In a matter of weeks, COVID-19 has changed how learning is delivered around the world, especially in the health care sector. With rapid and urgent demand for new COVID-19 related workflows to be implemented, there is also an enormous requirement to create accessible learning materials and courses that need to be deployed immediately. To add to the challenge of immediate trainings, the UAE government also implemented social distancing to fight the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
While there were country-wide initiatives to ensure a successful implementation of distance learning, the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) was especially equipped to transition quickly from classroom-based learning to distance learning.
MOHAP’s Health Information System (HIS) team, in partnership with Cerner, started the transition in 2019 with a blended learning approach for HIS code upgrade and go-lives at green-field primary health centers (PHC). The partnership leverages MOHAP’s Maharati Learning Management System (LMS) to host e-learning and blended learning courses to aid the shift from knowledge-based training to a skills-based approach. There were several team activities to support this change for the users.
Equipping the team
From June 2019 to February 2020, Cerner has conducted several learning workshops on planning and producing basic animation, interactive videos, and on-the-go learning materials. These workshops were focused on setting quality standards and clear guidelines on how to create learning opportunities that are flexible, short and effective, then packaging them so as to enable clinicians to learn anytime, anywhere for easy application.
The workshops were directly followed by projects, through which the HIS team was able to create online courses to support rollouts of new Wareed projects in several key areas. With the support of MOHAP HIS, the learning materials were validated as to form, content and layout for better user convenience, retention and compliance. The workshops, learning projects, and continuous validation prepared the team for the COVID-19 challenge.
In response to the significant demand for learning COVID-19 related workflows, MOHAP and Cerner were able to create and immediately deploy:
- Interactive videos that are relevant, performance-based and that challenge users to learn by doing
- Quick Reference Guides (QRGs) that are mobile-friendly
- Online Forum Pages for real-time support that have clear participant and moderator guidelines
With these initiatives, the team transitioned MOHAP clinicians from traditional training to modern learning, thereby empowering them to work collaboratively yet independently on improving their skills and compliance when using their electronic health record (EHR).
There have already been more than 3,000 users trained in just a few weeks through distance learning methods on COVID-19 related topics alone. With the simple, skills-based approach designed for existing MOHAP users and new users including COVID-19 volunteers, courses and learning materials were rolled out for:
- COVID-19 institutional isolation buildings;
- COVID-19 remote sites surveillance;
- Preventive Medicine Department; and
- Hospitals that support full COVID-19 medical services and facilities that offer e-clinic and home quarantine services.
The adoption of online learning ultimately reduced the need for time-consuming scheduling and spending time travelling to a common venue. Online learning is also better suited to clinicians’ requirement to quickly learn new workflows, regardless of their schedule and changing assignment.
The way forward
While some believe that the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the move of academic and business organizations to distance learning with little to no preparation, MOHAP had already foreseen the value in offering digital learning opportunities and had taken preemptive measures. In addition to the COVID-19 initiatives, MOHAP and Cerner have continued their efforts to integrate EHR and LMS through the following projects:
- Wareed Knowledge Base - a repository of learning materials in Maharati LMS for all clinicians, and
- Learning Central - a one-stop-shop in PowerChart® of the latest Wareed updates, news and learning content.
MOHAP and Cerner will continue to overcome challenges in learning and offer more innovative and accessible learning platforms addressing the learning needs of today’s clinicians.
For information regarding Cerner’s content and assistance in light of the COVID-19, please click here.