusing on the transmission of infectious diseases and prevention, and in total the course was only about 60 minutes long. After taking it, there were significant improvements in knowledge and behaviors on the part of healthcare providers and staff members.

This same program has been updated this year and it now includes six self-paced modules available in both French and English.

The program is designed specifically for what are referred to as front-line workers and according to the program creators, the current goal is to provide these workers with constantly updated best practices, regardless of their widely dispersed global locations.

According to developers of the program, which is designed to be taken annually, it has helped keep healthcare providers and other employees in the industry, as well as patients, safer.

Valuable Elements in Healthcare eLearning

While the actual design of multimedia learning is going to vary across organizations and goals, there are some components that are widely accepted as beneficial to include in training for healthcare providers.

One of the most valued components is the simulation, because as we’ve discussed in the past, it gives the learner the opportunity to work and learn in a fail-safe environment. The care provider can look at different possible solutions and then determine the best course of action without worrying about actual risk to a patient.

Another great component to include in healthcare multimedia training are webinars. Webinars allow for that personalized classroom feeling, but it’s more cost effective and easier to reach a broader audience regardless of location.

Finally, it can be extremely beneficial to provide healthcare learners with on-demand information. The industry, particularly for nurses and front-line care providers, can be exceedingly stressful, rigorous and fast-paced, so incorporating a mobile on-demand element can help care providers avoid mistakes while they’re in action.

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