Best Practice Winner: Johns Hopkins Medicine

Best Practice Awards,

We recently announced the 2023 PAC Best Practice Award Winners. This award recognizes members who have developed and implemented advances in patient access based on innovative approaches to the timely delivery of convenient, patient-centric care in the ambulatory enterprise of our organizations.

Now, we're taking a closer look at the best practices that won. This week we're spotlighting Johns Hopkins Medicine's best practice: "Developing Leaders in a Virtual Environment: Moving Johns Hopkins Leadership Academy Online"

Developing Leaders in a Virtual Environment: Moving Johns Hopkins Leadership Academy Online

Todd and ErinLed by Todd Frady, MS, MSSI, SHRM-SCP, HCS, Director, Patient Access Talent Management, Quality and Training; and Erin Payton Pritchard, Senior Trainer & Instructional Designer

In March 2023, Johns Hopkins Medicine Patient Access’s Leadership Academy completed its 5th cohort since it began in 2018. It was originally designed to be a 12-month in-person leadership development experience for front-line employees in our Patient Access Call Center, aiding in the retention and development of promising agents and supervisors. Sessions included DISC, coaching, personal branding, supervisory skills, employee engagement, change management, interviewing and hiring skills, and others. Since its inception, we’ve expanded to include ambulatory clinic staff and it has been spun off to another area within Johns Hopkins University. However, in 2020 we paused our program temporarily, leaving one cohort half-finished and another cohort literally on the eve of starting, due to the pandemic and many jobs becoming remote. After 2 years and numerous staffing challenges, our latest cohort moved entirely online and we held sessions twice a month, after hours from 5:15-7:15pm, using both Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Participation was the highest yet (48 began in April 2022, and 34 finished in March 2023). Interactive sessions were taught internally by multiple Johns Hopkins staff via Zoom, with breakout rooms, activities, and lectures to get real-world experiences and dialogue from our participants. The virtual program itself was administered via Microsoft Teams, which tracked participant progress, included links to all of the recorded sessions, provided additional resources for each session (like PowerPoint slides and worksheets), and also included a chat to communicate with participants and homework assignments for a more reflective, hands-on experience and a deeper dive between sessions. Each session (twice a month) had a presenter and a facilitator to encourage class discussion and interaction.

Measurable: The metric used to provide evidence the program was effective was both retention (participants stayed within Hopkins and completed each session) and promotion. In all of the cohorts, 91% of participants completed all of the sessions and 85% stayed either within Patient Access or within Hopkins at large. The promotion rate was 31% (and our original goal was 10% of participants were promoted within 12 months of graduation).

Replicable: The virtual component of Leadership Academy was created using Microsoft Teams. Assignments were created in-house and were tied to OneNote that students could submit, allowing for reflective feedback; these are simple to replicate. Recorded sessions are comprised of lectures, slides, and activities that are captured in lesson plans that could be shared. While administering Leadership Academy virtually can be somewhat time-consuming (especially for more than 20-25 participants whose attendance, assignments, and participants must be tracked—and we started Cohort 5 with 48), the Microsoft Team structure could be replicated and shared rather easily now that the architecture has been developed and built.

Value: After 5 cohorts, the value has proved demonstrable to both participants, graduates, and supervisors/administrators. Leadership Academy develops the best of the best at Johns Hopkins and has expanded to multiple areas of the hospital that want to develop their mostly front-line staff. Those participants are recognized for their talent by supervisors and often promoted in-house (again, at a 30% promotion rate), keeping that talent internal and reducing turnover. Graduates share what sessions were most impactful in a qualitative survey at the end of the cohort, which lets the leadership team know what areas should be promoted and developed more fully and which sessions are seen as most valuable by participants. Participants also share how Leadership Academy has changed the way they see themselves as leaders. Most notably, participants are nominated by leaders and are often NOT in current positions of management, so they don’t always realize or appreciate their own potential until they go through their cohort. We often feel we’re identifying non-traditional leaders who just need that next push to identify those leadership talents. Leadership Academy has become an integral part of the Johns Hopkins Patient Access Talent Development program. And from a post-COVID standpoint, with most of the staff going fully remote, we did not have a way to complete our in-person Cohort 4 and start our next cohort in person at the time. Microsoft Teams and Zoom allowed us to develop more leaders in a more flexible time frame (after hours) that could not have been accommodated in person. We were able to complete the second half of Cohort 4 virtually (that re-started in May 2021, more than a year after it was interrupted), giving us a good template for developing Cohort 5, which was delivered completely remotely.

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