Some access info not good for e-learning

Classroom training sometimes necessary

When patient access leaders had to select a subject for the first e-learning module developed at St. Luke’s University Health Network in Allentown, PA, they chose computer downtime procedures.

“You don’t have them very often, but when you do have them, it’s difficult to be sure everyone does things consistently at all the different entities,” explains Joyce Sourbeck, RN, associate vice president for patient business operations.

Some patient access training topics are well-suited for e-learning, but some types of training clearly aren’t, she explains. “With screen flows and entering data, you want to have some direct oversight so someone is available to show what they are doing wrong or help them do it more efficiently,” says Sourbeck.

For this reason, training involving accuracy of certain data entry fields, such as insurances, will still be classroom-based at St. Luke’s. “That is one module we would not want to do with e-learning, since the precision is so critical,” she says. “We want to give a lot of explanation to the trainees about why certain data fields are needed.”

On the other hand, Sourbeck says completion of the Medicare as Secondary Payer form makes an excellent e-learning module, because staff can be given multiple choices for which they would select as the patient’s primary insurance.

Audits will be done

In the future, new patient access hires at St. Luke’s University Health Network will have three days of training onsite and two days remotely through e-modules.

“We will do audits to see whether or not those aspects of registration have higher or lower error rates than before the e-learning,” says Sourbeck.

E-learning allows current registrars at St. Luke’s to complete yearly competencies and refreshers and allows managers to track their progress. Sourbeck adds that e-learning helps provide staff in various registration areas with the specialized training they need, such as an e-module on the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) given only to emergency department registrars.

“If you are registering patients for physical therapy, you don’t need to spend a lot of time training with people in outpatient registration areas,” she explains. “Everyone has different needs.”