Saving lives by ensuring competency at a Norwegian Health Trust

by | Mar 8, 2017 | Case Studies, Evidence for Change, Featured

This is an independent case study on the impact of competency management in Helse Vest, Norway – a state-owned regional health authority that owns five health trusts, which operate nine hospitals.

Imagine this: you are managing a large hospital and a patient comes into your care. The patient is treated by a doctor who has met hundreds of competency requirements across over 80 competence plans. They are treated by several nurses, all needing to individually meet several hundred competence requirements, who must each be individually certified to use over 30 different pieces of equipment.

How do you maintain the certainty that each of these individuals have been able to meet the competences to ensure patient safety?

Furthermore, how do you know that you’ve put the right people in the right place to do the job safely and to the best possible standards?

Tracking competency in this context is literally a matter of life or death. By involving users in the design of their solution, the Western Norway Health Authority could demonstrate positive impacts on patient healthcare and overall performance.

Working with Dossier Solutions, they have created a Competency Portal which has surpassed the expectations of not only the staff and colleagues at the hospital, but is transforming the approach to competency management across the Norwegian health sector.

The challenge

Several years ago, the HR director initiated a change of systems across the region, within one year. Helse Vest initially worked alongside the provider to implement a system, which unfortunately turned out to be more catered towards the financial sector. This didn’t work for the healthcare system, so a rethink was needed. Instead of this being an obstacle and resulting in scouring the market for new providers, the Trust worked alongside their existing provider and used the relationships they had previously built to work on a solution together.

They identified a need for competency assurance for all learning; a 70:20:10 approach across LMS systems. The LMS on its own wasn’t enough – they needed a business-critical solution that was decentralised, worked with a 70:20:10 approach and allowed for fully auditable competency plans.

The solution would act as an L&D portal, enabling the tracking and management of competency profiles and much more. The platform needed to:

  • Document competencies
  • Identify training and further development needs
  • Enable the assembly of teams with the right skills
  • Help staff prepare, implement and follow up on agreed development activities

Six years later, the Helse Vest Competence Portal was born.

The context: Helse Vest

Public hospitals in Norway are organised in 4 regions, with around 50 localised health trusts and over 150,000 employees. Haukeland University Hospital is one of 4 trusts owned by Helse Vest, the Western Norway Regional Health Authority, with every employee completing around 4 courses per year as elearning or classroom sessions.

In addition to this, side-by-side training, procedure checkouts and supervised training form part of colleagues learning activities. New standards, procedures, re-certifications and legal liabilities all need to be considered when meeting competence requirements, with around 31,000 employees providing specialized healthcare to almost 1.1 million people, it’s important to get it right.

Download this case study (PDF)


By Aimee Young, Towards Maturity

The case study has been created as part of the Towards Maturity and Learning Technologies Awards Good Practice Partnership, established in 2011.

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