Reimagining How Education is Delivered

The beginning of a new year is always a good time to reflect on where you’ve been over the last year and consider where you want to go in the following year. I’m sure many of you, similar to our team at EIM, is in the process of digesting your company’s business game plan for the upcoming year so you can see how you best fit into making that plan come alive. After all, although there are many reasons we work for a certain employer, most of us desire more than anything to be on a team that’s accomplishing meaningful work and making a difference. So for starters, I hope that’s the case for each of you. If you’re not on a team where it feels like you’re making a difference, I would encourage you to be part of the solution and figure out how you can make a difference or consider making a change in 2018. Life is too short to do otherwise.

A couple of years ago, I posted some new year resolutions on a more personal level. Most, if not all of these, stand the test of time so I don’t feel the need to put together another personal list. Instead, I’d like to take the chance at the beginning of this year to share some thoughts on where we’ve been at EIM and where we’re going over the next several years. As most of our EIM family knows well, we’ve been focused for the last 15 years building post-professional Continuing Education, Certification, Residency, and Fellowship programs. We’ve had our longstanding and highly popular Executive Program in Private Practice Management and Post-professional DPT. Each of these programs features a hybrid learning model that allows busy clinicians to work full-time and still avail themselves to deep, lifelong learning that can improve outcomes for their patients and help better manage their practice. We’ve long since expanded away from a purely Manual Therapy/Orthopaedic focus and now have either established or developing Residency programs in the area of Neurologic, Geriatric, and Pediatric Physical Therapy. We have Certification programs ranging from Concussion to Hand Therapy to Pelvic Health. We’ve expanded outside of Physical Therapy and now offer a Post-professional OTD for Occupational Therapists since they too are transitioning to the doctoral degree as the entry-level standard. Through partnerships with ISPI and KinetaCore, we are heavily focused on providing Certifications and Continuing Education in the area of Pain Sciences and Dry Needling.

In 2018, we will continue to build out more new courses and programs and improve existing programs for already licensed therapists. However, one of the major areas of growth will be expanding our partnerships with colleges and universities in developing and launching “pre-licensure” graduate programs in an accelerated, hybrid model. Regardless of what you think about tuition, it’s either going to burst or slowly leak over the next 20 years. Lower tuition is coming. Nevertheless, the huge demand for physical therapy services over the next 20 years is not being met with the number of Physical Therapists needed. Quite simply, demand is outpacing supply and projected to do so for the foreseeable future. This is evidenced by the fact you practically need a 3.7 GPA and above to get into most programs, which is a travesty for attracting the most diverse, gritty, empathetic, and emotionally intelligent to our profession. “Brainiacs” will pass the licensure exam but don’t always possess the noncognitive skills needed for long-term success. Shorter and less expensive physical therapy education built to power a re-designed health care system focused on value is coming and is here to stay. Our future at EIM in no small part is to be part of this solution by reimagining how healthcare education is delivered to increase access, reduce student debt, and improve outcomes. We seek to redesign graduate Physical Therapy education for the next generation learner who seeks more flexibility and better value whether that be at the DPT or terminal doctorate (DSc, PhD, etc.) level. We also see huge potential in other health professions (ie, Occupational Therapy, PA, etc.) with a similar value proposition as Physical Therapy. In other words, health professions integral to re-designing a more cost-effective health care system that rewards delivering value over invasive procedures like drugs, surgery, and imaging are ripe for educational disruption. One only has to look at the opioid crisis as the penultimate signal that things can’t get much worse. The success of our 2-year hybrid DPT partnerships with South College and Baylor University provides a not so subtle hint that more is still to come. Other companies like 2U and Noodle Partners are talking to virtually every top 25 DPT program in the country who is, at some stage or another, considering hybrid alternatives to their current residential models. We think that bodes extremely well for our profession’s future and that of other health professions who adopt more flexible, accelerated, hybrid educational models.

Quite simply, we need more programs recruiting students at scale and delivering more value. Hybrid and accelerated is one way to do just that. If you don’t like that model, then design something better. We need far more innovation in how education is delivered. The days of launching traditional residential programs with class sizes of 30-40 will come to an abrupt end. In fact, we will see a significant contraction in the number of programs over the next 10 years who are unable to adapt to this new environment. Given the large applicant pool relative to supply, it’s incredibly tempting to sit on your kiester and do nothing. However, those who do, do so at their own peril. I take no pride in seeing this happen, but change is coming and here to stay. On a brighter note, all of this change towards more hybrid learning also demands the need to train existing and new faculty in how to teach in a hybrid environment. We’re excited to announce the launch of a Hybrid Learning Certification at EIM to prepare faculty in this new and changing environment. We will have more information on the website available soon, but for now, reach out to Dr. Mark Shepherd at [email protected] with questions regarding the Hybrid Learning Certification.

In closing, I’d like to share our re-vamped Vision, Mission, and Identity for 2018 and beyond that reflects some of the priorities and focus discussed in this post. I’ve also included a number of principles our team is adopting as a guidepost for determining if our actions and behaviors are consistent with this focus. We welcome you to help hold us accountable in 2018! So without further a due, here they are:

Our VISION (Our Future)
We seek to reimagine healthcare education by disrupting how education is delivered to increase access, reduce student debt, and improve outcomes. We aspire to attract the best, brightest, and highest character individuals who feel “called” to enter the healthcare professions. We prepare these healthcare professionals to be active lifelong learners who work collaboratively in solving the most complex challenges of health care. Motivated by the common goal of reimagining education, we work in an environment that promotes innovation, creativity, and excellence.

Our MISSION (Why We Exist)
We power hybrid education for the most progressive healthcare providers, colleges and universities around the world. We emphasize evidence-based, flexible educational offerings that feature the perfect blend of online and hands-on content from world-renowned educators. Through our hybrid learning technologies, students no longer have to move across the country to obtain a great education. We are not suitable for everyone, but neither are we elitist.

Our IDENTITY (Who We Are)
We believe in developing “MINDFUL”, highly engaged, enthusiastic teammates. We create an environment where our teammates identify their strengths, turn them into performance, and work in their greatness.

Our company is defined by seven “MINDFUL” Principles, which inform every decision we make, challenge us to be our best, and unite each member of our team.
M-indful engagement with all customers, partners, and teammates. Care like it’s your Mother.
“Do I serve with passion?”
I-mprove constantly. We never arrive. Confidence does not mean arrogance.
“Do I get better every day?”
N-ever stop learning. Be curious. Stay humble. Work through adversity.
“Do I learn every day?”
D-rive change. Act with ambition, conviction, and humility. Embrace change.
“Do I routinely question the status quo?”
F-un is good for the soul. It makes life better.
“Do I play at work?”
U-nited as one team. Give the highest level of support to our partners and each other.
“Do I make a difference?”
L – Listen actively. Communicate openly and candidly. Use heartfelt emotion.
“Do I listen to others and offer respectful feedback?”

This is a bold vision, and I’m sure there will be challenges along the way. However, we couldn’t be more thankful for our Confluent Health team and the EIM community who have believed in and adopted many of our hair-brained ideas along the way. Some of them eventually stuck, and we hope made a difference in the profession. Lasting impact doesn’t happen without each of you, and our team is deeply humbled to serve you. To that end, our EIM family wishes you a healthy and prosperous new year and always welcomes your input and comments. Happy New Year!


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