Wisconsin hospital uses audience response system to train staff, streamline budgeting

By Diana Manos
10:55 AM

St. Mary's Hospital, a 440-bed acute care facility in Madison, Wis., is using an audience response system to help make training more interactive and to help ease the annual budgeting process.

Steve King, organizational development manager at St. Mary's Hospital, says the facility adopted Youngstown, Ohio-based Turning Technologies’ TurningPoint audience response system two years ago to make training presentations more interesting to the staff.

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“It makes our presentations and lectures more interactive and allows us to poll the audience,” King says. “We use it for a lot of different reasons – to see if they understand, to get their opinions about a certain thing.”

King explains the hospital uses audience response mainly in training staff, but it is also useful during the budgeting process. The tool allows each member of the budget committee to rank projects, and gives the committee a chance to vote based on a number of criteria.

“It helps feed into their process,” he says. “Before using the audience response system, it was a very manual process where they wrote down reactions and dealt with things one-on-one with no consistent or quantifiable way to rank the projects.”

The hospital has used the system to hone staff on the technical skills of clinical practice, teach a healthy conversations class and dozens of other classes. More recently, the hospital has used it to get feedback from the nursing staff, King says.

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The hospital initially invested $5,000 in the TurningPoint system, but later expanded the system for a total of $10,000. “We have no trouble getting the hospital [leadership] to spend that," says King. "We piloted it, and they saw the value."

King says he expects other hospitals in St. Mary’s healthcare system, Sisters of Saint Mary, may also adopt the audience response system.

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