Banner Health has taken a strong stance in support of e-learning. Top management support enabled the company to purchase a learning management system (LMS) to house a library of courses and deliver them through the corporate intranet. This type of management support is essential for successful e-learning rollout and adoption. Recently, Banner Health was able to combine management support with an e-learning initiative to comply with federally mandated training.
In 1996, the U.S. federal government passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Since then, companies with any interest in health-related services have been required to implement a variety of training courses for their employees and volunteers. The most current piece of training under HIPAA pertains to the Federal Privacy Rule. All employees working in the health-care industry were required to successfully complete training on this subject by April 14, 2003.
In conjunction with TraCorp Inc., a Phoenix-based developer of custom online training, Banner Health rolled out an online training course to fulfill requirements for HIPAA training. “The Power of Privacy” course was launched on March 3, 2003, giving more than 21,500 current employees, located in nine states, six weeks to successfully complete the course. Timing the course release for six weeks prior to the federal training deadline helped promote the relevance and urgency of completing the training. The design of the courseware and its internal marketing have not only allowed Banner Health to fulfill its legal obligations, but also to create an internal “buzz” about the training course.
“Although I had heard about HIPAA training, I was surprised to see so much promotional material around the hospital for ‘The Power of Privacy’ course,” said Ranae Race, medical records manager, Ogallala Community Hospital, Banner Health. “The fact that there were always reminders, and that the design made it look fun and interesting, built up a feeling of anticipation for what the training course would actually be like.”
Another benefit of this custom approach was Banner Health’s ability to use the graphic elements developed for the training in its internal marketing of the course. TraCorp created unique Banner Health characters to guide students through the training course. Banner Health used these animated characters to promote the course internally before the course launch date.
“Banner used the theme ‘Learn the Power of Privacy’ in its promotional materials and online training,” said Pat Henrikson, privacy officer for Banner Health. “Because Banner chose to use the characters designed by TraCorp in the promotional materials, staff quickly recognized them as they were guided through the interactive activities and learning techniques by the character Phi. The three characters representing the spoken, written and electronic PHI (protected health information) added additional surprises. Staff reported that they not only learned but had fun. We achieved our goal.”
The characters were used on 1,500 posters and 2,000 table tents that were placed in cafeterias, break rooms, meeting rooms, corridors and hallways. In addition to these visual reminders, Banner Health included articles in hospital newsletters and updates on the company intranet.
The characters were easily identifiable by all members of the Banner Health community, and they added to the fun nature of the courseware. The interactive games and other learning techniques incorporated in the course not only reinforced the content, but also attracted the attention of employees and made the mandatory training a pleasure to complete. Upon completion of the training course, employees were given a button to wear announcing, “I completed HIPAA Privacy Training.” The buttons served as an additional internal marketing tool and acted as a reminder to employees who had not yet completed the training.
“I had expected this type of mandatory training to be dull and boring, but the advertising made me curious about the course,” said Jane Wodrich, administrative director, Health Information Services/Patient Services, Good Samaritan Medical Center, Banner Health. “When I took the course through our intranet, I was excited to find out that it really was as fun as the posters had made it look. Plus, the online course was convenient and made it easy to learn and retain the information.”
Within the first week, 76 percent of Banner Health’s employees and volunteers had completed “The Power of Privacy” training course. Not only has Banner Health reaped substantial cost advantages, but the company has also proved to be an excellent example of how internal marketing can motivate employees to complete online training.
Brooke Bailey is the director of business development for TraCorp, the Phoenix-based developer of custom online training. Please visit www.tracorp.com for more information.