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Interviews from LearnX - Using a Learning Record Store to share data between healthcare organisations with Robert LoPresti

Robin and Robert talk about how Austin Health is using xAPI to share learning data between hospitals. This means that healthcare professionals who work at multiple hospitals don’t need to complete mandatory training multiple times.    


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Transcript - Using a Learning Record Store to share data between healthcare organisations

Robin: Well, welcome to the Learning While Working podcast. To the audience, can you give a quick introduction to who you are and where you're from?

Rob LoPresti: I'm Rob LoPresti. I'm the Director of Clinical Education at Austin Health.

Robin: What have you been talking about today, Robert?

Rob LoPresti: Today, we talked about an exciting project we're about to embark on, hopefully early next year. There's been a longstanding issue within the whole health network in terms of how we share records of training from one hospital to the next. We all work to the same national standards and compliance standards that we all need to meet, so every healthcare professional basically, whether you work at Austin Health or wherever else, we're all trying to meet the same outcomes essentially.

But what we see in Victoria and every other state is there's a number of medical staff, Allied Health Nursing staff, who work across multiple health organisations and essentially they've been asked at the moment to repeat what is essentially the same training each time across them. We could have some healthcare professionals at 3 or 4 organisations repeating the same hand hygiene, same BLS, same--Basic Life Support--Advanced Life Support, and there's huge duplication through all of that.

Robin: And consequently having to redo them every year as well--

Rob LoPresti: Yes, yes, these-

Robin: --for each organisation.

Rob LoPresti: Yes, so these are all annual compliance ones that they each have to do. And look, the sector's starting to do more recognition that if you did do training at Alfred, then we would accept that training at Austin Health. That's a good step in the right direction but when we actually do say yes, I'll accept that training, the administrative burden to actually get evidence of that is where the problem lies essentially, at the moment.

Robin: And I've heard lots of people talk about possible solutions to this. Even badges and things. What sort of solution have you ended up with?

Rob LoPresti: They've tried multiple times in the past at this problem, but where it's failed is they're focused on well, let's just get everyone on the same LMS, and every organization's got their own investments or solution of how they want to run that, and that's really not worked in the past. They've also approached things like, well, let's just do the exact same training, but again there might be some minor contextual issues for each organisation and that's never been factored either.

What we're looking to do is actually work with the system as it currently is, work with everybody's LMS, work with the fact that they are completing this training, but just extracting records. What we're trying to look at is a centralised learning repository store whereby it'll draw content from each LMS, from every organisation, into a central repository and then our LMS administrator just queries that repository and the record automatically updates the second organization's LMS with that same data.

Robin: So it’s sort of mapping it, it's an LMS system sending things off using xAPI--

Rob LoPresti: That's right, yes.

Robin: --to a learning records store

Rob LoPresti: Yes.

Robin: And then the LMS administrator comes into the platform and sits there and says, "Oh, that person's also on our platform-”

Rob LoPresti: That's right.

Robin: “--let's have their records as well."

Rob LoPresti: Absolutely, yes. We take out all of the going from one organisation, their education department, or their Learning Management System administrator. We get emails from people saying, "I did it at the Alfred", in an email. No real evidence around those things, so it's going to help with the quality of the data that we're getting, and the evidence that we're getting as well. And it'll obviously be a huge time saver.

Robin: And it's interesting as well, because the things you quite often-- when I've heard of good solutions, it is always putting that back onto the employee and that's probably the last person that's actually going to need it. They're not going to supply it in the right format, and then the way they do it is going to create admin nightmares for people.

Rob LoPresti: And it's a lot of dissatisfaction for them as well because essentially a lot of these doctors are employed on very small time fractions to really go to the hospital, see their patient list or to undertake their surgical list and get out. Their time is actually really limited to be able to undertake compliance training that they've already completed at other organisations.

Robin: Because it's actually-- healthcare is one of those industries where profiled working is very common, where people do multiple jobs at multiple different organisations. Cool, that's a huge time saving for people.

Rob LoPresti: Certainly we're at this stage, we're engaging with all of the CEOs for each of the healthcare major organisations in Victoria, so a proposal's gone to them. We're quite confident that by early next year we'll be able to set up some sort of pilot project. What we'll probably start to do is we've partnered with our partner Androgogic to work on the solution (Totara), and we may start with a couple of like, health organization's who are on the same platform, and then start to bring in other organisations that are on different Learning Management Systems, and then start to really test the plugin xAPI to make sure that it's working as we want it to.

Robin: Check all this, it's always interesting because there's always the glue that's the technical bit. There's also the practical bit as well, which is part of what you're talking about with getting everybody on the same platform. Are you having to do subtle things like get everyone naming everything the same way?

Rob LoPresti: Look, to a degree. I think ideally that would be another step forward into the future. But we're starting small. We're starting with things that are already well recognised and have very similar naming conventions. For instance, we'll start with Basic Life Support, we'll start with Advanced Life Support, we'll start with hand hygiene. These are things that are already in place, and what we want to do is get that proof of concept happening and start a platform with which to really build from.

Robin: It's going to be interesting to hear how it evolves as well, because it's interesting because it's essentially value propositions. To learn it is going to be huge and then eventually that will lead to another organisation. They'll sit there and say, "Oh, you realise between such and such, and such and such, my results get transferred automatically."

Rob LoPresti: That's right.

Robin: They'll see--

Rob LoPresti: And I think that there'll be a byproduct for the network in that it'll draw more collaboration between organisations. I think the record store for trainee's is one thing, but I'd like to see us start to build on sharing courseware and collaborating with projects a lot more. I think it opens up further opportunities in the future as well.

Robin: Have you thought about what other kinds of industries this type of approach could be used in?

Rob LoPresti: Look, at the moment I haven't thought more worldly, but in talking with others I'm sure there'll be other industries that have similar compliance type standards in which they all need to work. I know there's been things like in the law industry for instance, there's been things that need to work to common standards, and I'm sure there'll be other things, so really it's a little bit of a blueprint for what could be picked up in a range of areas.

Robin: I can see spots in construction--

Rob LoPresti: Absolutely.

Robin: --and possibility in finance industries as well. I'd like to wrap up the podcast with a line there. If someone else was embarking on a project of a similar sort of sharing results between-- sharing data between a wealth of different organisations, what would be your general advice?

Rob LoPresti: I think the advice is to make sure you get the key stakeholders on board, and for us we could have the best project in the world, but if we didn't have our CEOs of the health organisations on board, if we didn't have the Department of Health and Human Services on board, then it kind of goes nowhere or it just becomes a bit of a small, nice project that doesn't really have the legs and the traction.

And I think-- have a practical solution. The solution we're proposing isn't necessarily overly sophisticated, but it's been a tension that's been there for a long time that hasn't been solved, so having something that's a practical, simple solution and starting there is important. Get the proof of concept, get the right people on board.

Robin: Alright. Thank you for a great conversation.