HEALTHCARE ENTERPRISE: Continuing Education: Is There an App for That?


HEALTHCARE ENTERPRISE: Continuing Education: Is There an App for That? | Cross Country Education, CCE, continuing education, recertification, apps, e-learning, Greg Green, Leah Curtin, professional education

An application for your smartphone could turn potentially wasted hours in the workday — sitting at airports or waiting for appointments — into continuing education credits and a chance to complete courses required for professional recertification.

This is the next frontier in education — to provide content in the most convenient method wherever the student is,” said Greg Green, president of Cross Country Education LLC of Brentwood.

 “Webscasting is already available through mobile apps, and soon we will unveil our innovative mobile app that will make recertification seminars even more accessible.”

From audiologists to zoologists, regular recertification and continuing education are a requirement and professional responsibility. Finding the time to complete the necessary work on this certification, however, is an important but frustrating challenge for many professionals.

Cross Country Education (CCE), a national leader in educational seminars for professionals in healthcare and other occupations, is developing new tools for continuing education that will enable participants to receive necessary information in the time they have … and even in the time they have to wait. The company uses their expertise in distance learning and online education to design programs to improve performance and increase efficiency in all areas of clinical, financial and operational management.

CCE offers healthcare professionals — especially psychologists, counselors, therapists, nurses and social workers — the opportunity to complete training and testing online through a secure server. Company seminars target nurses, nurse practitioners, physical therapists, occupational therapists, long-term caregivers, physician assistants, audiologists, speech language pathologists, social workers, counselors, care managers and dentists.

Last month, CCE announced a partnership with Centerstone, the nation’s largest not-for-profit provider of community-based behavioral healthcare, to offer education and professional development services for the company. "Healthcare is a dynamic and ever-evolving industry," said Debbie Cagle, CEO of Advantage Behavioral Health, the administrative management arm of Centerstone. "Continuing education and training are essential to Centerstone's ability to provide progressive, effective care to our clients and an important component of our ongoing staff development efforts.”

Since 1995, CCE has provided regulatory and clinical skill-based continuing education seminars and professional development to more than 1.5 million healthcare professionals through live, audio and online sessions.

Green said the company prides itself on producing relevant and practical programming covering more than 200 unique topics, which is shared in more than 5,500 seminars annually in cities across the United States. “We are offering more than 200 different speakers on any given day,” Green said.

Originally started by the Kaye family in 1995, CCE was subsequently acquired in 2000 by a public company seeking to add a continuing education component with expertise in the healthcare field to its mix. With the growth of e-learning, the company has begun to offer webcasts of seminars, which can be watched live or rebroadcast and available on demand.

Green commented, “The great thing about the online method of viewing an actual seminar is that the typical course can be presented in 60-to-90 minute segments to fit more easily into a participant’s schedule.”

Green feels that e-learning is a “huge new growth area for the company.” He noted, “There are 3 million nurses in this country, and the pressure is on to see how they are going to obtain their required certification and from whom.”

Green added, “Many employers offer in-house training so we market our seminars and training webcasts to employers, as well as individuals. Professionals are required to keep up with continuing education, especially in the constantly evolving fields of healthcare and accounting. “Any time a regulation changes, there is pressure to educate professionals about the nuances and implications of the change,” he observed. “We have to find the individual who can explain changes, and our goal is to find the people who are staying on top of the most relevant topics to teach new information.”

Green continued, “We can offer programs designed to meet a company’s specific needs by offering cost-effective, customizable and convenient in-house learning opportunities. All the HR department has to do is simply choose the topic and date, and CCE will arrange for a certified speaker to deliver valuable continuing education content at your own facility.”

The majority of the seminar offerings are taught by national experts in the field, who contact CCE. “They find us personally or through our website,” Green noted. “For instance, someone will say, ‘I have experience and expertise on infection control, and I’d like to develop a presentation that would be useful to staff members who are dealing with this issue,’” he explained.

Some recent seminar topics have included vestibular rehabilitation evaluation and management, getting ready to deal with baby boomers, dementia management, coding and billing, building therapy caseloads, and applied ethics and boundaries.

Green pointed out that, regardless of the size of the company or the number of participants in a seminar, planning and conducting a meeting can be time consuming and stressful to managers. Many companies call on CCE for program development, speaker selection, marketing and promotion, travel arrangements and management of continuing education paperwork.

As an example of creative and useful seminar content, Green cited a program called “Nurse Manager Boot Camp,” designed by Leah Curtin, who Green called an American Academy of Nursing “living legend.” Curtin developed an onsite, immersion-based, training course with topics including Human Capital Management (interviewing, performance improvement, motivation and morale), Leadership (coaching and mentoring), Financial Management (budgeting, staffing and scheduling), Culture and Organization (accreditation, surveys, conflict management) and Career and Self Development (making the most of time, transitions from staff nurse to nurse manager). The goal is to transform nurses into more effective and successful nurse managers.

No doubt, there will soon be an app for that.