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NHS achieve massive savings in training delivery plus improved patient care

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust was under scrutiny to make sure they met nationally-mandated training requirements. They were also required to have performance reviews in place. These measures were necessary to ensure patient safety – but meeting these requirements using an old paper-based system was ineffective and costly.

By using Totara Learn, staff took control of their learning paths, managers started tracking training completions accurately and the organisation could ensure staff were delivering the best care possible.

About East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust provides healthcare services through five hospital sites and multiple community facilities in the heart of the North West of England. The organisation’s 7,000 staff treats nearly 750,000 patients a year, maintaining modern facilities and nearly 1,000 patient beds.

The Challenge

In health care, it is not enough to merely get a “passing grade”. Health staff are dealing with life and death situations. Managers must know their staff can deliver high-quality front-line care. In 2013, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust was under exceptional pressure by public authorities to enact changes to improve patient outcomes.

They needed to ensure staff met training goals and went through regular assessments that could be graded against other health service providers.

It was more than just being able to collect the information, we also needed to be able to use that information to understand instantly what our organisation’s needs were. Using the old system, we couldn’t accurately ascertain the number of staff who had received an appraisal because we were getting conflicting information from different departments! It was critical for us to correct this situation; staff who aren’t trained and effective in their roles will not be delivering good patient care.”.

– Nichol Orton, Head of Learning and Organisational Development at Royal Blackburn Hospital

Evaluation Process

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust’s decision-makers recognised they could get the functionality they wanted by using a Learning Management System. Their evaluation process soon landed on three possibilities – and out of that, they chose Totara Learn, integrated with the Mahara ePortfolio system.

Totara gave us everything we wanted at a reasonable cost, the first company we looked at could have given us the Earth – and it would have cost the Earth, too. The second company was more focused on the eLearning side of it. With Totara, they had eLearning capabilities plus the tracking and analytics capabilities, with room for us to add new custom capabilities as needed

– Rita Ansbro, Learning Technologies Manager at Royal Blackburn Hospital

The Totara Learn Solution

The organisation implemented Totara and Mahara over 12 months with the help of Chambury Learning Solutions, who are specialists in learning technology and Totara, for the NHS. Legacy data from the previous LMS was cleansed and migrated to Totara. Chambury Learning Solutions took care of system installation, hosting and maintenance, as well as custom development.

Finally, managers were trained on how to use the system to conduct staff appraisals by mid-June, 2013. Staff are also trained on how to manage and schedule their own training,and providing evidence for the management appraisal through their ePortfolios. It is easy for additional training to be assigned as necessary. Implementation is ongoing, with new capabilities scheduled to be rolled out including:

  • Totara’s Open Badges for course completion, making training management even easier to verify across departments and locations.
  • Totara 2.5’s appraisal and goal setting tools.
  • Using Totara’s tracking capabilities and Mahara’s ePortfolio competency evidence to help determine salary rates. In a highly budget-conscious public health care environment, it is very valuable to have data at your fingertips to reward performance rather than simple seniority.
  • Life-Saving Management Capabilities. Better training management at a healthcare organisation is about more than removing potential liabilities leading to multi-million pound lawsuits – it’s about saving lives and ensuring a high quality of care all around.
  • Massive Cost Savings. By choosing Totara Learn, East Lancashire Hospitals saved nearly £120,000 more that it would have cost to implement an alternative, proprietary LMS.
  • Savings in ongoing support compared with other evaluated systems will be in the tens of thousands of dollars for each of the next few years. It is an extremely cost-effective solution.
  • Ease of implementation. By mid-2013, 1,750 staff members had been trained to use Totara. East Lancashire intends to have a majority of staff trained and using the system by mid-2014. This relatively fast implementation is helping the organisation meet its stringent public requirements.

 “Staff keep telling us this is the most user-friendly systems we’ve seen,” Ansbro says

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