Learn about training to keep your practice staff up to date

Len Strazewski , Contributing News Writer

Private practice staffs seemingly do everything all at once. Among other things, they support physicians, manage records, welcome patients, clean examination rooms and serve on the front lines in preventing infections.

Keeping your practice open

The AMA is fighting to keep private practice a viable option for physicians. We're working to remove unnecessary burdens so physicians can reclaim the time they need to focus on patients. 

But all those responsibilities require training—first to prepare the staff for their myriad tasks and later to make sure they are meeting continuing education (CE) requirements and doing what’s needed to help deliver high-quality patient care. The training can include not just initial onboarding, but annual education as well, noted Taylor Johnson, who manages physician practice development at the AMA.

“Some of the most important considerations for training and education for staff are going to be cost and content availability,” noted Geoffrey Kass, director of Medline University, a division of Medline Industries that provides high quality, evidence-based continuing education courses at no cost to medical professionals.

“One of the great opportunities of Medline University is for your staff to have access to the clinical education they need, particularly clinicians who are required to track CE credits,” Kass said. “It’s also an opportunity for [practice leaders] to have a standardization of care practice in your facility or organization.”

Medline leaders discussed their training resources and Medline University during an AMA webinar. Medline University has more than 250 courses available, with about 160 eligible for CE credits, Kass said.

The self-paced courses allow staffers to start, stop and continue where they left off without losing their previous work—an important feature for busy practice teams.

“It’s also a great opportunity to onboard new staff and get everybody on the same playing field,” he added.

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The training course list highlighted in the webinar has been curated specially for AMA members and is a service provided to AMA members in addition to the AMA Medline Buying Program, according to Tom Balabon, national accounts director for Medline.

There is zero cost for AMA members to enroll in the Medline Buying Program and enjoy access to a hand-picked CE course list, staff training and education through Medline University as well as:

  • Up to 20% savings on all purchases.
  • Next-day delivery and low order minimums.
  • Medline’s extensive apparel program.

The curated list available to AMA members allows physicians to assign the relevant courses to staff without having to spend extra time identifying which courses meet their needs.

The Medline University platform also tracks course completions. While the curated course list is available to AMA members, the content overall is open access.  

The Medline University courses fall into three categories: clinical education to support standardization of care and provide access to CE credits; onboarding courses for new employees; and annual training to maintain skills and meet state mandates.

Onboarding courses include HIPAA training, infection control, bloodborne-pathogens control and office management classes such as sexual harassment prevention. Courses also cover case management and patient-centered care, along with health equity topics such as care for LGBTQ+ patients.

Medline University courses can also help practices attract and retain employees—particularly when CE is required—and manage change by providing consistency in training, Kass said.

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Brenda Kozak, senior clinical education specialist for Medline, noted that courses can provide insight into other topics such as health literacy and end-of-life care, which she said is needed by all staff. New topics added this year include guidance on battling the opioid epidemic, preventing nurse burnout, and preventing workplace violence, she said.

Medline University also offers 10 “microlearning” opportunities—10-to-15-minute courses that are optimized for mobile devices to establish a concise and accelerated learning experience, she said.

Medline University has partnered with several leading industry organizations, including the California and Florida state nursing boards, American Medical Certification Association, National Association of Long-Term Care Administrator Boards, as well as organizations supporting laboratory technicians and respiratory therapists.

It takes astute clinical judgment as well as a commitment to collaboration and solving challenging problems to succeed in independent settings that are often fluid, and the AMA offers the resources and support physicians need to both start and sustain success in private practice.

Find out more about the AMA Private Practice Physicians Section, which seeks to preserve the freedom, independence and integrity of private practice.