The Acquisition of Sy.Med Supports HealthStream’s Healthcare Talent Management Framework
By acquiring Sy.Med, a developer of provider enrollment and credentialing software, HealthStream puts in place a key component of our healthcare talent management framework. Sy.Med’s credentialing software will enable healthcare organizations to answer a preliminary necessary question about their staff—“Are my staff qualified?”
Read below HealthStream CEO Bobby Frist speaks to the strengths of healthcare workforce development, HealthStream’s healthcare talent management framework, and the growing field of healthcare talent management in the September 2012 article, “Five Questions You Should Ask About Your Workforce,” in Nashville Medical News.
The article, written by Nashville Medical News Editor Cindy Sanders, is reprinted below with the permission of the Nashville Medical News.
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When considering an optimal workforce, HealthStream President and CEO Bobby Frist said every employer should ask five simple questions — Are they qualified, competent, engaged, developing to their full potential, and performing to expectations?
If the answer to any of those questions is ‘no,’ then an employer isn’t maximizing quality, safety and cost efficiency. And in the healthcare industry, that generally means a patient isn’t realizing an optimal outcome.
HealthStream, which was co-founded by Frist and Jeff McLaren in 1990 and went public in 2000, was built on the premise that investing in the people who deliver care would improve the overall quality of healthcare in this country … and should ultimately reduce system costs. It’s the old idea of ‘reaping what you sow.’ Today, half the hospitals in the United States use HealthStream solutions to improve business performance, educate and train employees in core competencies, measure performance and improve clinical outcomes.
“A high quality team has high quality output with fewer mistakes,” noted Frist. That, he continued, leads to improved efficiency and less waste. “It’s been interesting to watch the journey hospitals have been on to improve quality, improve safety and lower cost,” he continued.
While hospitals have always had regulatory requirements pertaining to compliance issues, patient safety and continuing education, the process to satisfy those mandates has, itself, become more efficient. Frist noted it hasn’t been that long since training and education moved from a structured classroom to an online format … from a synchronous process to an asynchronous one.
Historically, employees attended a seminar, lecture or video at a set time followed by a test that was manually given and scored. With the 24/7/365 nature of a hospital, shifts had to be backfilled while large numbers of staff were pulled for training. HealthStream developed standardized programming and testing that can be viewed and taken at an individual’s convenience. “A hospital works 24 hours around the clock and so does our programming,” Frist said.
Now, Frist continued, technology is again making the training process more efficient and effective by utilizing simulation to improve core competencies. HealthStream partnered with Laerdal Medical more than five years ago to create programming to accompany Laerdal’s simulators.
“In the new engagement model, you do the didactic and testing components online anytime of day or night from anywhere. And then, you do the skills check on an intelligent mannequin.”
For example, he noted, 1.5 million people per year in hospitals must demonstrate competence in resuscitation. The intelligent mannequin measures the strength and speed of compressions and actually coaches the employee through the process until that person becomes competent at the task. While it is an upfront investment in the equipment, Frist said the return begins to show up 6-9 months after purchase and then balloons from the second year onward when it’s time for recertification.
“We are confident this new method is resulting in more clinically competent staff,” Frist said, adding, “The true benefit to the patient is immeasurable when you get a good outcome.”
With payment models moving away from fee-for-service and toward pay-for-performance, Frist said the market forces have aligned to make it critical to invest in the workforce in order to improve outcomes and quality measures. “We think there’s a growing emphasis on workforce development, workforce competence, and workforce engagement,” he said. “We are seeing, among our hospital clients, more direct lines between the investments they make in their workforce and the clinical outcomes they can achieve.”
Frist said a growing field is “talent management,” which effectively assesses and improves the workforce to align with the vision, mission and direction of an institution. It’s critical, he said, to identify competency deficiencies in order to strengthen areas of weakness for an individual employee, department or the entire workforce. To that end, HealthStream has expanded their platform to include assessment tools, which help managers set up a development plan for employees. “It’s a road map to improvement,” he noted.
Just as it’s key to assess how employees measure up to expectations, it is also important to know if the institution is meeting the needs of the workforce. Are employees engaged? Are they satisfied? A research component in the overall workforce plan helps Human Resources and the C-suite management team determine the level of engagement among the staff and make adjustments if the corporate culture doesn’t foster a commitment to quality and efficiency.
Whether turning to HealthStream or other resources in the marketplace, companies now have a range of tools to help them answer the five key questions about their workforce and turn negatives into positives for improved outcomes and increased efficiency.
Link to the Article.