The company, a full-service air ambulance provider that serves more than 30,000 patients each year, needs to ensure that its employees - nurses, paramedics, respiratory technicians and pilots - are not only current on their mandatory certification training, but also have the opportunity to increase their skills with programs that incorporate industry-wide best practices. Up until a couple years ago, that meant training coordinators assigned to each state had to travel extensively to run face-to-face sessions; in addition, employees sometimes had to travel up to three or four hours - on the company's dime - to attend a class. The situation was costing PHI Air Medical time and money.
Mike Harmon, PHI Air Medical's Manager of Clinical Education Standards, began looking at learning management systems as a possible way to provide web-based training for the company's geographically diverse staff.
Among the elearning software he looked at was Ziiva's Prosperity Corporate LMS, which had the features he needed - SCORM compliant, able to run detailed reports, strong customer support - at a very competitive price. "I was looking for something I could sell to administration," Harmon said. "Not knowing how much we would be able to save from an LMS, cost was a factor."
Since implementing Prosperity - first for medical staff, and then for pilots - PHI Air Medical has saved between $300,000 and $400,000 in training-related costs while increasing employee development opportunities available to its staff. The company also has been able to cut three days from what was once was a two-week, on-site new employee training program in Phoenix, which provides additional ongoing savings.
Harmon now has more than 125 courses available online through Prosperity - 13 recurring courses that employees take annually to maintain certification, 24 more courses specifically for new hires and many more for continuing education.
Harmon is also pleased with Ziiva's reporting capabilities and ability to randomize tests, which makes it easier for the company to maintain its certification from the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Services (CAMTS).
Because of the nature of its business, PHI Air Medical still conducts some site-based training, but the company has been able to maximize the face-to-face sessions by having staff do much of the prep work online. "Adult education in the medical world is scenario-based problem solving," Harmon explained. "We use Ziiva to build base-level knowledge before (the site-based training) so trainers get to spend more time on problem-solving and critical-thinking programs."
The ease and availability of online learning has also allowed the company to provide remedial education for employees who may have previously been fired because it was cost-prohibitive to send them away for individual employee training.
Although Prosperity has its own course-creation program, Harmon was more familiar creating modules using Microsoft PowerPoint and Adobe Articulate, which Ziiva's learning management system can easily accommodate. He's uploaded a number of new and existing courses that way, as well as some training videos.
Now he's looking at using Prosperity's own tools for expanding the company's online offerings, including higher-level learning, more interactive courses and more. Harmon admits that, as satisfied as he is with Prosperity, he's still only scratching the surface of what it can do.
Overall, employee feedback has been positive.
"Pretty much every course they do has a course evaluation," Harmon said. "We've probably had between 80 and 90 percent approval - fours and fives (on a five-point scale) and even the watercooler talk about it is generally pretty positive."
Things have gone so well, in fact, that PHI Air Medical's parent company replaced the LMS it was using for a larger subsidiary that provides helicopter transport for the offshore oil and gas industry with Ziiva's system. In all, PHI, Inc., has about 2,600 employees.
Down the road, Harmon is looking at making some computer-based training available at a nominal fee to local fire departments and ambulance companies in areas served by PHI Air Medical. The courses can be used by these organizations for employee certification.
When asked what he liked best about Prosperity, Harmon said the price and the ability the software gave him to "advance education opportunities and knowledge level of my staff."