The inevitable came a lot sooner than the Oklahoma State Medical Association (OSMA) anticipated—which was the case for many associations during the pandemic. They knew their old learning management system (LMS) had issues, but the need for a change became more evident when their continuing medical education (CME) program gained national attention.
During the early months of the pandemic, OSMA offered free livestreaming programs on YouTube for medical professionals, which sent increased traffic to their website and LMS. Since their old LMS wasn’t integrated with their association management system (AMS), attendees needed a separate sign-in to claim credits. Support calls would go on for days, monopolizing staff’s time. “The problem was severe enough that we knew we had to do something about it,” said OSMA’s CME manager, Sandy Deeba.
How a new LMS improved OSMA’s continuing medical education program
Sharon Westmoreland, information systems manager at OSMA, researched LMS options. Since iMIS is OSMA’s AMS, she looked for an LMS that could easily integrate with it, thus solving pricing, discounting, data entry, and learner experience problems. Because TopClass LMS has a turnkey, two-way integration bridge and single sign-on solution for iMIS (and Zoom!), it was an obvious choice.
#1: Give staff back hours of time a day to spend elsewhere
OSMA staff now spends half the time on program administration than they did before. Thanks to TopClass’ integration with iMIS and Zoom, when they create an event in iMIS, it automatically creates the event in TopClass and Zoom. Anyone who registers in iMIS is automatically registered in TopClass and Zoom, so staff doesn’t have to enter that data again.
“Because TopClass is so easy to use, it saves lots of time. Sandy feels empowered to create more and more content. We have to tell her to slow down!” said Sharon.
#2: Increase rate of evaluation completion
After the event or program is over, attendee and no-show data is pulled back into TopClass. Attendees are sent instructions for completing session/speaker evaluations and printing their certificates. After they complete this initial evaluation in TopClass, they’re automatically awarded their CME credit, data which is written into iMIS as well.
Getting attendees to complete evaluations for credit has always been a hurdle, but because the process is easier for them now, the average rate of evaluation completion has increased by 20%.
#3: Eliminate learner confusion and frustration
“Now I can truly say our learning portal is self-service and easy to use,” Sharon said. The LMS automatically sends reminders to attendees about their upcoming program, which they can access through TopClass or Zoom. The smoother evaluation and certificate process has made a big difference—support calls to the CME team have dropped by 90%.
#4: Make it easy for members to claim credits from other CME providers
Through a ‘joint providership program,’ OSMA members sometimes attend educational programs hosted by other organizations. Even though they don’t go through iMIS or TopClass for registration for these programs, members need proof they attended the program to take the evaluation and get their credit and certificate from OSMA.
In these cases, OSMA provides a session-specific code to each instructor. After the program, attendees return to TopClass, enter the code, complete the evaluation, and get their credit and certificate. OSMA even leveraged this WBT-created tool for attendees seeking credit for classes hosted by a University at Sea cruise.
#5: Understand how CME programs make a difference in the physician’s practice
Besides the initial evaluation right after the program ends, TopClass automatically sends another evaluation 90 days later. OSMA wants to find out what physicians actually applied from the program and how they made changes to their practice as a result of the program. “This allows us to determine how valuable the CME is to the physician, and whether it made a difference,” said Sharon.
#6: Gather useful member engagement data
TopClass writes back (sends data back) to iMIS when someone completes a program and gets a certificate, so OSMA can run iMIS reports showing:
• Member engagement with education
• Who actually completes programs or courses
• Most popular courses
• Responses to course evaluations
#7: Plan on always offering virtual educational opportunities
OSMA has already hosted a couple of hybrid meetings and believes “the virtual element is here to stay for all meetings.” They plan to offer all live programs through Zoom and the subsequent recordings for on-demand consumption in the LMS. When a learner clicks on an on-demand program to purchase or view, the content is immediately available in their learning center. Sharon said, “The self-service side of this has improved so much. It’s easy for all members to use, even those who are technology-challenged.”
Ease of use is necessary and timely due to state compliance requirements for physicians, such as taking a “proper opioid prescribing program” once a year. OSMA offers this high-demand course live six times a year and makes it available on-demand and free for members. They have plans to go live with five new courses in the next couple of months and to continue building a library of course recordings.
If your existing LMS is causing frustration for either staff or members, or limiting the programs you can offer, don’t wait until you’re at the breaking point. Start putting together a list of requirements and read up on the selection process—we have many LMS selection resources to help you.