Magazine article Workforce Management

Odyssey HealthCare Streamlines Training with an On-Demand Solution

Magazine article Workforce Management

Odyssey HealthCare Streamlines Training with an On-Demand Solution

Article excerpt


Odyssey HealthCare has deployed a learning management system (LMS) to train over 5,000 employees at 80 Medicare-certified hospice programs in 30 states. The company adopted the Software as a Service (SaaS) model of software delivery, where its vendor provides maintenance, daily technical operation, and support for the LMS software. Not only does the LMS support training, but also it supports Odyssey's efforts to comply with various state and federal government regulations.


Odyssey HealthCare "(Odyssey)" seeks to improve the quality of life of terminally ill patients and provide comfort for their loved ones. In terms of both average daily patient census, or average number of patients in the facility per day, and number of locations, the company is one of the largest providers of hospice care in the United States.

Odyssey offers a full range of hospice care services, including nursing care, medical social services, personal care, spiritual support and counseling, daily living assistance and physical, occupational, and speech therapy.

The Business Environment

As a hospice provider, Odyssey must comply with numerous state and federal government regulations. The most important of these are the U.S Department of Health & Human Services Conditions of Participation (CoPs) for hospices receiving payments from the Medicare program. To meet those standards. Odyssey must provide training to its employees. Failure to meet the CoPs may result in the loss of Medicare certification.

Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations mandate that healthcare providers provide specific training to their employees and other workforce members, including volunteers. The legislation requires that healthcare organizations provide general HIPAA awareness and role-based training on the rules for privacy and security, and maintain a system for certifying that the training has been provided.

Learning Environment

Odyssey's online learning programs address the company's entire workforce of nearly 5,000 full-time and part-time employees. The workforce is made up of professional patient care providers (e.g., nurses, physicians, and aides) and office professionals, such as field office managers and headquarters' staff in finance, information systems, human resources, marketing, and other departments.

Training at Odyssey is decentralized, with subject matter experts (SMEs) and trainers for each department. The SMEs and trainers are responsible for instructional program management, including identifying learning and skills gaps, establishing goals and strategies, and developing content and assessments.

The Impetus for Change-Business Drivers

Prior to implementing an enterprise LMS starting in late 2005, Odyssey required key employees needing training to travel to corporate headquarters in Dallas, Texas, for one week of orientation. The training was delivered in a formal classroom setting by instructors who traveled to Odyssey's 80 hospice programs throughout some 30 states. …

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