Part 1: The HLC Administrator’s Role in Improving Outcomes
As a certified provider of Virtual Administration for the HealthStream Learning Center™ (HLC), we often see opportunities to help HLC administrators learn and leverage the full power of the platform. While they understand enough to get the job done, many HR and learning technology administrators are unaware of awesome HLC functionalities that can make their jobs easier while improving business and clinical outcomes.
Through a recent engagement with Quorum Health, we found the company to already be implementing best practices at the corporate level thanks to HRIS and E-Learning Manager Brad Speck. An expert HLC administrator, Brad has a full mastery of the platform. Like us, however, he sees an opportunity—and in his role, a need—to help other administrators unlock its full potential. Brad shares our belief that these individuals are uniquely poised to help healthcare organizations save time and improve learning efficiency.
We designed this six-part interview series with Brad to help administrators at Quorum and beyond learn and quickly leverage powerful HLC capabilities. The series will offer actionable insights on what it means to be a HealthStream administrator; user roles and maintenance; managing hierarchies; building courses; reporting; and maximizing the full potential of the HLC. The content will empower administrators to streamline processes, better manage workloads, maximize ROI, and demonstrate their own value as vital to their organizations’ long-term growth.
Part 1 – The HLC Administrator’s Role in Improving Outcomes
In Part 1 of the series, ForYouHR’s Angela Novak interviews HRIS and E-Learning Manager Brad Speck about what HLC administrators are responsible for, some key functionalities that can make their lives easier and how important the role is to business and clinical outcomes.
The Big Picture
Q: Brad, you’ve been an enterprise-level HLC administrator at Quorum Health and CHS, worked in the medical field as a paramedic, and have a background in data technology and information systems. It’s no surprise you share our understanding of the power of technology to impact healthcare. What are your primary reasons for doing this series with us?
A: What HLC administrators do in learning and development is critical to helping healthcare leaders accomplish organizational goals. Our mission at Quorum is to build sustainable healthcare organizations by, first and foremost, leading in safety, quality performance and patient experience. The HealthStream Learning Center (HLC, or QLC as we call it) is integral to the accomplishment of those goals…and our administrators are the key to effectively leveraging the platform so we meet or exceed them.
Q: That’s no small job. So your goals for the series are to empower administrators with skills to drive excellent organizational performance, and to call attention to just how important the role is to the organization?
A: Definitely. I’ve talked with ForYouHR at length about how important the role is, and together we want to make clear not only how administrators can more efficiently do their jobs, but also the fact that there is so much power behind what they do to impact the big picture.
Q: Right. We want to identify the work HLC administrators do as something business leaders recognize will help them achieve objectives. Do you think it’s important to make that connection?
A: Absolutely. I think the work of administrators is critical to healthcare organizations, but that often their own perceptions are different. HR and Learning Development professionals want their work to matter—and to be acknowledged to matter—in executing company priorities. I want to highlight the importance of their work while also helping further build skills and self-sufficiency.
Q: Ok Brad, let’s dive into specifics. First, what does it mean to be an HLC administrator? What are these folks responsible for?
A: Administrators are responsible for developing, managing, assigning and tracking completion of learning for their organizations. This includes managing students (employees) and student groups; creating courses, equivalents and curricula; creating student assignments; managing CE credits; entering learning events; online transcript management; compliance tracking and reporting; and so much more.
Q: Yes, so much more! And all of that translates directly to some of the larger organizational goals we mentioned, right?
A: Right. These specific tasks help ensure all employees are properly trained and competent from a clinical perspective, compliant with safety and many other regulations, up to date on required certifications, etc. In our industry, education and regulation is ever-changing and it’s critical that we keep up. Our administrators help us do that with the HLC. It’s a big job.
Q: It is. And it all affects patient care, which is why the stakes are high. So while online training may not be everyone’s favorite pastime, do we agree that remembering what it’s all for is important?
A: Yes. Making that connection between the day-to-day work of keeping the workforce properly trained and achieving excellent patient outcomes is key. Not to mention, the business risks associated with incompetence and non-compliance are extremely high.
