How To Digitize and Automate Your Competency Assessment Program

By Matt Swanson, Director of Operations, BS, MLS(ASCP), CLSSBB

July 18, 2022

On June 21, 2022, StaffReady hosted a webinar on Automating CAP and CLIA Requirements in the Lab. Out of that webinar came several wide-ranging questions on the capability of StaffReady’s Competency module. For this month’s blog article, we’re taking a deeper dive into the StaffReady Competency module and uncovering some of its capabilities.

Navigating Assessments

In some healthcare vocations – namely the Laboratory – the specific regulations regarding competency assessment can create a paperwork nightmare. Laboratory competency assessments for each test system must be performed initially, at 6 months, at one year, and annually thereafter. There are 6 required assessment methods for each test system.

If a CLS (Clinical Laboratory Scientist) in the laboratory performs testing in ten separate test systems, that totals 180 graded assessment documents in the first year of employment. For the employee with five years on the job, that’s a total of 420 assessments. For a department with 20 employees, the burden rises to a mind-boggling 8400 assessments. The likelihood of failure with this sort of data burden in a paper system is unacceptably high.

While the same regulatory requirements may not exist in other fields, competency assessment is nonetheless a topic of considerable conversation in Pharmacy, Radiology, Nursing, and other departments. Staff competencies are proven to drive quality outcomes in patient care. StaffReady automates the rollout, assignment, and grading of assessments, relieving the management burden of constantly tracking assessments for new and existing staff.


Many of the time-consuming activities associated with competency assessments are automated in StaffReady.


Another aspect of automation within the StaffReady Competency module is the grading of assessments. Four document types are offered: Exam, Blind Duplicate, Remedial Exam, and Graded Exam. Of those, answers to the first three are scored automatically, and no further input is required. Staff get an immediate score once these types of assessments are completed.

The fourth type, Graded Exam, is used for those situations where human judgment is required to assess text-based answers. Perfect for questions like, “Name the location of the chemical shower in the Hematology laboratory,” or “Name an engineering control in the IV cleanroom.”

StaffReady also allows for the assignment of “Qualified Persons” to perform direct observations and sign off on assessments.

Exam Failure and Remediation

When a staff member fails an assessment, you can choose to assign one of two remediation activities. The first is to automatically retake the exam.  The second is to have a supervisor-initiated observation of the employee performed by a qualified person.  

Staff management software is the ultimate tool for attracting and retaining a quality workforce. Discover how StaffReady's suite of solutions can help you today: 

Remediation activity is easily configured in the StaffReady Competency module, based on your business need. Once completed, the software takes care of the heavy lifting for you, saving supervisors and qualified persons valuable time.

Data Management

StaffReady’s Dashboard provides the administrative user and qualified staff immediate feedback on the progress of competency assessments. Multiple filtering options for Competency assessments and more are at the Admin’s fingertips.

Additionally, lab directors and management at the local and/or health system levels have visibility into the current status of their competency assessment programs. Historical assessment information is stored and maintained in StaffReady, making it easy to locate past assessment data for current and/or past employees.

Significant Impact

The cumulative impact of these features is substantial. Managers and supervisors can rely on a secure platform that lessens the busy work of assessments, improves their effectiveness, and allows more time for patient care activities.  StaffReady provides the framework for regulatory success and aids in standardizing operations between departments and within a health system.

Staff management software is the ultimate tool for attracting and retaining a quality workforce. Discover how StaffReady's suite of solutions can help you today: 

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Matt Swanson, Director of Operations, BS, MLS(ASCP), CLSSBB

Matt Swanson is the Director of Operations at StaffReady. He came to StaffReady with 29 years of experience in the clinical laboratory, with roles varying from Bench Tech to Operations Management to Consultant to Business Intelligence Analyst.  He became a Certified Lean Six-Sigma Black Belt in 2017. Find Matt on LinkedIn.