Carilion Clinic: Training 9,000 Employees on Epic
28 September 2021
Based in Roanoke, Virginia, Carilion Clinic is a not-for-profit healthcare organization that serves more than a million people.
Like any healthcare organization today, Carilion faces new challenges. Frequent Epic Systems upgrades mean thousands of employees must be continually trained on how to use the latest version. Fierce competition for talent is also a concern, especially for a not-for-profit clinic that can’t always compete on salary. This, coupled with increased demands for healthcare, due to both changes in policy and an aging population, requires doing more with fewer resources— especially when it comes to ensuring quality patient care.
A key component in the ability to deliver that care is a highly engaged, passionate workforce. Yet Carilion’s people management systems, in contrast to their patient management systems, were highly siloed. According to Robert James, HR technology manager, “There was no visibility. There was no global approach to data around learning, performance, succession or competencies.”
Originally, Carilion implemented Cornerstone Learning to manage training in advance of the rollout of Epic. “Knowing we’d have to train thousands of staff with role-specific education on how to do electronic charting was daunting,” said Robert James, hr technology manager for Carilion Clinic. “We knew we couldn’t manage that level of complexity with our existing system.”
But James and his team saw that addressing other challenges would require more than a new Learning Management System (LMS). Carilion implemented Cornerstone Performance to both streamline reviews and correlate performance and learning data. The clinic also began using Cornerstone’s Observation Checklists, a tool that enables real-time, on-the-job performance tracking and testing for basic competencies.
Today, James and his team use Cornerstone to help them build a true organization-wide culture, not just of engagement, but of values. “We use Cornerstone to reinforce our core values, our Five Cs, and that affects employee engagement,” said James. “People are impressed after coming to Carilion from other organizations and seeing how we make sure employees are prepared to deliver quality healthcare.”
Evaluated competencies. Carilion relies on Observation Checklists to validate employee skill proficiency. “Observation Checklists is used by 70 percent of our staff,” said James. “It’s particularly helpful in ensuring clinicians participating in high risk or low frequency activities can renew their validations. And we can be more certain of ongoing competency.”
Streamlined audits. The team also uses Observation Checklists to streamline audits. “Audits are whirlwinds, and it’s not just Joint Commission. We’re routinely asked to show documentation, and with Observation Checklists, we can get information out to folks in a minute to show the validation history of a clinician.”
Delivered targeted Epic training. Via Cornerstone Learning, employees can stay current with Epic upgrades. “Because we can build curriculum in Cornerstone around a position that correlates to an Epic role, it’s extremely easy to get the right education to the right people,” said James. “We couldn’t accomplish Epic training without Cornerstone. We’re training 8,000-9,000 people every few years with only Cornerstone and 20-30 trainers.”
Increased engagement. Within Cornerstone, James and his team can link learning to performance and vice versa. “Cornerstone helps us show employees how to use learning to improve performance. Employees realize we’re invested in them. And that helps us create a more engaged workforce.”
Developed new leaders. Cornerstone is also instrumental in onboarding newly promoted leaders. “Right away, they’re in Cornerstone taking classes. Some courses are practical, like how to use the HR system. Others are philosophical, such as how to have difficult conversations with employees.”
Gained visibility into organizational trends. Carilion relies on Cornerstone Performance to identify performance and compensation trends. “With Cornerstone, we were able to identify issues with our pay practices, namely a disconnect between ratings and merit increases,” said James. “We wouldn’t have known that if we weren’t using Cornerstone to centrally manage performance reviews for 11,000 employees.”