Compliance Uncovered: Sue Middlehurst at BMI Healthcare On How Totara Transformed Their Approach

BMI Healthcare has over 60 hospitals and over 15,000 learners across the UK. With highly stringent industry compliance regulations to adhere to, how did they transform their compliance training to be more cost-effective, more engaging and more learner-friendly?

We caught up with Sue Middlehurst, Leadership, Talent and Innovation Manager, at BMI Healthcare about their compliance challenges and how they’re addressing them with their BMiLearn compliance portal using Totara LMS.

1. How much of an emphasis does BMI Healthcare, as an organisation, have on compliance training?

“Compliance is such a large focus for BMI Healthcare. Because we’re a healthcare organisation, we’re inspected and regulated by government bodies where compliance rates are expected to be 100% after 3 months on the job. As you can imagine, we take it really seriously because this is the healthcare industry, and our patients’ well-being is paramount.”

2. How did BMI Healthcare deliver compliance training before the implementation of BMiLearn?

“Our old compliance programme was more of a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Everyone took the same compliance training regardless of their role.. It wasn’t personal enough and it was a real drain on time.

Historically, we also manually logged all of our compliance activities. That ranged from recording workshop attendance on spreadsheets, to signing certificates that sat in a hard-copy HR folder - we did it all manually, and it wasn’t really digitised or automated in any way. It left a lot of room for interpretation as to what was completed or not, and it made it difficult for us to prove our compliance to inspectors should they visit a hospital.”

3. What made BMI Healthcare want to explore a learning portal as a compliance solution?

“Because of the manual process surrounding the recording of our compliance, it was a big drain on time, and also left us unable to prove compliance easily to inspectors from the CQC and HIS. We also had inefficiencies around reporting, automation and sustaining employee engagement.

We needed to simplify both the re-enrolment process for existing employees, as well as deploy a system that allowed us to generate only relevant courses to learners, as opposed to our “one-size-fits-all” approach. So we looked to a portal to achieve this. But more than just the system, there’s a big culture change element here too.”

4. So, what led you to creating a more targeted learning approach to compliance?

“We had an issue in that we needed to ensure we were training the right people at the right time. Because our mandatory training is very important it had to be prioritised, whilst ensuring that the time, particularly for clinical teams, spent away from patient care was highly focused and, most importantly, appropriate. By only providing learning that is relevant to the learner, at the time it is needed, we could significantly reduce the time spent on non-essential learning, whilst still emphasising its importance.”

5. What effect has personalised learner plans had on learner engagement?

“These personalised learner plans have had a huge impact on engagement within teams. Learners are now on a learning plan relevant to them and their job role.. Learners now only re-take modules when they need to, not just on a default date, and we have completely abandoned the homogenous approach. That’s a real cultural shift.”

6. This is been a significant change in culture, how did you get learners to buy-in to the portal?

“The designing of the LMS was the easy part. Changing the learning culture of a business and getting learners to buy into a new approach is certainly the tough bit!

We spent quite a lot of time with senior managers of the business, ensuring they really understood what BMiLearn was, with the ultimate aim of transforming them into champions. We made sure they were leading by example, so were 100% compliant before enforcing compliance within the team. We also had a super user (or a brand champion of sorts) in each hospital. It was strategically filtered down from the top, and I cannot stress enough how important that senior leadership buy-in was, and still is, in terms of adoption and engagement.”

7. What do the learners think of their new compliance training?

“Learners really like the new system, and how easy it is to use. We are finding that because learners use it and engage with it, further new learners come to use it too.. We’re also really delighted to see people aren’t just coming on to BMiLearn for their compliance anymore; they’re accessing other areas of the LMS and non-mandatory learning modules too.”

8. What savings have you achieved?

“We have realised massive cost-savings. Because we’re only providing training at the right time and not duplicating learning when it’s not necessary, we’ve saved poorly targeted training time and staff hours. We’ve also changed the frequency of some mandatory courses, moving them from annual to biennial. This has significantly reduced the amount of time spent on annual mandatory training. The overall cost saving equates to 31 full time employees. That’s over £800,000 worth of time per annum, which has had a massive impact on the overall organisational spend.”

9. Why did BMI Healthcare choose to work with City & Guilds Kineo and Totara on this compliance project?

“The open source philosophy of Totara directly matches our culture in terms of sharing and community. We firmly believe in giving back to the community, and the nature of an open source project means we have also benefitted from the investment of other organisations through things like Open Badges (which we are currently using). And we’ve put in things that others are benefitting from. Totara is simple to use, and it can grow with us.

CG Kineo made us feel important and valued, and weren’t afraid to experiment and try new things. They’ve really gotten under the skin of the business and come up with innovative solutions.”

10. What advice would you give to other companies looking to improve their compliance learning experience?

“Don’t underestimate the time it takes to change your organisational culture. The easy bit is building the system. Changing the culture, and getting learners to truly understand the importance of why they need to learn is the hard part, and it really does take time to get it right.”

Be like BMI: Transform Your Compliance

Do you want to improve your compliance engagement like BMI Healthcare has? In our latest Compliance Best Practice Guide, we reveal the best approaches for compliance design to make learning more memorable as well as the best design approaches to produce higher learner engagement.

Download your free Compliance Best Practice guide.


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