October 2022

MES Training Done Right: 5 Steps for Training

By Adam Hayden

Summary

For more than 24 years, Briljent has delivered solutions in healthcare, social services, and information technology settings, including as a Medicaid Enterprise Systems (MES) Training Integrator. We’ve learned a few things about MES training that we’re eager to share! Here are 5 steps for effective training integration!

The Bigger Picture

For more than 24 years, Briljent has delivered solutions in healthcare, social services, and information technology settings, including serving as a Medicaid Enterprise Systems (MES) Training Integrator. We’ve learned a few things about MES training that we’re eager to share!

The overarching goal for any new technology solution is to achieve better, more cost-effective service to stakeholders while enhancing the consumer experience. In other words, among the driving forces behind new technologies, the most important include cost savings, efficiency, ease of use, and consumer satisfaction. 

Motivating and enabling people to use systems in optimal ways is as important as the technology itself.

It may seem funny to position Medicaid Enterprise Systems in this light, but the digital transformation of healthcare requires that we do just that. Modular MES can bring agile, interoperable system components to information management that harness new technologies to better serve members, equip policymakers with new insights, and save states money. Program administrators, policymakers, and procurement teams know this well, but often we forget to share the vision with end-users. Motivating and enabling people to use systems in optimal ways is as important as the technology itself. 

When people worry that modularity brings complexity without value, as we overheard at this year’s Medicaid Enterprise Systems Conference (MESC) in Charlotte, the worry is only superficially about technology, and more often, the concern is about preparing people for the future. Nothing sinks a large enterprise implementation more than forgetting about the people who make up that enterprise! 

Learning audiences must understand their role in the bigger picture to connect each individual user’s activities to overall program success. Without bigger picture buy-in, all the training and remediation in the world won’t help achieve the promise of new technologies. How do we connect users to the vision? 

The 5 Steps for Effective Training Integration

It is easy to think that teaching people how to use the system is adequate to support implementation, but the measure of successful training is not simply to push the right buttons—it’s meaningful behavior change that builds confidence and emphasizes each learner’s role. A learner needs to understand how their daily work ladders up to enterprise goals.  

To guide learners on this path, successful design and delivery of systems training must speak directly into a learner’s daily activities, beginning with the pragmatic insight that change is hard and learning a new way to do things can be emotional, even intimidating, and can undermine a learner’s confidence. 

When training meets a learner “where they are,” their comfort with change is increased. If that training then shows knowledge and respect for the learner’s responsibilities, trust is nurtured, and a learner is more apt to take ownership of their own skill building. 

We find the following five steps offer a comprehensive approach to designing and delivering systems training: 

  1. Assess learner readiness, including emotions and receptivity to change 
  1. Identify the tasks users will perform 
  1. Demonstrate the scenarios users will likely face 
  1. Show users how the system supports their work 
  1. Teach systems in the context of typical workflow examples 
Infographic titled, "5 Steps to Effective Training Integration" and lists five bullet points with check marks that say: Assess learner readiness, including emotions and receptivity to change 

Identify the tasks users will perform 

Demonstrate the scenarios users will likely face 

Show users how the system supports their work 

Teach systems in the context of typical workflow examples
Five Steps to Effective Training Integration

Elevating systems training beyond features and functions to include insights around the how’s and why’s of new business processes, helps learners understand how to successfully perform their jobs. Systems training is only partly about using the system. 

Elevating systems training beyond features and functions to include insights around the how’s and why’s of new business processes, helps learners understand how to successfully perform their jobs

That’s a little counterintuitive, so we’ll repeat it: Effective systems training is only partially about showing learners how to use the system. Highly effective systems training teaches users how to perform their jobs in a new way. Too often, technology vendors overlook the impact on existing processes when showing users how to use the system features.

MES Technology and Training Vendors: Both/And

Don’t get us wrong, technology vendors are experts in their solutions, and selecting an experienced vendor is integral to Medicaid modernization success. The story here is not either/or but both/and. Technology vendors know the technical aspects of system integration, and effective training assumes a strong partnership between vendors and the Project Management Office. The insight that we offer is only to say that technology vendors may not have deep knowledge of adult learning, instructional design, and organizational change management (OCM). It is a disservice to both technology vendors and learning audiences to place the full burden for training on the shoulders of vendors who do not specialize in it. 

Training and OCM specialists have distinctly different priorities and skills that will focus on preparing end users to adopt and adapt. They should have proven experience collaborating with a variety of system vendors, internal training teams, and agency user groups. 

Training Procurement

For many of these reasons, we are seeing states move to budgeting and contracting training and OCM independent of the technology procurements. Incorporating training and OCM requirements into technology modules often results in technology vendors squeezing these key components from their proposals to cut costs. As a result, training activities are often prioritized too late in the launch schedule to be fully effective. Late engagement undermines needed time for training vendors to tailor their solutions to learners’ daily activities and workflows—the crux of effective MES training. 

By procuring training and OCM separately, states can ensure the budget for training and OCM results in those areas being comprehensively addressed with courseware that is engaging, effective, and developed efficiently to save time, money, and resources. A centralized, single training/OCM partner will ensure that the roll-out of the training curriculum and OCM communications are consistent and relevant to users based on their day-to-day work processes. 

Our Learning Consultants are ready to talk at any time to help you consider the right questions before your next Medicaid Enterprise Systems implementation or new solution in the MES ecosystem. At the heart of what we do is service to others, and this extends from our partners at CMS to Medicaid members receiving services. 

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