Southern health NHS Foundation Trust extends its allocate learning management system (LMS) to address complex training needs both internally and across the wider healthcare economy.
About the Trust
Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust employs approximately 6,500 staff who specialise in delivering services across mental health, learning disabilities and community healthcare across Hampshire and beyond.
Following the Trust’s successful implementation of Allocate’s Learning Management System (LMS), DevelopMe+ across its workforce, it took the initiative beyond rolling out its own statutory and mandatory training programmes to create a bespoke training and learning platform, providing a comprehensive programme of c.150 course products covering 50 topic areas. Some of these courses are sold on to other Trusts and healthcare organisations in the region. The Trust remains one of only a handful of NHS organisations taking this commercial approach to training and learning.
The use of the comprehensive LMS platform has supported the Trust’s contribution to the work streams of the local Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) who acknowledge the use of DevelopMe+ as the starting point for future plans to coordinate service delivery across the partnership area.
The rollout has delivered substantial time and cost efficiencies and simplified the regulatory compliance processes across the medical and clinical/nursing teams both within and outside the Trust. In turn this compliance assurance has allowed the Trust’s Training team to concentrate more resources on other areas of staff development and capability e.g. onboarding, upskilling, mentoring, further academic education, apprenticeship management.
Recognised by many in the healthcare sector as the gold standard of healthcare training and compliance management, the Trust’s rollout of DevelopMe+ has been led by Bobby Moth, Associate Director of Leadership, Education and Development (LEaD).
“As a large and geographically dispersed Trust, we needed to find a way to manage the complex and diverse training needs of a substantial workforce. Statutory and mandatory training alone can often require more than 30 training topics, with accountability lying with the individual. We therefore wanted to make it as easy as possible for staff to gain the skills and compliance they need so that they can focus on delivering frontline patient care. Previously, this had been done manually via Excel or low-tech compliance management systems, however, the lack of a robust audit trail and the sheer administrative burden placed on our staff managing this complex system meant this was no longer feasible.”
Managing compliance for a vast workforce
Answerable to a number of governing bodies, managing training compliance is critical to any Trust demonstrating it is a Well Led organisation to its regulators. Allocate’s DevelopMe+ allows the Trust to track where initial training requirements are met and identify where there is a training need. It also provides a full audit trail which helps minimise risk and the cost of insurance. Meanwhile, the traffic light system alerts individuals and their managers when there is a compliance or training need, helping to ensure shared responsibility and plan ahead.
“Whenever there is a review of patient care standards, training records are always one of the first things to be requested by investigating authorities. The sophistication of DevelopMe+ means we are able to present training truths in a timely manner, enabling individuals to take action before any compliance issue arises, while the robust audit trail ensures from one day to the next, all staff have the opportunity to be compliant.”
Expanding the LMS remit
Working collaboratively with Allocate, the Trust has also co-developed a nursing revalidation tool. The module allows every nurse or midwife to build their own e-portfolio for revalidation. With every qualified nurse in the UK having to revalidate their Continuing Professional Development every 3 years, the tool provides an easily accessible portal for staff to manage their CPD, reflections, feedback and other National Midwifery Council requirements over the revalidation cycle and has been met with very positive feedback.
“All of our work to date, and that which is to come, is to ultimately provide a safe and convenient way for staff to meet their regulatory obligations as effectively and efficiently as possible.”
Moving towards e-learning and assessments
Face-to-face training is costly to deliver both in terms of finance and resource time, so a learning management system that supports an evidence-based delivery of fully featured e-learning materials and other forms of out-of-classroom training in addition to traditional forms of training delivery was critical.
“With such a large workforce covering a vast geographical area, we found delivering face-to-face training increasingly expensive and prohibitive, often affecting the direct services delivered to patients. Our e-learning and e-assessment elements of DevelopMe+ provide a much more efficient and effective way of delivering training and compliance. And because our platform is fully online and mobile, staff can access their e-learning profiles outside of the work environment, on a laptop or even their smartphone, at a time best suited to them.”
Linking the data for accurate interrogation and insight
In 2019, the Trust linked the Allocate LMS to their data dashboard tool, Tableau, in a bid to ensure they are acting on accurate and real-time data.
“In such a large organisation of 6,500 staff, the training landscape can change frequently; by linking both of these systems, we can now report on training stats monthly, weekly, and even daily. This helps provide critical insight on where the Trust focuses its training resources and also helps to pinpoint future skills and learning development needs.”
An expanding learning management system for an evolving healthcare sector
Users of the Trust’s LMS can access their own training booking system. One of the features of DevelopMe+ is the ability to provide a modular structure so the Trust can compartmentalise its own platform, allowing it to keep its own workforce’s training separate from those who have bought the system externally.
“Given the complexity of running a fully auditable training regime, there has been increasing demand from other healthcare providers for access to similar systems. We therefore saw an opportunity to share our experience and significant investment in the successful operation of training systems and opted for DevelopMe+, which would enable us to develop a long-term, commercial avenue for the LMS.”
The future of training and compliance at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust
With accurate data systems now working together, including linking with Tableau, the Trust can look to deliver intuitive rostering capabilities that match required skills with gaps in rosters while gaining powerful evidence to support or veto certain training outputs and deliver much smarter scheduling. For example, if attendance at a specific face-to-face training course is low or in decline, it can be seen quickly as to where there is an opportunity to deliver a more cost-efficient e-learning program in its place. Similarly, places on a low-fill course could be offered to selected internal or external attendees who the LMS has helped to identify as the next best placed to attend, according to their compliance need and/or geographical proximity to the training venue. Such insight-driven management would reduce the potentially significant costs of wasted training capacity. This system interoperability will become increasingly important as the NHS moves towards an Integrated Care System with staff working for multiple organisations within the system.
Running c.3,500 training courses a year for c.40,000 delegate attendances generates a similar quantity of signed attendance registers to be sorted and filed, this requires substantial and robust admin processes. The Trust is currently trialling an Android app which will explore DevelopMe+’s API links, with a view to delivering same day attendance data as opposed to 5-10 days as it currently stands.
The Trust is also developing e-verification capabilities that will ensure skills relevant to individual roles but not necessarily requiring compliance, are tracked in order to produce a database of required skills and widen the scope of assurance for the Trust.
“Long-term, we see the Allocate DevelopMe+ seamlessly combining rostering and training management systems to provide a one-world view of the Trust’s training compliance regime alongside safer staffing rostering requirements. This is crucial as the UK shifts its approach to delivering healthcare staffing, moving away from a disparate structure to a joined up and inter-connected one, helping it to become more effective at managing the overall patient journey.”