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What's the Problem with YouTube for Compliance Trainings? Its Free!

From Print Issue- Fall 2023
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In short, you get what you pay for. While YouTube has become a go-to resource for tutorials, entertainment, and educational content — all of which are indeed free — finding healthcare compliance training you can trust is a whole other ballgame. Hira Rashid, Ph.D., Senior Learning Program Manager of MedTrainer, says training programs will continue to face increasing scrutiny from regulatory and accrediting agencies, requiring that courses be taken through approved providers, are interactive with multimedia, are ADA-WCAG compliant, and in some instances, must incorporate learning formats such as scenario-based learning. These specifications will also drive and impact the standards for Arizona healthcare professionals wanting to obtain or maintain licensure.


YouTube: To Use or Not To Use

With all of these considerations in mind, below are 13 reasons why using YouTube for compliance training is, in fact, a problem.

  • Inaccurate or Outdated Information: YouTube is a user-generated platform, and the accuracy of content varies from one creator to the next. Healthcare compliance requires up-to-date and accurate information aligned with current regulations, which cannot be guaranteed on YouTube.

  • Lack of Verification: Unlike platforms that provide accredited courses, like MedTrainer, YouTube lacks a stringent verification process for content creators. This absence of vetting can result in unreliable or biased information being presented as fact — a big no-no in healthcare.

  • Non-compliance With Regulations: Relying on YouTube for training makes it impossible to ensure adherence to compliance regulations, potentially leading to legal and ethical issues. Unwittingly sharing non-compliant YouTube videos as so-called training videos, puts you, your staff, and facility at risk.

  • Privacy Concerns: As a covered healthcare entity, you could breach HIPAA Privacy and Security rules, whether you intended to or not. For example, there's protected health information (PHI) in the video you've instructed staff to watch. You are just as liable for the HIPAA violation as the random — sometimes anonymous — original content creator.

  • Limited Interactivity: Effective compliance training increasingly requires interactive elements like quizzes, case studies, and discussions. YouTube's one way communication model doesn't provide the necessary tools for robust interaction or evaluation.

  • No Tracking or Reporting: While monitoring progress and assessing the effectiveness of training programs is crucial in healthcare compliance, there is absolutely no way to confirm whether or not a staff member actually watched a “training” video on YouTube. The platform lacks the tracking and reporting features necessary to measure trainees' comprehension and progress. If a healthcare inspector asks you to prove who has taken certain courses, YouTube will leave you empty-handed.

  • Time Consuming: If you’re using YouTube for training, you’re not only spending time searching for a course, but also vetting the material by comparing its content to current regulatory standards and requirements, then perhaps sending emails to all staff with the video attached. A few email reminders later, you’re waiting on their reply that it’s been viewed (so you hope). If you’re really on top of things, you’ll also have to manually record who self-reported that they completed the training — perhaps on paper or an Excel spreadsheet. That’s a whole lot of back-and-forth and time wasted.

  • Unregulated Comments and Trolls: YouTube's comment sections are unregulated. This leaves the door open for your staff to be exposed to and distracted by spam, inappropriate links, commentary from disgruntled people that have nothing to do with your practice or training initiatives, uninformed opinions left by anyone, etc.

  • Variable Video Quality: Video and sound quality on YouTube can fluctuate, affecting the trainees' reception of essential details in training materials. Poor video quality can create disinterest and increased likelihood that your staff will not watch it in full.

  • Distractions and Interruptions: YouTube's algorithm often suggests unrelated or irrelevant content and frequent advertisement interruptions, leading to distractions during critical training sessions. These annoyances can hinder the learning process, resulting in poor knowledge retention and time wasted.

  • Videos Disappear: YouTube channels and their creators have the liberty of deleting videos anytime they wish for any reason. This means that if you or staff need to reference the training video for a refresher or clarification on a particular point, it’s quite possible it will have been deleted. You’ll have to start from scratch searching for a new video and hope that the original video you sourced for training wasn’t deleted due to misinformation. Eek!

  • Diversity Limitations: It’s important that every training, not just diversity-specific courses, reflect diversity and inclusion. The course content itself, whether it’s HIPAA, OSHA, or other, should convey inclusion via the manner in which the training is delivered, the instructors, the images used in the training, the language, examples provided in the course, case studies, and more. YouTube’s training content on compliance is often outdated and not properly vetted for implicit biases.

  • Lacks Multi-Functionality: If you’re using YouTube for staff training, you’re missing out on other functionalities invaluable to maintaining compliance. Comprehensive tracking and reporting, automated staff reminders, status updates, certificates of completion, and onboarding paths with course curriculums auto-assigned in bulk by role are just some of what YouTube does not offer. An all-in-one platform that covers all your compliance needs, from learning and documentation to credentialing, can save you a lot of time, money, and a few headaches.


If Not YouTube, Then What?

So, while YouTube might seem like a convenient option for training on topics like HIPAA, OSHA best practices, workplace violence/sexual harassment, and so on, is it really worth risking non-compliance and losing everything you’ve worked for? Take the smarter route, and join the majority of healthcare organizations who use a quality learning management system for workplace education and compliance needs — one that is approved, unbiased, up-to-date, includes CE qualified courses, and meets the ever-evolving regulatory standards necessary to maintain a thriving practice. 


About the Author

Amber Ratcliffe, MS, LPC, ATR-BC, RPT, combines over a decade of experience in a variety of medical settings as a mental health counselor, along with her love of research, writing, and creativity, to share unique perspectives on healthcare compliance. Amber is the Content Specialist at MedTrainer, North America’s health-tech leader providing an all-in-one compliance platform that accelerates education, credentialing, learning, and documentation. Amber also operates a remote private mental health practice in Colorado.

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