5 tips for tracking mileage that everyone in healthcare should use

With your field staff and providers hitting the road to visit patients and other facilities, daily mileage can really add up for your entire organization.  Across the majority of Concur’s healthcare clients, mileage represents almost 20% of their expense report expenditures. Managing a large amount of people and data can be challenging, frustrating, and expensive.

According to the Concur Expense IQ report, tracking transportation is one of the top 10 expenses incurred by organizations. Taking steps to manage transportation and mileage expense can save your organization a bundle.

Want to make it easier? We’ve got some tips to smooth out the road for everyone involved:

  1. Provide and encourage use of tools to increase accuracy.  Google Maps and other mapping programs make it easy to calculate the exact distance driven in a day. On average, travelers overestimate their mileage by 15 percent. The expense of that overestimation could be hundreds of thousands, and occasionally millions of dollars. Concur spend management solutions are integrated with Google Maps, allowing travelers to enter mileage by selecting start and end points, and waypoints in between, for each mileage expense. These locations can be stored and easily accessed again using a “Most Recently Used” list. This means your physicians and staff can easily create those mileage expense reports AND the data will be accurate, which could mean big dollars saved for your organization.
     
  2. Encourage submitting weekly or monthly mileage reports.  Daily reports are too cumbersome for finance to manage, so many hospitals and health systems ask mileage-only users to aggregate daily trips and submit mileage expense only once or twice per month.  Sava Senior Care for example, asks drivers to submit mileage reimbursement requests once a week, with the cumulative mileage for any specific day in one entry. “Because we can now process the requests more quickly, our travelers and our processing team are both fine with these weekly submittals,” Graham said.

“Instead of taking a month for reimbursements to process, our employees typically see the money in their bank accounts in a week or less.” - Dorene Graham, Travel Manager, Sava SeniorCare

  1. Use a spend management system that provides tools for different types of mileage.  If your providers drive daily to several clinics, an auto-detect mileage option (and Concur partners) such as Motus, Runzheimer, CompanyMileage, and Mile-IQ might be best.  These solutions track travelers’ drives automatically using a mobile app or car mounted hardware and lets them push completed mileage expense right to Concur.

    Or perhaps you want your field staff to track mileage without a smart phone—you may want to consider the plug-in offered by Automatic.  Automatic is a device for your car that tracks miles, routes and trip logs—then integrates with Concur for instant expensing. A cloud-based platform such as Concur integrates with multiple partners to provide you with a variety of solutions so you can select the one that fits your particular business need. 
     
  2. Encourage staff to fly when it makes sense. In some situations, air travel might be the most cost effective choice for a staff member’s trip. This Expense Trends report gives a breakdown of the true cost of last minute travel - it’s best to have your traveler book three weeks in advance.
     
  3. Make tracking mileage easy for your drivers. Offer mobile solutions that are simple to use and fun. When your expense system is available on your staff’s mobile devices, they are more likely to use it and submit their information accurately. Because they are on the road so frequently, making it easy for them to track on the road will go a long way toward gaining adoption. In the end, this will help reduce end-of-month or end-of-quarter rush and bring some sanity back to the back office.

While mileage is only one part of the finance operations of a large healthcare facility, it can be one of the most difficult and expensive to manage. And even this seemingly minor expense adds up quickly with hundreds of staff members on the road and thousands of miles clocked monthly. Organizations following these tips are enjoying more accurate tracking, fewer hassles and a much smoother road.

If you have your own tips or techniques for making mileage tracking a little less painful, we’d love to hear about it and share with our readers. Please share your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter, mentioning @Concur, or on Facebook. And, if you’d like more information on Concur products for more effective mileage management, please email connected@concur.com.

 
 

 

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