Advice and best practices for writing SOPs, training for product launch, outsourcing technical documentation, and more.

Why Process Documentation Matters – Preventing Protocol Lapse

Today we are featuring the final piece of our interview with Jeff Denmark. He assesses a case that exemplifies the importance of effective training programs.

Jeff Denmark, an Instructional Designer at Novatek, has developed training for salespeople and end users in a variety of industries. Over the last 22 years, he has helped create and implement training curriculum, both instructor-led and web-based. Here is his advice for developing the most effective product and equipment training programs:

Implemented protocols are meant to keep a company, its employees, and its customers safe. Manufacturing companies in regulated industries are familiar with mandatory protocols and the training required to ensure adherence. When a company experiences a lapse in protocol or improper product use, it can expose them to quality defects, product recalls, or litigation.

In 2013, Lebanon County in Pennsylvania encountered a protocol lapse in one of their hospital laboratories, due to the improper use of a medical device. The laboratory tests were not conducted in accordance with the product operating manual, and as a result, improper lab testing has opened up the county to the threat of nearly 1000 overturned DUI cases, and resulting lawsuits.documentation-preventing-protocol-lapse

Instances like these can occur from training gaps and missing steps in medical device usage opens up myriad risks. Unfortunately, public news like this can be hard to recover from, for the hospital, lab, and medical device company.

Prevention pays off. To avoid costly mistakes and ensure your training is as effective as possible:

  • Follow up on training – as time goes on, monitor employees in the field and correct mistakes immediately.
  • Collect information and report back – if mistakes are reoccurring, address the issue with training and job aids.
  • Emphasize the learning gap and fix it – provide employees with reference materials, checklists, and resources to reinforce their learning.

As an Instructional Designer, Jeff is often involved in the training process from beginning to end – creating the documentation then implementing it. However, he reiterates that it's up to the company to ensure that the training program stays up-to-date and useful. When it becomes out-of-date or obsolete, it’s time to notify an Instructional Designer to make updates.

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Topics: training solutions, documentation