In preparation for an influx of intensive care unit patients due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian Department of Health worked with third-party health professional education firms to upskill nurses across the country to meet potential workforce demand.

One of these firms was Medcast, which launched two online learning programs to upskill registered nurses on critical care nursing and high dependence nursing. In the first two weeks of launch, the organisation saw enrolment from registered nurses based in metro, rural, and regional Australia hit 20,000. These courses were delivered between April to August 2020.

Medcast director Stephen Barnett attributed the organisation’s ability to launch and deliver these courses in such a short period of time to the tech overhaul the company completed five years ago.

He explained that process involved Medcast replacing disparate third-party systems, including a “very complex” in-house CRM system, with a single Salesforce platform. This also enabled the organisation to collate data that resided in various systems, including its learning management system, its website, and former CRM system, into one place.

“As we’ve really exploded our user base — we’re up to about 110,000 users now — we really just needed to understand how do we connect better with our users, how do we offer them a better service, how do we deliver the right course at the right time to the right person, and that’s where ultimately how do we oversee the source of truth across our organisation because we had a bunch of different systems,” he told ZDNet.

“So, the decision was made that Salesforce would be the single source of truth database.”

As part of its role in training nurses, Medcast was also tasked with reporting back to the Department of Health with data on participation and completion of courses based on metrics such as postcodes and regions.

“Being able to report back to health was really important … we were able to work with the department to deploy the education, to make sure that there was actually a load balance, so you know this is now going out to regional areas, this is what’s been taken up in urban and metro … that was significantly driven by the data in Salesforce,” Barnett said.

As next steps, the organisation is looking to scale its courses to help employers in hospitals, GP practices, and aged care facilities upskill their staff. It is also increasing its engagement in the research translation space, Barnett added.

“We’re working with federal and state governments and with research institutes to actually demonstrate data-driven behaviour change to optimise healthcare,” he said.

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