Part 5: Automating HLC Reports for Efficiency and Compliance
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 and often untapped platform 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 is designed to empower administrators to streamline processes, better manage workloads, maximize ROI, and demonstrate their value as vital to organizational outcomes. For the full Series Overview, check out Part 1: The HLC Administrator’s Role in Improving Outcomes, and view other series installments on the ForYouHR blog.
Part 5 – Automating HLC Reports for Efficiency and Compliance
In Part 5 of this series, Quorum’s e-Learning expert Brad Speck and ForYouHR’s Angela Novak cover how reporting automation can help HLC administrators improve overall efficiency and achieve compliance. They discuss four primary reports for which Brad believes automation is best practice, as well as how to schedule and receive them.
The Big Picture
Q: Hi Brad. It’s finally time to dive in to one of your favorite tools to help HLC administrators better manage workloads and achieve organizational compliance. Why is reporting automation so important?
A: I want our administrators to leverage any HLC capabilities that help them work more efficiently while doing their best job for the organization and, ultimately, patients. Reporting automation is simple to initiate, but extremely powerful in its ability to save time and monitor learning activities that are critical for care delivery and compliance.
Q: Yes, it’s one of those tasks that takes just a bit of work on the front end and pays big dividends in the end.
A: Right. Big picture, we’ve said the goals of this series are to help administrators streamline processes, become increasingly self-sufficient, demonstrate their value, maximize HLC ROI, achieve organizational excellence and improve patient experience. Report automation is a great way for administrators to achieve those ends.
Q: And compliance is a particularly important reason to leverage automated reporting, right?
A: Absolutely. In my mind, achieving compliance is one of the most important reasons to automate reports. You save time by eliminating the need to set up a report each time; you ensure it gets run on time, every time; and you save bandwidth across the organization, which helps keep the HLC running smoothly.
Reports to Automate for Best Practice
Q: Ok, let’s start by identifying some of the reports you think it is best practice to automate.
A: Sure. We’ve touched on all but one of these in previous series installments. I see these four reports as being critical for regular monitoring, which automation makes easier: 1) Assignment Completion reports, 2) Course Activity reports, 3) Student Listing reports, and 4) Import Results reports.
Q: Yes, I believe we’ve mentioned all but the Course Activity report in prior interviews. Let’s briefly discuss why each report is so important, and then share how to automate them.
A: Just like it sounds, the Assignment Completion report helps administrators track learning and ensure all assigned material is being completed. I know ForYouHR agrees that it’s best practice to create Assignment Completion reports for every assignment. In particular, I want Quorum administrators to run this report for “Code of Conduct and General Compliance” on a weekly basis, and at the very least on a bi-weekly basis. At Quorum, this material is required to be completed by all new hires within 30 days and by incumbents each calendar year. If you don’t run this report on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, you easily run the risk of falling out of compliance—especially for new hires, who have a tight window to complete this learning. When you schedule an Assignment Completion report to auto-generate for this course material it will simply show up in your inbox, on time, every time.
Q: That makes good sense. It helps ensure your workforce is properly trained and reduces the risk of non-compliance, which is music to management’s ears. Ok, talk about the Course Activity report.
A: The Course Activity report helps you monitor whether or not courses you’ve created are being taken. In some cases, students can self-assign material for learning. This report gives administrators completion statistics that can demonstrate usefulness of content and determine if they should renew it. Students can search for CE course options, and for non-required courses this report reveals if a course is being assigned, number of completions and whether or not it is popular material. By monitoring the Course Activity report, you’ll have concrete statistics to help decide whether you should renew a course year-over-year, perhaps add new content, or potentially retire it. This one goes back to best practices for annual maintenance discussed in Part 2. It helps keep your HLC clean, useful and relevant.
Q: Yes. Automating this report to run quarterly or even annually keeps this maintenance practice from falling off the radar. Next up is the Student Listing report. We discussed this in some detail in Part 3 on managing hierarchies and student listings.
A: Automating the Student Listing report on a weekly or bi-weekly basis is another best practice for maintenance. Just as with course information, keeping student information accurate and up-to-date is an important part of keeping the HLC clean. Staying on top of student listings through automation saves administrators from time-consuming clean-up work as well as potential problems down the road if this information isn’t properly maintained. Also there is a cost-control factor, since our facilities pay for each unique user ID…so it’s important to quickly identify duplicate or inactive listings. When running this report, you should always limit it to “Active” students and then select your search criteria.
Q: Ok, great. There is good information in Part 3 with your recommendations on what to do if you find duplicate or inactive listings. That brings us to the Import Results report. Why is it important to automate this one?
A: The Import Results report shows updates in the file by week and identifies errors in the HLC. It lets you know if there are discrepancies coming in from HR or IT, which is extremely important because these discrepancies can result in a student being kicked out of the system. This means they won’t get their assignments and can easily result in non-compliance. It is especially important for new hires, who have a tight timeline for completing training and onboarding assignments. I recommend this report be automated to run weekly on Monday. Otherwise, you’ll quickly accumulate a long list of errors! The “Import Status Summary” piece of this report shows all file updates, and the “Import Error Detail” section identifies any errors.
Scheduling an Automated Report
Q: Ok Brad, will you outline the process of scheduling an automated report in the HLC?
A: Of course. Most reports can be scheduled to run at a specified interval with an email notification sent to specified recipients. Prior to automating a report, you first have to run that report before you’ll have the option to schedule it. Head to the Reports tab, identify the report you want and configure it, then click “Continue” to generate it. The report will open in a new browser window and you should confirm the desired results. Once you return to the configuration window a “Schedule This Report” link will appear.
Q: Ok, so I’ll reiterate that you won’t even see the “Schedule This Report” link until you first run a report one time. What next?
A: When you click on “Schedule This Report” the Scheduling page will appear. Fill in the “Request Name” and the “Email Address” fields. You can change the address that appears or add additional addresses separated by semicolons.
Q: A quick sidebar here. You mentioned previously that it’s best practice to send the automated report only to yourself, since it can be difficult to cancel automated reports once an employee is terminated.
A: Yes. Ideally you enter just your email address. (If you do add other recipients, enable the “Report Security” option to require recipients to log in.) Next, in the “Report Format” section choose the desired format. Then choose frequency of the report (daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly) and choose “Schedule Start and End Date” to enter the duration. Finalize by clicking “Save,” and the report should then be accessible under the Reports Tab. Just click on “Request Manager” and navigate to “Scheduled Tasks.”
Q: Alright, Brad. That does seem like a fairly simple process. And since you’ve identified some of the best reports to automate…folks should be able to get right in and start making their lives easier! Any last comments on report automation?
A: On a specific note, many reports have both “Drill-Through” and “Schedulable” tracks. The Assignment Completion report is one of them, and you’ll use the “Schedulable” track for auto-reporting. You can use the “Drill-Through” for one-off report requests, but generally speaking it contains more detail than you need for regular monitoring and also uses a lot of bandwidth.
Q: Ok great, thanks Brad. Can you wrap this up with your thoughts on the overall importance of report automation?
A: Automated reporting is a practice that best positions the administrator and the organization for success. In order to deliver excellent care to patients in our communities, we need our people to be properly trained and to have our administrative ducks in a row. This is such a simple but important way to check those boxes while making your job easier.
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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.