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Streamlining GP education and training with Specialist360
“Our people were frustrated with our old systems and the amount of manual processes involved. But now, they are really happy, and they take pride in the solution. They see it as a helpful tool, not a hindrance to doing their job. Most of them ask why we didn’t do this years ago!”Gordon Carr, Information Systems Manager, WAGPET
Western Australian General Practice Education and Training Ltd, (WAGPET) is an independent company established by a consortium of organisations with an interest in General Practice education and training.
WAGPET is the sole trusted provider of the Australian General Practice Training Program for GP Registrars in Western Australia and one of nine Regional Training Organisations (RTOs). They currently employ 50 staff.
WAGPET have 590 Registrars in training at any one time, and take on a further 180 each year. The turnover time to manage trainees through their studies and into placements is three years.
Time to automate
WAGPET engaged Fusion5 in 2012 to develop and implement Specialist360, a GP training management system. WAGPET already had an older CRM platform in place, along with a Learning Management System (LMS), but the solutions weren’t integrated. There was no data sharing, which meant slow and unreliable processes and a lot of work done laboriously by hand. Staff spent days extracting information from the system and moving it into Excel to produce essential business reporting.
Gordon Carr, WAGPET’s Information Systems Manager, says that manual practices are unsustainable once an RTO reaches a certain size and has a critical mass of Registrars. “We knew we needed an automated solution that was reliable and fast. Even with the LMS we had manual processes, because the data from that system wasn’t available in our CRM.”
WAGPET were determined to have a fully integrated system that streamlined the complexities of their medical specialist training processes.
Delivering capability, collaboration and compliance
Specialist360 meets WAGPET’s requirements and more. Not only that, Fusion5 delivered the original fully integrated training management solution within a six-week timeframe. They then followed up with ongoing system enhancements that have significantly boosted WAGPET’s business intelligence (BI) capabilities.
Critically, integration with LMS enables WAGPET to meet their compliance reporting requirements with the Department of Health (RIDE).
The solution brings the training and learning management and CRM systems together to create a collaborative environment for Providers, Educators, Supervisors, and Registrars. This ensures that WAGPET achieves its key operational objectives as well as meeting all the requisite compliance regulations.
Specialist360’s automated and integrated systems reduce WAGPET’s administrative overheads, while the Business Analytics and dynamic dashboard capability deliver valuable real-time operational and performance insights into Registrar learning and training progress.
The two-way win
Automating WAGPET’s two-way placement matching process was one of the most significant benefits Specialist360 delivered. In a successful placement, both parties have to indicate a mutual interest in each other, and know that the Registrar and the practice are a ‘good fit’.
“Our LMS used to do half the job for us,” said Gordon, “but it wasn’t reliable, or even that good. Prior to this we used spreadsheets. I know that even today some of the smaller RTOs use whiteboards and sticky notes to try to manually match people and practices.”
Now, Registrars on the Australian General Practice Training program can match with practices via the Facility Finder on the WAGPET website. The website is integrated with Specialist360 via the in-built integration capabilities.
Training facilities use the web portal to flag up the number of Registrars they have the capacity to train in the year. This appears on the website for Registrars to browse. Registrars highlight facilities offering training in their area of interest and arrange interviews. Once the interview stage is concluded both the registrars and facilities login to the portal to submit their preferences. Specalist360 then automatically matches facilities and Registrars in preference order, relaying this information back via the portal so interviews can be arranged.
Specialist360 saved WAGPET a considerable amount of administrative time as well as ensuring more accurate registrar and practice matches. A process that once took weeks now only takes seconds.
Gordon says that the feedback from WAGPET staff on their new solution has been amazing. “The changes we’ve made over the last 18 months freed our people up from the old mundane manual processes. They now have time to do more exciting and rewarding work.”
“One of the best things though, has been the BI tool. Our business is very reliant on data and information. It used to be difficult to get consistent data out of our system - we found that the results would vary depending on how someone searched for the data.”
Specialist360’s BI tool lets WAGPET set up dashboards that give staff with minimal technical knowledge the ability to extract and display current data in a meaningful way. And all without relying on the IT department, says Gordon. “For example, they can see data presented in graphs or pie charts, then drill into that data, usually by just clicking on various parts of the graphics.
“Our managers can make decisions in near real-time with near real-time information. It’s at their fingertips whenever they want to access it,” says Gordon. “I know the CEO finds the graphics very valuable in meetings and presentations. It’s very powerful when she can just copy and paste the graphic she wants into one of her presentations. It’s made a big difference in the way she runs the meetings and interacts in the community.”
While WAGPET hasn’t reduced staff numbers, the increase in automation means they haven’t had to hire more either.
“Our people were frustrated with our old systems and the amount of manual processes involved,” says Gordon. “But now they are really happy, and they take pride in the solution. They see it as a helpful tool, not a hindrance to doing their job. Most of them ask why we didn’t do this years ago!”
The new solution provides WAGPET with end-to-end training management and a true hub for all their information.
As well as automating placement preferences, WAGPET has worked with Fusion5 over the last six months to create more online forms and a web portal.
“We’ve moved a lot of processes that didn’t belong in the LMS into Specialist360 and the web portal,” said Gordon. “The next step is implementing the mobile clients for internal users. Some of our internal users are doctors who are only employed part-time, so they aren’t using the application on a daily basis. The plan is to implement the mobile client, a device responsive web-based version of Specialist360, that can be tailored to the requirements of an external user using their tablet, smartphone or any device with a browser and internet connection.”
Fusion5 ran workshops with WAGPET staff to review how they would use the mobile client. They wanted to be sure that the new system is easier to use and more intuitive, while still delivering the right amount of functionality, processes, and data access. The new mobile client should go live in early 2017.
The project has been a truly collaborative project, says Gordon. “It’s taken work on both sides to get some of these processes in place, but it’s paid dividends for the business. Without the knowledge of Fusion5’s consultants we wouldn’t have gotten to where we are.”
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