June 18, 2015

Vanderbilt's Workforce Performance Operations exceeds first year-goal for DIY implementations

by Sarah Carpenter

Workforce Performance Operations (WPO), a key provider of personalized learning delivery for Vanderbilt University Medical Center, will mark the team’s one-year anniversary of successful DIY (do it yourself) implementations in July.

WPO, a team of workforce education experts, has helmed several successful DIY implementations over the span of a year, including the Dragon voice-to-text software program, PolicyTech document management system, Performance Central employee evaluation tool and the Supportal, a self-directed tech support resource for the Learning Exchange.

Over the past three years, WPO has developed a strategy for facilitating rapid learning on a large scale, providing tools like a learning management system, the Learning Exchange, curriculum-building tools for educators and support for employees to transfer learned skills and knowledge to on-the-job performance.

“Our focus was to improve employee access to learning resources and their usability, ensuring the most effective workforce education delivery possible,” said Anne Marie Danko, associate director of WPO.

This focus has allowed for the achievement of documented results in workforce knowledge transfer and increased competency for the organization. It’s helping the institution become leaner and smarter, allowing for the integration of learning within the workflow at VUMC.

“Our most critical efforts at VUMC, whether technology or process, will require robust learning so that our employees can adopt new ways of doing our work and provide the best possible experience for our patients and others we serve. WPO is a wonderful resource to ensure the right learning channel and program design is in place to reach those goals,” said Traci Nordberg, Chief Human Resources Officer.

WPO’s innovative personalized learning strategy impacts Vanderbilt’s professional development community on a large scale. The Learning Exchange is accessible by employees, students, faculty, volunteers and visiting contractors, hosting thousands of courses created by administrators and deployed to the workforce. WPO’s development of full-scale learning evaluation plans ensures the link between learning activities and business outcomes.

For example, the self-directed DIY process developed for the Dragon project reduced the total planned implementation of the software from 18 months to six weeks, which ultimately allowed providers to spend more time seeing patients and less time completing administrative tasks associated with health record data entry. It also earned recognition as a finalist for a NEXT Award by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.

WPO has also consulted on the implementations of PolicyTech and Performance Central and received high praise from clientele, most notably for how internal users were able to adopt new systems without disrupting their regular workflow.

WPO continues to make significant impacts in the bundled payment system as well, specifically episodes of care for cardiology heart valve repair and replacement and orthopedics total joint replacement.

WPO worked closely with subject matter experts and educators to develop staff training for patient education, leading to improvements in VUMC patient satisfaction and the reduction of internal cost and readmissions.

“WPO has been able to take a vision of education and identify the roles and responsibilities of the front line staff and put that vision into play, letting the front line staff find their place in that education. Staff know what they need to teach patients and when, instead of feeling so bombarded by having to teach everything. WPO makes something very complicated look so easy; they do what they do so well. In my mind, it goes from massive chaos to a clean and easy roadmap,” said Brittany Cunningham, director of Episodes of Care.

With a workload that’s recently expanded to include a full redesign of Vanderbilt new employee orientation, a system consolidation of VandySafe into the Learning Exchange and groundwork on the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center Oncology Care Model, WPO is poised for more DIY implementation successes in the immediate future.

“It’s been a good year for our clients so far and that makes it a good year for us. This one-year anniversary is a great milestone in our development as a team and as a resource for the organization. We value our collaborations and take pride in delivering incredible service to our clients. The best is yet to come,” Danko said.

To learn more about WPO, visit: www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/wpo, or contact learningexchange@vanderbilt.edu or 615-322-2081.