Part 2: Administrator Roles and Best Practice for HLC Maintenance
In this 6-part interview series, ForYouHR works with Brad Speck—HRIS and E-Learning Manager at Quorum Health—to help HealthStream Learning Center™ (HLC) administrators leverage powerful capabilities. The series offers insight on what it means to be an HLC 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 value as vital to organizational outcomes. For a full Series Overview, check out Part 1: The HLC Administrator’s Role in Improving Outcomes on the ForYouHR blog.
Part 2 – Administrator Roles and Best Practice for HLC Maintenance
In Part 2 of the series, ForYouHR’s Angela Novak and e-Learning expert Brad Speck discuss HLC administrator roles and best practices for maintenance to save time and improve productivity.
The Big Picture
Q: Thanks for joining us again today, Brad. In Part 1 of the series we discussed how important HLC administrators are to driving positive outcomes at healthcare organizations. Now that we’ve established how critical the role is, what do we want to accomplish next?
A: At Quorum, we strive to be leaders in safety, quality and patient experience. All of this requires the development of a competent, compliant workforce. HLC administrators have the power to help leaders ensure compliance, reduce risk, and ultimately improve care, but they first need a solid understanding of what they can do in their various roles. We want to highlight some of those things and offer best practices for keeping the HLC at top performance.
Q: Yes, the administrator’s work has great potential to impact organizational health, and we want to help make sure that impact is positive. We’ll start by identifying what some of the different administrator roles can do.
A: Yes. I think it’s important to touch on the capabilities individual users have, and also to help them learn what other capabilities are out there in case they’re missing something.
The Administrator Roles
Q: Ok, I’ll first note that there are several HLC Administrator Roles outlined in HealthStream’s “Administrator Role Guide & FAQs,” which can be found on the HLC Site Map under Administrators. Today we’re focusing on a few roles primarily used at Quorum, right?
A: Yes, we’ll compare our primary roles to highlight differences between them, and also to potentially expose people to capabilities outside of their roles. While roles may vary across organizations, the ones we’ll discuss likely have counterparts at most.
Q: Ok, let’s dive in. What are the primary administrator roles at your organization?
A: In my role at Quorum I am Enterprise Administrator, which means I have access to all HLC functionalities and am responsible for administration across our entire organization. We won’t spend more time on this since other Enterprise Administrators aren’t really the audience here. Our primary roles in the field are Full Access Administrator, Reporter and Staff Supervisor.
Q: Let’s start with the Full Access role. These administrators have primary responsibility at the individual facility level (in your case, at the individual hospital). Is that right?
A: Yes, it’s similar to HealthStream’s Associate Administrator role. Our Full Access Administrators are usually Educators or Human Resource Directors (HRDs) and we generally have three or four at each facility. They have responsibility for developing, managing, assigning and tracking completion of learning, with the ability to manage students and student groups; create assignments; manage CE credits; enter learning events; manage transcripts; facilitate compliance tracking and reporting; create courses; and much more. Really the only thing they can’t do is remove job functions.
Q: And for the course creation element there are a couple of optional feature roles that can be assigned to them.
A: Right. There are optional Authoring Administrator and Authored SCORM Administrator roles. Any Full Access Administrator interested in creating content in PowerPoint, Word or other similar format can add the Authoring feature. The Authored SCORM role is for administrators who want to build and publish SCORM files as courseware. For the latter, they would need access to a content publishing tool such as Lectora or another SCORM authoring tool.
Q: Ok, so talk about the Reporter role.
A: Our Reporter role administrators have the ability to view student accounts and run reports, but they do not have the ability to add assignments, create content, etc. This role is often filled by an assistant to an Educator or HRD, or another director who needs to monitor learning and help ensure students are completing assignments.
Q: Next up, your Staff Supervisor role.
A: The Staff Supervisor role at Quorum is nearly identical to the Reporter role, but is for department managers or the like who only need to monitor students in their respective departments (as opposed to the entire facility). It gives managers self-sufficiency to stay on top of education, compliance and competency for their own teams by running a number of reports.
Q: Another theme in our series: Self-sufficiency. Ok, I know there are other roles that narrow and customize user abilities. Are there any others you’d like to highlight?
A: We do have two unique administrator roles that I’ll point out: NRP and Event Manager roles that administer the Neonatal Resuscitation Program, and a HeartCode role that administers that particular program. In both cases there is online as well as hands-on learning, so these roles involve the ability to assign the courses and also to perform a hands-on skills evaluation.
