The Role of Training in Healthcare Today


The entire healthcare value chain is changing – driven both by regulatory and policy changes (including the Affordable Healthcare and the Health Information Technology Acts in the United States), as well as the move to consumerize healthcare and make it more cost-effective. In parallel, healthcare and other enterprises are being challenged to keep up with ever-rapid changes in science and technology, as well as innovative new business models. The rise of employer-driven preventive healthcare, new tools and trackers, and the “Quantified Self”, amongst others, is forcing healthcare providers and payers alike to adapt continuously and experiment regularly. Sam Palmisano, President and CEO of IBM, expressed this succinctly:

“The nature of competition and the forces of innovation shift the frontiers of science, business and technology at a rate we’ve never seen before. Which is why expertise is not static. To be competitive, any individual – like any company, community or country – has to adapt continuously, learning new fields and new skills….We need a workforce model that recognizes this shift. As always, the really hard part is culture and mindset.”

Since both employee training and patient education require a comprehensive training management process, it is best to build the case for training by first determining the organization’s business goals, then determining to which part of the (extended) enterprise would the application of knowledge, information or training further that goal, and finally by determining what specific measures would indicate that the training program had been successful. Armed with this knowledge, the training administrator can then orient the business objectives, learning objectives, target audience, availability and modality of training resources, and training process management tools to achieving the selected business goal.

One can see the importance of a centralized training process administration system if one follows the patient journey through a modern healthcare organization. Typically, this follows seven key steps:

  • Patient Orientation – Whereby the patient is given information about diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and lifestyle options.
  • Patient Education Planning – Whereby individual education plans are constructed for each patient based on their personal health profile, demographic information, etc.
  • Patient Education Implementation – Whereby different modalities (demonstration, written, online, mobile, etc.) are optimized to provide the patient with continuous education via the “Five A’s” principle, described above.
  • Discharge/Instructions – Whereby the patient is informed of the recommended processes, systems, and treatments they should follow in order to effect the best prognosis for their particular symptoms.
  • Documentation – Whereby all of the patient education modules, modalities and methodologies are reported on, providing useful analytics and actionable information to healthcare providers in order to modify and optimize the training process.
  • Monitor & Follow-Up – Whereby the training programs, their effectiveness, and review of patient health and wellness are coordinated in order to ensure the appropriateness and applicability of the patient education process.


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