2021 HME Business Handbook: Strategy

Managing Your Employees' Continuing Education

Continuing education and training opportunities help DMEPOS providers demonstrate their commitment to clients and staff as well as governing organizations — but how do you manage it all?

Continuing education is a key factor for success in the Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics/Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) industry, not only because it is a requirement but also because it directly impacts both the quality of care and employee engagement. By providing continuing education and training opportunities, DMEPOS providers demonstrate their commitment to clients and staff as well as governing organizations.

Mandated continuing education and training set the bar for minimum requirements at all levels of DMEPOS operations. These mandates are established by regulatory bodies and payors, such as the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), accreditation organizations, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

The requirements are intended to create a baseline of knowledge and standardized quality of care among providers. Businesses succeed when they realize employee education matters beyond regulatory mandates, and they make it part of their company culture. Investing in continuing education programs sets them apart from their competition and helps them thrive in today’s competitive markets.

LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

Rolling out an educational program to all employees can be a daunting task. Enter Learning Management Systems (LMS) like HealthTrainU and others. An LMS is an online computer platform that can house and manage your educational resources and training documentation. Among the advantages of being online is that the LMS can be accessed by your employees at any time and from multiple locations.

This flexibility benefits employees who can access and complete their educational requirements when and where it is most convenient for them. They may begin their required education at their work computer, but complete the work, or to expand their knowledge with additional courses, on a home computer.

For those companies that have more than one location, the LMS similarly can be managed anywhere there is an internet connection.

SELECTING A LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

You will want the LMS you select for your company to be easy and intuitive to operate. Any functional efficiencies will be negated by a system that is difficult to use or one your employees find hard to navigate. Simple things make a difference. Look for controls and buttons that are plainly labeled. Look for management controls that are easy to set up and manage or those that are fully automated.

One of the hardest, most timeconsuming things a DME provider has to do is to keep their employees up-to-date with new and changing rules and regulations. In the past, a provider would have to have someone from their staff undertake research to find relevant educational content applicable for each level and employee role. Most learning management systems create their own content, so research duties are minimized. Tasks such as preparation and monitoring of sign-in sheets, preparation of individual employee folders, and management of physical file space to store the information are also laborintensive and time-consuming.

An LMS can save your compliance or human resource department significant time, freeing them to focus on other responsibilities. Other functions typically available through an LMS include adding students and content, providing “due date” reminders, assessments, and certificates, and pulling reports from the back-end of the system. Different systems offer varying functions so that you can find the best one to suit your company’s unique needs, like checking employees against the LEIE exclusionary list or allowing the DME provider to post content specific to their company along with an assessment.

How you institute, present, and nurture learning in your company distinguishes you from your competition. Having solid continuing education and training helps your organization stand out and contributes to your success.

POINTS TO REMEMBER

  • Learning Management Systems can reduce the burden on your human resources, education and compliance departments.
  • By using the power of a comprehensive digital solution, you can manage and monitor the activities of your learners online, eliminating waste in the form of time and paper documentation.
  • With mandatory continuing education built into the DME industry, an LMS can represent a smart financial move for providers as it returns time that can be leveraged for working on other areas of your business.

LEARN MORE

Today’s learning management systems are more mobile, interactive, and accessible than the books and in-services they replaced. Learn more by contacting HealthTrainU at healthtrainu@achc.com or by visiting www.healthtrainu.com.

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2021 issue of HME Business.

About the Author

Mike McKillip is the Product Manager for HealthTrainU. Mike has over 23 years of experience in the DME industry, with more than 12 years focusing on employee education. He can be reached via email at mmckillip@achc.org.

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