Career College Management Software for Allied Health Colleges
Career college management software for allied health colleges helps automate externship attendance, prepare for audits, boost retention, and better engage online students.
Allied health is the fastest-growing field in our workforce, projected to grow 15 percent from 2019 to 2029, adding 2.4 million jobs. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this trend even further, with nursing school applications on the rise.
Allied Health colleges train students using cutting-edge technology like VR and simulations and pioneered the shift to online learning by offering continuing education like RN to BSN programs for students who already understand direct patient care fundamentals. Unfortunately, schools across the country have yet to embrace technology within their own back office.
Why allied health colleges should digitize academics, attendance, and compliance
Most allied health schools already use a student information system to house student data and a content management system to publish readings, videos, discussion boards, and other learning materials. Both are highly valuable to allied health colleges, but they still rely on manual data entry. They simply do not solve all the problems that allied health registrars and externship coordinators face. To ensure back-office operations are running smoothly, allied health colleges must leverage software that integrates with both the SIS and CMS, automating back-office tasks and bridging the gap between the two systems.
CourseKey’s career college management software empowers allied health institutions to know which students are absent in real-time, relieve staff of time-consuming manual attendance management, take a proactive approach to retention, and detect compliance issues before they become problematic. Plus, with CourseKey’s suite of engagement and assessment tools, allied health colleges can conduct engaging online courses.
CourseKey’s software for allied health colleges improves engagement, attendance, retention, and compliance. Read on to learn how.
Engagement software for allied health colleges
Most allied health colleges evaluate student skill development using paper-based observational assessments. However, through CourseKey’s digital assessments, instructors can enter observational assessment results in real-time as students go through their evaluation. Instead of checking skills off on a list and making notes on paper that must be entered into the SIS later, instructors check skills off on a tablet. Evaluation data is automatically uploaded into the SIS and students receive instant feedback.
In an online setting, it can be challenging to ensure that students are engaged, which is problematic because student engagement directly impacts attendance, retention, and compliance. Students are more likely to attend and succeed if they are in an engaging and supportive learning environment. Allied health colleges pioneered online learning, and many are doing so using engagement and assessment tools from CourseKey.
Using CourseKey, allied health colleges can:
- Connect students with their classmates in real-time using chatroom-style discussions. Students get notified when their peers engage in the chat, giving them the opportunity to discuss the material, ask questions, and build a supportive learning community. Without a real-time communications platform, students post on discussion boards independently and hold a conversation over several days, missing out on the active discussion they would have in a classroom setting.
- Connect with instructors through direct messaging. Gone are the days of waiting for a busy instructor to respond to an email. Instead, instructors have a unique inbox for student communications. They can quickly address questions to ensure students have everything they need to complete assignments on time.
- Deliver spot check polls during online, synchronous learning to check for understanding and refocus students on the lesson.
- Deliver auto-graded assessments so students can instantly understand which concepts they have mastered and which concepts they need to review. Students enjoy auto-graded assessments because they no longer have to wait for busy instructors to return graded assessments, sometimes weeks later.
Attendance software for allied health colleges
Despite quickly adopting advanced learning technology, many allied health schools still rely on manual data entry to transfer attendance data into the SIS. Manually collecting and entering attendance data in online and on-ground courses is already time-consuming and challenging. Allied health colleges have the added difficulty of collecting externship and clinical attendance data.
Attendance software for allied health externships and clinicals
When a student moves from an on-ground or online course to an externship or clinical setting, administrators lose visibility into the student’s attendance. Some allied health schools must wait weeks to receive attendance data via snail mail. Others collect self-reported attendance sheets from students and verify the data with a phone call to site preceptors. Site preceptors must sort through their records, sometimes weeks later, to verify the data. Administrators walk a fine line: Too much back and forth can endanger a school’s relationship with an externship site, but inaccurate attendance data puts funding and accreditation at risk.
Using CourseKey’s GPS attendance system, externship coordinators know precisely which site a student has checked into how long they’ve spent there by geofencing an entire externship site or a single room. Students can only check in once they are within the geofence, and the data is automatically transferred to the SIS. Clinical and externship coordinators can confirm if students have shown up to their sites through real-time attendance dashboards without calling the site. When students complete clinical or externship hours, they can check out through the CourseKey app, automatically sending a record of hours to both the externship coordinator and site supervisor for review.
Retention software for allied health colleges
When administrators have access to accurate, real-time attendance dashboards, they can take a proactive approach to retention. However, with paper timesheets and manual data entry, administrators don’t know that a student has been absent until at least a week after the absence occurred. If students unknowingly fall behind in their externship hours, they get dropped from the program without allowing externship coordinators the chance to intervene and bring the student back on track.
With real-time visibility into student externship hours through digital attendance dashboards, externship coordinators can reach out to absent students as soon as the absence occurs. Administrators can quickly inform at-risk students that the program will drop them if they do not complete a certain number of hours.
By improving retention rates, allied health colleges help more students achieve their goals of becoming healthcare professionals and access additional tuition dollars to invest in initiatives like hiring, expansion, infrastructure, and more.
Compliance software for allied health colleges
Engagement, attendance, and retention all impact compliance—one of the most critical metrics for administrators. To remain compliant, administrators must maintain accurate, verifiable records of all student and course time. When attendance is tracked on paper and manually entered into the SIS, it is prone to human error.
CourseKey consolidates attendance data from all learning environments—online, on-ground, and externships—into one location, giving administrators access to real-time data that is verifiable down to the second. Student dashboards with exportable reports make it easy to prove processes and share records with accreditors without digging through boxes of paper files. In advance of audits, attendance dashboards give administrators a clear view of LDA, streamlining the return to Title IV process.
When compliance leaders have real-time attendance and course data, they can also take a proactive approach to compliance by examining behavioral data. For example, if an instructor regularly begins class late or ends class early, administrators can fix the issue before external audits occur.
The impact of compliance software for allied health colleges: a real-world example
At Unitek, a private, ACCSC accredited allied health institution in Northern California, by the time administrators were aware that a student didn’t show up, the 14-day reporting window had come and gone. Inaccurate attendance data led to a 55% error rate on their return to Title IV, which led to a finding from the Department of Education. Unitek was at risk of losing its Title IV funding eligibility, jeopardizing accreditation, state board approvals, access to Title IV assistance programs, and other funds. Inaccurate attendance data and delayed reporting was especially problematic in Unitek externship and clinical sites.
After receiving a finding, Unitek partnered with CourseKey to fix its attendance problem and improve compliance. With CourseKey, Unitek had a real-time view of absent students, giving administrators the ability to instantly determine LDA and start return to Title IV processes early. Successful on-time return to Title IV funds significantly improved Unitek’s cash flow management.
Software that empowers allied health colleges
If you’d like to learn more about how CourseKey can streamline your allied health institute’s operations, request a demo at the form below.