GeoMetrix Helps Seattle Children’s Hospital Connect Employees and Volunteers with Learning

Founded more than 100 years ago, Seattle Children’s is considered one of the top 10 children’s hospitals in the U.S. This leading healthcare facility has hundreds of thousands of patient visits annually and more than 5,000 employees.

“Few organizations generate as much demand for continual training as hospitals,” explained Mary Alida Brisk, Director of Learning and Organizational Effectiveness at Seattle Children’s. “Employees need training to meet regulatory requirements, satisfy hospital policies, learn new skills and retain accreditation from their first day of work to their last.”

By 2007, Children’s had outgrown the learning management system (LMS) it was using to track personnel training. The system had no reporting capabilities or customization options, and its business logic could not be modified. This made for an inefficient, hard-to-use system.

Children’s sought to replace its outdated LMS platform with a more comprehensive and usable system. The ultimate goal was to strengthen and streamline the hospital’s ability to deliver, track and analyze training. The organization’s needs and requirements stemmed from a Continuous Performance Improvement (CPI) model.

“CPI is a transformative way to remove waste from systems and processes and improve quality and safety, enabling us to deliver the best healthcare to patients and families. Importantly, when we improve quality and safety we reduce costs. CPI influences the training we offer and how we track training requirements” said Brisk.

Required functionality for a new LMS, as determined by both clinical and non-clinical partners, included the following:

  • Automated position-based training assignments (reducing waste and rework)
  • Improved reporting capabilities with more real-time information
  • Intuitive and easy-to-use learner interface
  • Ability to track employee compliance with the training requirements of internal organizational and external regulatory agency criteria

Children’s issued a Request for Proposal, and in September 2007 began evaluating learning management systems. Brisk described the process: “We engaged key representatives from the groups with the highest usage of the former learning management system. One of our critical partners was from Nursing, which represents about a quarter of our workforce. Key partners helped identify design requirements to meet our unique needs, and they also served on a guidance team to provide input while we designed and implemented the new system,” acknowledged Brisk.

Seattle Children’s Hospital ultimately chose the TrainingPartner LMS from GeoMetrix Data Systems.

“We chose TrainingPartner because it’s designed to support all of the functions we were looking for and because it’s flexible, so we can configure it to fit to our specific needs,” noted Brisk.

By the end of 2007, specialists from GeoMetrix, working with Children’s to complete a full needs analysis. To test whether GeoMetrix’s LMS would meet the organization’s needs, Children’s chose to carry out a pilot project in early 2008.

Within a few weeks of completing the pilot project, Children’s and GeoMetrix began a full implementation of the software. Children’s opted for an on-site installation rather than a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or hosted implementation.

“We chose to bring the application in-house, which has several upsides,” asserted Brisk.

In the spring of 2008, GeoMetrix trained critical staff members on-site and began tailoring the software to meet the organization’s needs. The LMS administrator interface was significantly ‘cleaned up’ using the built-in form editor to hide inventory items, tab panels, fields and/or labels that Children’s was not planning to use. The interface was designed to be as simple and logical as possible for the ultimate end-users — the online enrollees — some of whom were not regular computer user.

To this end, GeoMetrix modified many of the standard pages so learners would see only the information they needed to complete their tasks, whether that was browsing upcoming classes, satisfying training requirements or checking personal training history. Some of these customizations were carried out by Children’s using functionality that comes built-in to the software, and more complex, tasks were completed by GeoMetrix development staff.

When the LMS launched as the hospital’s new ‘Learning Center,’ the main focus was to support online and instructor-led courses, which includes administration of course content, class scheduling and reporting. The software began managing a mix of instructor-led training (ILT), computer-based training (CBT) and web-based training (WBT) for the hospital.

“We are using the LMS to track all internal training offerings so that we can truly see how much training is being offered to people in various roles,” said Children’s Brisk. “This provides a better picture and allows us to calculate the cost of training delivery — it’s a level of transparency that we did not have before.”

Since the initial go-live date in 2008, Children’s has upgraded the system several times and started using additional functionality.
“Learning Programs enable us to group trainings and events into a ‘package,’” said Brisk. “We intentionally focused on grouping the ‘core and common’ learning programs — the annual required trainings that our employees must complete each year. Our senior leaders and key stakeholders track our results each year, and we are able to provide detailed reporting about our overall compliance rates all the way down to the individuals who are not in compliance. Senior leaders use this information to support their teams’ learning goals at the local level.”

When the Learning Center rolled out, it included a customized Compliance Dashboard. This online, real-time dashboard lets supervisors quickly check the status of their staff members’ training. Children’s also began using automated assignments.

“This eliminates the need to search each year for your annual requirements,” explained Brisk. “The assignments show up on the learner’s ‘To Do’ page so they can go in at any time and take their assigned courses.”

The software gives Children’s quantitative metrics that not only validate the original ROI, but also demonstrate continuous ROI.

“Children’s had limited, if any, access to metrics under the previous LMS,” confirms Brisk. “Implementing TrainingPartner confirmed a positive ROI, based on subjective and qualitative measures. Feedback from our end users has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Between 2013 and 2017, Children’s grew from a 254-bed hospital to 371 licensed beds.

“Growth will bring new employees, new processes that require training and more data to track,” remarked Brisk back in 2013.

The LMS’s flexible design allowed the system to evolve with the organization and will continue to do so.

“[The LMS’s] flexible configuration has been a key factor in our ability to respond to the needs of our organization in a timely and comprehensive manner,” asserted Brisk. “Another key feature is the availability of data that helps us measure and analyze the learning environment at Children’s. Finally, the system’s intuitive interface has led to a quick and extensive adoption throughout the organization.”

When asked about working with GeoMetrix Data Systems on this project, Brisk said, “Children’s has extensive experience working with vendors and their staff. We appreciate and recognize the quality and professionalism of everyone at GeoMetrix. In particular, their implementation staff played a key role in the successful development and deployment of the Learning Center implementation.”

“Selecting a new LMS application was a long process, and it was complicated by many changes at Children’s that were outside the control of the team charged with implementing this software. GeoMetrix stayed the course with us, and we have what we dreamed of over five years ago.”

For more information about Seattle Children’s visit:

Case History: Seattle Children’s Hospital

“Few organizations generate as much demand for continual training as hospitals. Employees need training to meet regulatory requirements, satisfy hospital policies, learn new skills and retain accreditation from their first day of work to their last.”