Six Benefits of Automating Healthcare Checklist Management

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

Every day, organizations across the care continuum use paper checklists to ensure consistency, prevent errors, and create a standard of performance for all employees. But advances in technology offer a more efficient way—now you can streamline your approach to checklists by using a checklist automation tool. In a recent HealthStream webinar, Nancy Warthman of Alternate Solutions Health Network (ASHN) explains how her organization uses HealthStream’s award-winning Checklist Management tool to standardize and document validation of skills and track completions.

Before ASHN began using the Checklist Management tool, they were losing a lot of time completing clinician competencies on paper and piecing together paper forms that got lost or separated while en route to human resources. “Keeping track of paper checklists for our clinicians was a big pain,” Warthman says. “We have over 20 items that our clinicians are checked off on annually, and parts of the checklists would always get separated and misplaced, and we spent a lot of time tracking down all of the pieces.”

Here are six benefits of automated checklist management from HealthStream:

Eliminating Paperwork Eases Tracking

Mobile access, having everything in one place, not waiting days for paperwork to be signed off on—these are a few of the benefits of an automated checklist tool that drew ASHN to HealthStream’s Checklist Management. ASHN uses the Checklist Management tool with both new and existing clinicians who need to complete skills check-offs. Having an automated checklist process simplifies the transition for new clinicians joining the team as they navigate their orientation program. The checklists also ease the process of tracking completions of equipment training, training on changed organizational policies and procedures, and required training during transitions of practice for experienced staff.

Standardization Simplifies Reporting

Using the Checklist Management tool allows an organization to standardize their checklist processes, which simplifies collecting data and reporting. “Now that we have one place where our checklists are housed, we are able to standardize our processes across our organization,” Warthman adds. “It’s clear what everyone is expected to do, and each market captures the same data.” She explains that having a standard for what data is collected and having a single place to store it has had a significant effect on ASHN. As the organization grows, they are now capable of customizing their checklists to fit the changing needs of the market.

Managing Skills Checks Deadlines is Easier

ASHN also uses Checklist Management’s reporting capabilities to keep track of when clinicians are due for skills checks. This enables them to ensure that their clinicians are up-to-date and to be notified to schedule competency checks when a clinician is not within compliance. Warthman adds that as their organization grows, they will start to undergo regular audits. Using the Checklist Management tool, they are able to efficiently track compliance and competency checklists and pull any information needed at a moment’s notice.

Employee Satisfaction Improves with Automation

Moving from a cumbersome manual process to a simple online solution has been a relief for ASHN staff and clinicians. “It has been a positive transition for clinicians,” Warthman adds. “This has been a major time saver for them, and they are also relieved to reduce the amount of paperwork they have to fill out. From the internal perspective, it’s a big sigh of relief to eliminate the problem of how to keep up with and where to house all the paperwork.”

Automated Checklists Enhance Skills Validation

Now, the automated system allows for an almost painless completion of competencies upon hire and as required annually. “We use Checklist Management to help tailor any identified needs or lack of skills so that the clinician can go through the list of required skills and mark what they do and don’t have experience with and reinforce their own training,” Warthman explains. Not only is the process easier, it’s also much faster. Having access to the checklists ahead of time, clinicians are able to ask questions in advance and come in prepared for their competency check. What used to take all day with paper only takes a few hours with Checklist Management, allowing clinicians to get back into the field and back to caring for their patients sooner. 

Less Clinician and Staff Time is Wasted Due to Lost Paper Forms

Before using automated checklists, ASHN relied on a paper process to manage their skills validations for clinicians. Warthman explains that they would have up to 30 clinicians coming in at one time to get checked off on skills, and they had a piece of paper to be completed for each competency. Every form had to be individually filled out, handed in, signed off, and sent over to HR. Entire forms or parts of these paper applications would regularly get lost in the process and a lot of staff time was wasted in tracking down missing pieces of paper. Clinician time was also being wasted—the skills competency check would take all day.

HealthStream’s Checklist Management tool can help automate and improve any educational initiative and is recommended for organizations across the care continuum, including those in ambulatory, health and human services, and post-acute care.

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