Tech Trends With Implications For Healthcare Talent Development In 2019

By Ted Smith, Deputy Director, Envirome Institute, School of Medicine, University of Louisville


Technology enhances and affects nearly every part of our lives, and adult corporate learning is no exception. Some learning and development (L&D) technology may already be implemented in your health system, as it can assist with clinical and non-clinical learning alike. While both care delivery and labor are moving away from a centralized hospital setting to a geographically separated health system, the need for digital tools to drive learning and development for adult workers is ever increasing. Organizations are seeking training that is inexpensive, industry relevant, and can be delivered with minimal interruption to productivity. What are differences between types of training/L&D? In other words, what are technology trends with implications for healthcare development in 2019?

Adaptive Learning
Adaptive Learning is a way to enable personalized learning to scale. No student learns at the same rate. Adaptive learning works by assessing learner performance and activity in real time, then using analytics to personalize content to reinforce concepts that target each learner’s strengths and weaknesses. Most often this will result in knowledge retention, increased confidence, decreased frustration, and improved results. Adaptive learning is most used in industries that rely on manual labor and experience high levels of employee turnover such as the healthcare, retail, transportation, and hospitality fields.

In hospitals, adaptive learning technology is used to train staff in essential functions such as the on-boarding process, customer service standards, and role specific training. Adaptive learning can meet employees at their own level, regardless of unique backgrounds or geographically separated locations. Adaptive learning helps employees get up to speed quickly and acquire the skill needed to make immediate impacts in alignment with health system goals. At this time adaptive learning is typically only offered within clinical roles at acute care hospitals. The New England Journal of Medicine, for instance, creates adaptive learning courses for physicians to maintain certification and receive continuing medical education. Adaptive learning in hospitals could someday help transform corporate recruitment and employee development on the front-lines. Instead of requiring Certified Nurse Assistants or Health Aides take a 120-hour training for instance, systems could offer micro-accreditation to make training for these hard-to-fill roles more appealing to adult learners.

Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are moderately different, but we are lumping the two together here for simplicity. To clarify, ‘Virtual Reality’ refers to an entirely digital environment, while ‘Augmented Reality’ is a mix of virtual objects superimposed onto the real world.

The uses for augmented reality (AR) training would be to explain, enhance, or tell a story based around existing data or information. By overlaying information on top of pre-existing data, HR can create a training experience that elevates the way that people learn. AR is becoming an alternative technology for training programs, allowing users to learn and practice skills in realistic settings.

Healthcare workers have been quick to realize the benefits of AR technologies, mostly for clinical practitioners. Clinical employees must learn a sizable amount of information about anatomy and the way the human body functions. AR applications give learners the ability to visualize and interact with three-dimensional representations of bodies. Cleveland Clinic and Vanderbilt University Medical Center are two pioneer systems using 3D representations of human bodies for clinical learning. A top vendor in this field is VR PatientsTM, a company that builds training for EMS and nursing staff with advanced patient simulations.

Gamification learning technology refers to integration of gaming elements in digital learning to craft an engaging learning experience. Gamification is built to encourage learners to apply learning on the job by challenging them with real-life situations in a controlled environment. Gamification usually involves story lines, challenges, rewards, and analytics.

Gamification really is most effective when organization-wide community learning is needed. Gamification tends to spark increased engagement through positive peer pressure and social interaction. In hospital learning for entry-level staff, gamification learning technology includes challenges, instant feedback, points/objective ranking feature, badges, in addition to competition and collaboration.

One example of gamification at a major hospital is the University of California San Francisco Bennioff Children’s Hospital. UCSF Bennioff used gamification to boost job satisfaction and performance. The goals the organization had were an increase staff communication, enable peer recognition, encourage teamwork, and improve patient outcomes. Every hospital staff member received an account in order to be able to recognize the accomplishments of their colleagues. A system kept track of the recognition everyone received for various time periods (e.g. weekly, six months, and so on). Hospital leadership rewarded the staff members who obtained the most recognition for the week. There was also a chatting tool for reaching out to managers and other staff members to encourage communication. Over time, nursing teams developed a friendly competition contest, which rewarded the group with the highest patient satisfaction each week. Patient satisfaction increased from 86% to 97% over the course of only two contests.

Microlearning breaks down new skills and concepts into small individual chunks to be consumed one topic at a time. These learning modules can be completed while an employee continues in their professional role, allowing associates to incorporate new information into existing work routines almost immediately.

Health systems often do not find it feasible nor affordable to pull staff cohorts from their day-to-day operations and send them to participate in a training program. Microlearning modules can be assimilated during mere minutes of an associates’ day by using mobile platforms and interactive technology to deliver learning in small bursts. Microlearning is especially well-suited to the information-gathering style of millennials that are used to rapidly scanning and can have shorter attention spans.


Besides tech trends with implications for talent development, what are other tech trends which health system HR teams may see in 2019?

More Rapid Hiring – Organizations are using innovative digital screening tools to cut down hiring time. With Millennials expected to be 60% of the workforce by 2020 and Boomers retiring, organizations need faster hiring processes. Resumes and phone screenings are being pushed aside by end-to-end digital processes. Scores from gamified assessments and personality test fits are a next wave of hiring techniques.

Voice Assistants/Artificial Intelligence – Some may think that because healthcare is so labor intense, that AI won’t affect the labor force, however chatbots may replace some administrative roles. Cooks and information clerks could be replaced by automation. Secretaries can be replaced by artificial intelligence. Voice assistants may some day even perform HR tasks like finding employment candidates.

“What Augmented Reality Training Is And How To Leverage It In Your L&D Process,” eLearning Industry, John-Carlos Lozano, October 9, 2018
“How Hospitals Are Integrating Augmented Reality and Other Tech to Improve the Patient Experience,” MedCity News, Rick Halton, August 2, 2018
www., VRPatients
“Adaptive Learning: The Future of Corporate Learning,” Precision Frontiers, Ulrik Juul Christensen MD, February 20, 2017
“5 Killer Examples On How Gamification In the Workplace Is Reshaping Corporate Training,” eLearning Industry, Asha Pandey
“UCSF Hospital Uses Gamification to Increase Job Satisfaction and Performance,” Gamification: The Leading Source For Gamification News & Interest, Heong Weng Mak
“Challenges with Adult Learning… Using Microlearning to Effectively Educate.” KTA University, Tiffany Kelly, February 16, 2018
“What Everyone Should Know About Cognitive Computing,” Forbes, Bernard Marr, March 23, 2016