Q: Ok, so what are some of the important functionalities administrators might not be using that can make them more effective, efficient and valuable?
A: Powerful reporting capabilities and course creation are two areas I think deserve attention, both of which we’ll explore later in the series.
Q: Yes, but let’s give readers a little teaser about why they are so important…make them want more, you know? Let’s start with reporting.
A: One example of a reporting time-saver is setting up auto-reporting for assignment completions, code of conduct or general compliance reports. Depending on the organization, administrators may need to run daily, weekly or monthly reports on these items and they can instruct the HLC to automatically run such reports and email the results. This saves time by eliminating the need to set up the report each time, streamlining the process and ensuring that it gets done on time, every time. It also saves bandwidth across an organization, which helps keep the platform running smoothly.
Q: Ok great, thanks Brad. We’ll be telling readers how to do that in a later interview. What about course creation? Why is this so important?
A: Course creation is a fantastic feature. Obviously learning is moving online these days and while we have access to a comprehensive library of online courses through the HLC, often a need arises for content creation. The platform has course and curriculum development tools that allow administrators to create education as necessary. Whatever jobs come their way, from small to large, recurring or with high-priority urgency…administrators have the capability to capture learning in fully customizable content.
Q: Can you share some examples?
A: Sure. One example is the ability to upload PowerPoint presentations to create a course. We did this for the Zika virus, when we obtained critical training from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and needed to share it quickly across our entire organization. There was not yet a course available on the HLC, but we were able to create one, upload the CDC PowerPoint content, and quickly assign it to all relevant students. We did something similar with content for an active shooter course.
Q: Certainly course creation is great for dealing with those urgent situations, and as you mention it’s also great for recurring needs and processes, right?
A: Absolutely. Anything that has a process, any repetitive information existing and new students will continue to need to know, on-boarding and orientation content—these are all great reasons to use course creation. Whether for clinical, HR or other content, we want our administrators to learn how to create courses, find as many ways as possible to streamline processes and move information online, and begin enjoying the time-saving and other benefits!
Q: Alright, we’ll get into the “how to” on reporting, course creation and more later in the series. Let’s wrap this first interview with reminders about the larger purposes the administrator serves. Just how important is this role to business and clinical outcomes?
A: I really don’t think you can overstate the importance of this role. At Quorum, our vision is improving health in the communities we serve. We can’t get there without a workforce that is competent and compliant, and we rely on our HLC administrators to make sure we do.
The challenges we face as healthcare providers are many, and our administrators are responsible for helping leadership improve care, ensure compliance, reduce risk, and understand opportunities for improvement. The health of our communities is in our hands. We rely on our administrators to keep us where we need to be in the learning and development realm.
Q: Such an important job. Ok, let’s finish with a reminder of why we’re putting this together for administrators. What do you want them to take away from this piece and the series?
A: This may not be the case with all organizations, but at Quorum we want our employees to learn as much as they can and be self-sufficient. While I am here to support them, I want my administrators to access this content as necessary, learn from it and be positioned for success. I want them to develop, become experts, and demonstrate their value. By going above and beyond the basics, they will ensure that we maximize our HealthStream investment while creating the best possible workforce. I hope to pass our collective knowledge on to them for the betterment of their careers, our organizations’ outcomes and the health of our communities.
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Brad Speck, MSIS is HRIS and E-Learning Manager for Quorum Health. With five years of experience in learning technology and a background in the medical field as well as information systems, he is in continual pursuit of opportunities to address challenges and improve healthcare outcomes. In his time off, he can usually be found outdoors or woodworking…with a talent for recreating vintage bird houses.
Angela Novak is Communications Consultant at ForYouHR and President of Corner Office Communications. She has 16 years of related experience in the healthcare and technology industries, including at HealthStream and in the managed services vertical. When not helping businesses tell their stories, she can be found cooking elaborate feasts for family and friends or driving back roads through the Tennessee countryside.