Back to the reporting 1

I’ve some how found myself working on two big system deployments at the same time, whilst trying to project manage a third. Thankfully to the lovely people at Changing Horizon, the project I’m meant to be project managing is moving along so smoothly that I’ve been able to focus on the ones where I’m doing the development/implementation (I’ll blog about the Revalidapp at some point).

So flicking between Moodle and WIRED is a challenge – but they need to be run side by side to ensure that the benefits realised by one system can be maximised. To put this into perspective, when the VLE goes live, we’ll be completing our e-learning within the VLE, and all our classroom training attendances will be recorded on OLM. Now add into the mix that we have staff that complete specific training packages in other central LMS systems (such as IG) – we will now have at least three large data sources – all of which we need to be able to report accurately on.

One of the biggest criticisms we face is that it can take so long to produce a report on Statutory and Mandatory training compliance, that the compliance has shifted since then. When I say it takes so long, we are talking about days (possibly a week depending on the rate of return from all involved parties) – but that’s how long it takes to filter the extra information from reports, combine them into a usable format then reference this against the current TNA (which the Education Leads will try to adjust regularly to represent the organisational structure during that month. The end result is that our analyst works tirelessly to develop the compliance report, which is then immediately outdated due to e-learning completions which haven’t been manually recorded yet, or where people have completed in the past 3/4 days etc.

I wrote previously about the product developed by Skills for Health called WIRED. The system is driven by SQL and allows for the data to be sourced from a variety of reports – and it does all the hard work for you. To put this into context, my data export was 8,700 staff who had undertaken 150,000 relevant courses across 41 subjects. It took approximately four minutes to download my data sources, then about two minutes to upload them into WIRED. Finally comes the stage of executing the code to generate the report. For all of this data, it took eight minutes, forty-two seconds. So that’s under 15 minutes to generate a compliance report for the whole of the Trust. It used to take longer than this to email the spreadsheets out to the education leads – now the whole Trust can access this data without any need for any distribution plan.

So – how do you get to this stage?

The first part was to determine the TNA. For us as an organisation, this involved working out how many unique job types we had. Of our 8,600 we found we had 1,650 “unique” jobs. What this means is that we have 1,650 different job titles in different places. If we were looking for just unique job titles, it was only about 180 different job titles, however by the time we consider the context of the role, the number was far larger. In case all of this still doesn’t make sense, take the job title “Consultant” as an example. It’s a single job title, however as this job title appears across all different areas of the Trust, we need to look at it in all the different contexts – as a Consultant working in Elderly Care will have different training requirements to one in Child Health, and so on.

So, over the course of a few weeks, a wonderful colleague of mine sat down with a spreadsheet with 32 sheets, each of 1,650 rows – and she indicated for each one whether or not the position required the specific training subject. In some cases, the training is required by all staff (e.g. Fire), so this job was easy. For other subjects (e,g, Child Protection) the requirements differ based on the  working location. Once this document was then completed, this had to be mirrored into the correct TNA format for WIRED, which resulted in a 2,700 row TNA matrix. This process took a while to complete, but it was worth it as it gives a unique representation of exactly which roles require which training.

The next task was to determine how you can become compliant in each of these subjects. This again was a process which involved working through each subject, and cross-referencing our course listing/catalogue. It’s quite a straight forward task, but the end result is that you have a list of all the courses which a user can complete to be compliant in each subject. This information is then converted into an SQL format using a variety of = and LIKE statements to provide the file which determines the compliance.

Now I’ve had experience of coding, so I’m not a complete novice, but I’d never really used SQL before – however it was very easy to do to follow the required process. The best way to prove how easy it was is to highlight the fact that I wrote the code for 41 subjects in just over an hour. Given the fact that this code drives the system, I can’t post it all to the blog, but I’m happy to share it with any other WIRED users if it helps at all.

WIRED has literally transformed what was going to be a logistical reporting nightmare into a smooth process. Yes, it’s taken some work to get the files in place to allow it to work, but we are now at the stage where by we can update our compliance reports every week (we could do it more if we wanted to, but this is sufficient for us) in approximately fifteen minutes. And more important than that, our staff can access their own record to check their compliance, and our education teams and managers can access the information they all need – all using a URL from their PC!

I genuinely cannot recommend WIRED enough as a reporting tool for compliance within the NHS (and I’m sure it could be easily applied to other organisations if Skills for Health are willing to sell it to you) – but it has transformed reporting for our organisation from a labour intensive process to a simple smooth one. Now we just need to work on driving the compliance up!!

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