Online Classrooms Are Now A “Virtual” Reality for Healthcare Providers

The following is a guest article by Nanette Koch, VP, Business Development at Atos.

During a global pandemic and with stressed capacity for our Healthcare professionals at an all-time high, organizations have also found that they need to revamp their onboarding and education processes for staff. While many organizations have been utilizing online education, some were also using classroom training or train-the-trainer methods which were disrupted due to safety concerns. Social distancing requirements (and the need for a remote workforce) forced organizations to rethink their education process and utilize online tools for virtual education. However, most healthcare organizations needed something more robust than the standard webinar meeting could provide.

Conversations with many academic professional instructors revealed that virtual classrooms would require much more than the ability to share a PowerPoint deck and record the session. Today there are options available that can do much more, and organizations are realizing the far-reaching benefits (and not just during a pandemic season!)

Virtual classrooms are often tied to an online learning platform. At Atos, a social learning environment called Promise Point™ hosts the virtual classrooms. Some organizations might include a “link” to Virtual Classrooms within their own Learning Management System.

Features include automated bulk uploads of employees from an Active Directory, the ability to schedule the classroom sessions (or for students to choose the sessions that accommodate their schedules), meeting invitations sent to the user’s calendar, and reminders of an upcoming classroom session. In addition, instructors can view a pre-roster report, attendance report and score competency in their virtual classrooms.

Along with the ability to record sessions, professional instructors need unmatched content management and control of the classroom. Pre-loaded content and instructor materials that “follow” the instructor and don’t require them to search their computer or Shared Drive for files are key. Atos developed a Content Library that meets those needs, and it’s a feature not available on the popular Web-based meeting applications. Whiteboard capabilities, critical instant playback with ultra-high-quality viewing of videos, the ability for multiple presenters, and breakout rooms were top of mind when Atos gathered data for important features.

Rigorous management of the participants and presenter features were also key to providing an exceptional experience in a Virtual Classroom. With presenters having control over audio, video of the students, notation tools, and the content library, instructors are more easily able to manage their presentations without interruptions or unexpected issues during a presentation.

It can sometimes be difficult to make an online classroom engaging, so additional interactive features were added to assure that class attendees were participating and staying engaged in the class. With the ability of workflow puzzles, crosswords on terminology, screen-grabbing and control of animated simulators, students have an experience of participation throughout the presentations that out-shines the simple screen-sharing options of other training platforms. The insertion of polls or “pop quizzes” during a classroom session also support the mental engagement of the class.

These features allow the instructor to gauge the level of understanding the students are achieving throughout the virtual classroom session. Students can chat with the instructor or with the entire classroom, and conversations may be public or private. Often instructors may share their screen and walk users through an exercise. Breakout rooms allow the instructor to move participants to small groups or individual classrooms to work on a problem or exercise. The instructor’s ability to watch all screens at once (in a dashboard) assures the instructor that participants are moving along in their exercise and alerts the instructor if anyone needs assistance.

Virtual Go Live Support is also possible utilizing the same tool. While not recommended for exclusive Go Live Support, the Virtual Go Live Support can be helpful for remote, ambulatory, or smaller facilities to reduce onsite support or to provide support for demographically challenged facilities and late shift employees. Users select their role in the virtual classroom, are greeted by a moderator and then placed in a breakout room with a Go Live Support resource that is a specialist in their role and workflow to resolve the issue. Screen sharing allows the Go Live Support resource to view the issue and guide the user through to resolution, without being physically onsite.

Organizations are quickly realizing that we can work in a virtual world and it can be quite successful. While designed initially to eliminate interruptions in instructor-led classroom training and virtual go live support, due to a pandemic, organizations are now understanding the additional benefits of remote training and support. Reduced travel for instructors to ambulatory clinics or additional hospital locations is showing significant time and cost savings for instructors and students. In addition, as technology expands, instructors can make their instructor-led training sessions more engaging and provide a personal experience for each student. While the recent pandemic has caused us to think quickly out of the box, we may just find that it has enhanced our ability to deliver classroom training in new ways that can be beneficial well into the future.

About Nanette Koch

Nanette has over forty-three years of healthcare management experience, specifically in operations, education, Organizational Change Management and Project Management. Nanette has utilized her skills and entrepreneurial background to open multiple physician practices, an ambulatory surgery center, diagnostic imaging centers, and served in a leadership role for over twenty-five years in healthcare. Nanette has immense experience in business development and has provided consulting services to healthcare organizations for many years.

About Atos
Atos is a global leader in digital transformation with 120,000 employees in 73 countries and annual revenue of € 11 billion. Atos Positioned as a Leader in Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Center Outsourcing, Hybrid Infrastructure Managed Services, Managed Workplace services, Cloud, Cybersecurity and High-Performance Computing, for Both Europe and North America, the Group provides end-to-end Orchestrated Hybrid Cloud, Big Data, Business Applications and Digital Workplace solutions through its Digital Transformation Factory.

Atos has completed one of the world’s largest hybrid migration and is a leader in hybrid orchestrated cloud for third year in a row according to Gartner Magic Quadrant.

The Atos healthcare business has a vast set of core competencies including a dedicated EHR team with a tremendous amount of experience with Epic and clinical data. This is complimented by the Atos Scientific Community, a global network of 150 scientists, engineers, and industry experts, playing an integral role in defining the solutions, products and innovation we bring to the market.

Atos is a proud sponsor of Healthcare Scene.