What is Product Training Really Worth?
By Lorre Wisham
“Every line is the perfect length if you don’t measure it.” Marty Rubin
Too often, healthcare information technology (HIT) vendors treat training as a last-minute “check the box” obligation to be met as quickly as possible with the smallest investment possible. It shows. Low KLAS scores and slow or partial product adoption are just two results of this approach.
What’s far worse, though, is the lost opportunity for vendors to differentiate themselves from competitors by showing the direct and measurable results that effective training can bring to their customers.
Smart vendors use proven evaluation methods to demonstrate these benefits:
- Reduced time to competency
- Increased consistency
- Greater and more meaningful product use
- Fewer help calls
- Better support for future employees
What kind of evaluation methods work? I recommend Kirkpatrick’s four-level evaluation model.
Assess participant reaction to the course.
Rather than wait for KLAS scores, use surveys to find out immediately what end users think about the training, and then modify it as needed to improve results. Capture this data over time to prove to customers that your training is well received.
Assess what participants learned.
Build pre- and post-tests into your courses so you can demonstrate increased knowledge and skills. Track scores, run reports, and ask customers whether their other vendors can offer the same.
Determine whether participants are able to apply their learning on the job.
Understand what comprehensive product adoption looks like for your customers and assess how your training helps deliver it. For instance, examine the rates of product use or the number of technical support calls among employees who complete training and those who do not.
Gather data from customer executives or management to determine the impact the training has had on their organization. Using surveys over time, you can begin to answer key questions like these:
- Has the availability of an online training solution helped the organization manage employee turnover?
- Did training help the organization meet Meaningful Use criteria?
- Did the time available for patient care increase along with HIT proficiency?
As learning professionals, we know organizations that evaluate their training outperform those that don’t. Vendors who work with customers to evaluate training success set themselves apart from those who don’t. After all, training is just an activity if you don’t bother measuring its impact.
By taking the steps described here, you can demonstrate added value to your customers. You can show that you not only know how adults learn, but how they do so within the challenging context of a healthcare environment. Because you measure results, you can show something more — your unique ability to help healthcare professionals translate learning into actions that benefit hospitals, providers, and patients.
Lorre Wisham is president and CEO of Health Technology Training Solutions of Tucson, AZ.