Lori Lahrmann-O'Hearn, RN, BSN
Leader of HealthTeamWorks' Learning Faculty

As the content developer for the organization’s care manager training program, she collaborates with others to develop in-depth curriculum for care managers and those who lead the care management function. Lori has 11 years of experience as a care manager and training care managers in face-to-face and hands-on coaching in practice transformation.

InSTEP: How is HealthTeamWorks’ learning platform, and the care manager training in particular, different from other training that care managers could get?

Lori: First, this doesn’t just hit on key concepts and move on. The training we’ve developed is comprehensive. We take participants from the most basic foundational practice transformation concepts, like empanelment, risk stratification and population health, and guide them through the learning so they can apply the concepts and customize it to their practice. We take you step-by-step through all the facets you need to consider in working with patients. And then we keep building on the foundational knowledge as you go.

InSTEP: The training is offered in different learning modes—an online, self-paced mode, virtual learning that includes live webinar-based training, or a blend—but all include feedback and activities to apply the learning. How does it work?

Lori: One of the biggest challenges in care management right now—and the reason so many practices are struggling to achieve what’s needed for population health management—is that this is a relatively new role in the primary care setting. Often, a nurse or other person in the practice is given this role without prior training. But these are skills that require not just knowledge, but a lot of practice to be truly successful. It’s a new way of working with patients.

We do face-to-face training, but most practices can’t afford for the people in these critical roles to be away for the time it takes to do face-to-face training. Plus, we’re limited in the number of topics and amount of information we can deliver in a reasonable amount of time.

To combat that, we now offer training through the HealthTeamWorks learning management system. This allows us to deliver the same level of training or better when it’s convenient for the participant. It can be delivered entirely as a self-paced, online course and it includes feedback from a HealthTeamWorks facilitator. There are approximately 30 hours of instruction for the Essentials of Care Management.

Or, for a group that wants to learn together we offer a blended model by coupling instructor-led webinars with the online courses. In these virtual sessions, activities are facilitated to enable application of learning-in-practice following assigned online course work. We also continue to offer in-person workshops as a stand-alone or with the added support of the online courses. All the options include access to the 200+ resources in the Solutions Center—templates, tools and articles, available 24/7.

InSTEP: Why is that important? What's the benefit for the learner?

Lori: The training is designed to be actionable, immediately applicable for a care manager in practice. Each module includes an activity to guide participants through the content. That enables them to critically apply what they’ve learned to their situation. (Modules are brief learning segments that are combined into a course; there are 15 courses included in the 30-hour Essentials of Care Management learning path.)

For example, in the risk stratification and empanelment course, participants are asked to assess their own practice and identify the elements that are in place, or missing, in order to do those activities. Of the pieces that are missing, we ask them to develop a plan with steps they can take to get risk stratification and empanelment started in their practice. If they can’t pull all those pieces together, we ask them to creatively brainstorm workarounds or modifications. HealthTeamWorks provides feedback and answers questions that arise from the exercise. So if someone is stumped, we can offer ideas to move them forward.

That brings in the value-add of our experience and expertise in a real-world way. It’s not the same as a preceptorship, but in the absence of a mentor relationship, this fulfills some of the need for feedback when questions arise.