On the journey from classroom to bedside, most healthcare students attend a semester or more of clinical rotations. But students can’t just register and show up. There are many, many more moving pieces for a clinical rotation than another college course. Schools need to connect with hospitals or other healthcare facilities to secure spaces for the students. Before the students can attend the clinical rotations, they need to comply with state and federal regulations on par with healthcare professionals. This creates a lot of hurdles for administrators and students before the rotation can even begin.
That’s where the clinical coordinator comes in.
A clinical coordinator works with the students, faculty, and healthcare facilities to ensure that students secure clinical placements and are compliant and ready for their first day. (Read the article we wrote last year to learn more about the challenges clinical coordinators face, here.)
The process varies from school to school and based on the requirements set by the location of clinical rotations. Despite these variations, the premise remains the same. Schools start with securing affiliation agreements to place students in clinicals.
Next, clinical coordinators ensure each student provides the proper documentation to attend a clinical. Documents include medical records, CPR certifications, facility agreements, background checks, drug screens, and potentially facility-specific documentation. (For precepted clinical experiences, there may be extra paperwork involved in the process.) These documents are received directly from a student, via email, or fax.
From here, the clinical coordinator creates Attestation Forms to provide to each clinical location, and schedules are arranged. The scheduling alone can take multiple people days to sort through. Once a student is off to their clinicals, the clinical coordinator's role shifts to maintaining the students’ credentials, tracking clinical hours of the students, and planning the next semester of placements.
The traditional method of placing students into clinical rotations creates a considerable administrative burden, potential missed deadlines, and heightened worry about cyber-security. That’s where we loop back around to the title of this article:
What is Clinical Placement Software?
In the simplest sense, Clinical Placement Software helps facilitate the placement of students into clinical rotations. When utilized by schools and hospitals, the software helps ease the administrative burden and create a more secure environment for personal information.
But how does Clinical Placement Software help facilitate clinical placements and ease the administrative burden?
Clinical Placement Software was created to specifically address the unique challenges that come from connecting and coordinating schools and healthcare facilities. It utilizes many tools for this purpose.
One of the largest time-sinks for a clinical coordinator is the wrangling of the documentation needed to place a healthcare student into a clinical. This often involves tracking down students and coordinating times to drop off documents or risk sending private data through insecure means.
To address this challenge, Clinical Placement Software typically is cloud-based, which allows for 24/7 browser-based access and secure, shared, real-time access to information and documents. Clinical coordinators don’t have to look for documents on their desk, inbox, or fax machine. Students can upload their documents anytime convenient for them, and it’s immediately available for the clinical coordinator to verify.
Last year we wrote an article examining best practices for cyber-security at colleges and universities. (You can read here). We talked in the article about the high cost when breaches occur. Ensuring the safety of students’ personal information is a primary focus for every college and university.
That’s why, with the right Clinical Placement Software comes a higher level of security. User role and permissions, two-factor authentication, and secure access to encrypted documents help secure student personal information. Keeping access gated allows for safely storing documents, schedules, and other important information. This eliminates the stress and administrative burden created from insecure shared spreadsheets, physical documents, and locally stored files.
Ensuring that everyone within the clinical placement process is on the same page can be difficult without the right tools. Often, students have to rely on email reminders from clinical coordinators to know if they are behind in their paperwork. Hospitals also rely on messages from the clinical coordinator to secure information on upcoming clinicals.
To bring everyone on the same page, dashboards are the heart of good Clinical Placement Software. They keep the user up-to-date with important information right at their fingertips. Dashboards are tailor-made for each user type, allowing only information useful to the viewer. They house notifications such as missing and expiring credentials or students still in need of verification. They also can show students, faculty, and administration clinical schedules.
Dashboard flexibility extends beyond notifications. Dashboards can provide custom reporting to faculty and administration at the schools and track affiliation agreements, student clinical locations, and students’ preceptors, among many other items.
Up to Date Tracking
One of the best ways to decrease administrative burden is to reduce the amount of time needed to collect information. Referring to multiple spreadsheets, emails, or lists to ascertain which students have and haven’t submitted their documentation, who has been verified, and when their credentials are experiencing takes time. A lot of time, in some cases.
Clinical Placement Software allows for at-a-glance tracking, so both students and administrators can stay on top of everything. Tracking extends beyond the here and now; the software tracks all information uploaded, including course history and clinical placements. The scheduling of the clinicals using a spreadsheet can be very time-consuming. Using clinical tracking software provides easy to view-schedules-and quickly shows overlaps in times/dates.
Choosing the best way to store documents is one of the most important decisions for anyone who works with private information. We addressed the different levels of document storage in our article from earlier this year (read here). In that article, we discussed closed systems, which is the category Clinical Placement Software falls under.
The most important feature of Clinical Placement Software is the ability to upload, store, and access documents from wherever, whenever. Manually collecting and safely storing documents needed for clinical placements can cause time and administrative strains. Clinical placement software allows students to upload their own documents and locks personal information behind permission-based access.
By utilizing Clinical Placement Software, colleges and universities with healthcare programs can help ensure a smooth placement of students in clinicals, semester after semester. And with the software helping to decrease administrative burden, schools are able to increase their throughput and allow more students to participate in the program without increasing cost and time to manage clinical placements.
If you want to learn more about how Clinical Placement Software can help your school, reach out to us today.