Huntsville Hospital Efficiently and Effectively Delivers Education to Thousands of Employees Using NetLearning Solutions

Healthcare organizations that have already achieved a high employee retention rate often commit to ongoing employee education as a means to further enrich the work lives of their employees. That is the case for Huntsville Hospital, an 881- bed not-for-profit serving patients throughout north Alabama and south central Tennessee. In 2003, it decided to centralize all learning resources within a Corporate University. Hand in hand with this, the hospital needed a way to efficiently deliver education to about 7,000 employees.

Connecting Learning with Hospital Outcomes

Huntsville Hospital’s Corporate University offers innovative training and continuing education opportunities for physicians, nurses and other clinical professionals, as well as community education programs on today’s most relevant health-related topics. According to Elise Taylor, Director of Staff Development and the Corporate University, consolidating all learning resources enables more synergies between the programs in place across the hospital. The university includes three technical schools, a large American heart training center, and nursing, leadership, and employee development courses.

With the full support of the hospital’s leadership team, Taylor set out to ensure the training was synergistic with the hospital’s corporate goals. “Many learning organizations aren’t directly connected with the outcomes of the hospital, but that was our objective from the start. That’s why it was important to find a way to effectively deliver training and adjust it to workforce needs over time,” explains Taylor.

NetLearning Suits All Stakeholder Needs

After evaluating numerous learning management systems (LMS), Taylor chose HealthcareSource NetLearning® LMS for its flexibility, functionality, the simplicity of its interface and reporting, and the ability to track training completions and compliance. “With NetLearning, our employees could easily sign up for courses and take them online. This is especially important now that our employees are dispersed across multiple campuses. We can also prompt employees electronically if they’re not up to date on certification,” says Taylor.

Taylor also appreciated the fact that the hospital’s subject matter experts could author their own courses, and that the solution is customizable in other ways. “NetLearning provides a full catalog of courses to accommodate new learning challenges, along with the flexibility and authoring tools needed to develop additional courses. Plus, NetLearning has been a terrific partner in collaborating on additional features we need due to regulatory changes,” continues Taylor. And just as important, NetLearning satisfied Taylor’s desire for an LMS that would meet the unique needs of healthcare organizations. “We didn’t just want a fully-featured LMS; we needed a system that would enable us to meet our educational goals while making it easier for us to comply with the many regulations and requirements that govern hospitals and other healthcare organizations.”

More Efficiency and Flexibility for Delivering and Managing Education

All Huntsville Hospital employees now take continuing education courses through NetLearning. The hospital’s annual requirements are in the system and employees must complete certain courses online each year. According to Taylor, NetLearning provides tremendous value, allowing employees to take testing at their own pace. “Because it extends the reach of our Corporate University, NetLearning offers our employees the flexibility they need to access information and courses when and where they prefer,” says Taylor.

Moreover, by taking advantage of online learning and courses in the eLearning Library, the hospital can avoid the costs of live instructors while more efficiently delivering certifications. Plus, because the hospital can record course credits in NetLearning, far less is required of nurses and other clinical staff when it comes to managing their education. In fact, the hospital can conveniently upload results electronically to its State Board of Nursing.

The Value of Online Learning

Having started her career in corporate America, Taylor is accustomed to proving the return on investment of a new program or product. She was intent to do the same with the training being delivered via NetLearning.

To show the value of the education being delivered via NetLearning, Taylor multiplied the number of training participants by their time in class to arrive at the number of delivered education hours. In 2000, prior to using NetLearning – this number was 33,472 hours of education; in 2011, with NetLearning in place – the hours of education have grown to 186,991. Taylor then multiplied these numbers by conservative market prices for continuing education and continuing medical education and for other training. Using this approach, the value of education delivered in the year 2000 was approximately $540,000. By the year 2011, approximately $3.1 million of education was delivered to employees. “NetLearning captures the information needed to prove and justify how much education you’ve delivered,” concludes Taylor.

Huntsville Hospital

  • Find a way to effectively deliver, track and report on staff education for 7,000 employees
  • Needed to centralize all learning resources
  • Ensure training synergistic with corporate goals
  • Employees take continuing education courses online at their own pace
  • Able to meet educational goals
  • Easily comply with regulations that govern healthcare
  • Avoid the costs of live instructors
  • Proved the ROI of education delivered via NetLearning — increased from $540,000 to $3.1 million in one year


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