Q: So those are the primary roles used at Quorum, but again we note there are other roles available and roles can be customized as well. The idea is that you can structure your team to fit your organizational needs. Now, let’s pivot to help administrators streamline tracking and maintenance of all this learning.
A: Yes, through some best practices for routine maintenance.
Q: When you say maintenance, I think of all the pesky things I have to do to keep my car running smoothly. Why should administrators be concerned with HLC maintenance?
A: Well, actually, you’re on the right track. Not in the sense that administrators do any “under the hood,” back-end software development. Happily, we rely on HealthStream for that. But just like an office with many years of unfiled paperwork, or computer files that no one thoughtfully organizes…things can get a little cluttered if administrators don’t take time for routine maintenance with their HLC “files.”
Q: Ok, hopefully we’re not about to lose our readers. Let’s make this as painless as possible.
A: Ha! I’ll keep it concise. I think about HLC maintenance in two categories: Automated reporting and year-end updates.
Q: Alright, let’s start with automating reports. How will this make the administrator’s life easier…and organizational outcomes better?
A: Auto-reporting for assignment completions and compliance is a practice that allows users to easily track learning. At Quorum, I want administrators to run compliance reports weekly so they know our employees are being properly trained. Student listing reports can be run on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to make sure we don’t have duplicates or termed employees. The good news is that once you set a report to auto-generate, it’s done! It will show up in your email inbox. On time. Every time.
Q: I like it. We’re all about streamlining here. And by staying on top of learning on a regular basis the administrator is ensuring the organization has the best possible workforce.
A: Exactly. And that ties directly to patient care, experience and outcomes.
Q: We’ve touched on the power of HLC reporting to help accomplish high-level goals in both interviews so far, and we’re dedicating an entire interview to it later in the series.
A: Yes, more to come on precisely how to leverage reporting for maintenance and more.
Q: Before we move away from maintenance reporting, ForYouHR’s head of Virtual Administration Services (and HLC guru) Jonah Aberle mentioned that it’s best practice to automate an assignment completion report for every assignment. Do you agree?
A: Sure. For example, if you create a Code of Conduct assignment for 2,000 students you can automate one report that helps you monitor percentage completion. This lets you know if and when you need to start sending gentle reminders…or eventually track people down in the halls.
Q: Ha! Ok great. Jonah also says it is best practice to add an “end date” to an assignment and to simultaneously “hide it from search results.” Is that right?
A: Yes. After you create an assignment you can add an end date (different than a due date) and select to hide it from search results when it is no longer relevant or fresh content.
Q: That seems like a good segue into maintenance related to year-end content updates.
A: Great. At Quorum, administrators need to recreate custom HLC content at the end of each year. This is for courseware generated at the facility level that they need to ensure is still relevant and up to date. Sometimes this is as easy as copying the course shell, updating a bit of information and then reattaching the content. I recommend that Quorum administrators get started on this in September so it doesn’t sneak up at year end.
Q: Right. It’s also a good time to think about what needs exist and whether or not new courseware could address them.
A: Yes! As I said in our first interview, I want our administrators to be empowered to leverage the HLC for any process that could be streamlined through course creation. Is onboarding a struggle at your facility that could be solved with a custom course? Create one! Make the platform work for you. The HLC is designed to help you solve problems.
Q: Good stuff. Jonah mentioned that many organizations need to renew a range of annual assignments at year end. Administrators may want to think about handling that as part of their yearly maintenance as well.
A: Certainly. Many assignments need to be renewed each year. The bottom line is you want all content and assignments to be relevant at any given time. If an administrator leaves a facility after 10 years, I want the next person to get into the system and see fresh, relevant material. Turnover is real. Let’s keep our closets clean.
Q: Ok. Let’s wrap it up. What are the primary takeaways from this interview?
A: If you don’t already know the capabilities of your administrator role, find out what they are. You could be missing out on timesaving, productivity boosting tools and tricks. If you think you or someone at your organization may benefit from access to something else, speak up!
Q: Yes, make the HLC work for you. And what about on the maintenance side?
A: Keeping your proverbial house in order helps ensure all employees are properly trained and competent from a clinical perspective, compliant with safety and other regulations, and up to date on certifications. In our industry, education and regulation is ever-changing. It’s critical that we keep up, and using HLC tools like automated reporting and course creation can help keep things running smoothly on a regular basis.
Q: Yes, the business risks associated with incompetence and non-compliance are high, and the people stakes are even higher. Keeping your HLC in top shape not only reduces these risks…it genuinely will make your life easier as an administrator.
A: Exactly. Make your life easier, demonstrate your own competence in addition to that of your workforce, and make your community a healthier place.
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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.