Hospitals and healthcare systems are increasingly working to enhance physician alignment and attract new talent in order to improve patient care quality, grow market share and increase revenue. As a result, continuing medical education (CME) is taking on a greater importance to attract talent and further quality measures, but it comes at the same time that organizations have to budget for changes called for under the healthcare reform.
And with competing priorities, it is essential to ensure you are getting the most bang for your buck when it comes to CME. By rethinking how your organization handles its CME spend, you can help your healthcare providers (HCP) get the most value out of their education so that they can keep treating their patients with the best care.
The importance of CME to physicians and organizations
The movement from volume to value has made it imperative for physicians to perform at a higher level, overall raising the importance of CME in the healthcare industry. With knowledge expanding faster than our ability to assimilate and apply it effectively, the pressures on physicians aren’t keeping up with the pace of knowledge development. In addition to these pressures, ensuring the usage of the allocated allowance often takes the backburner and physicians may go over or not fully leverage their CME allowance.
Healthcare organizations can establish differences between themselves and other healthcare organization hiring practices by offering key benefits, such as life insurance, disability, paid time off and retirement, as well as physician-specific benefits, such as CME expenses, licensing, and medical malpractice. Most organizations provide an allowance for CME activities, but tracking the usage of this allowance has been nearly difficult until now. Most of the time an organization will provide employees with a certain CME budget to last the entire year. The process of tracking this spend, however, is in dire need of help.
Tracking CME spend
As you probably know, healthcare organizations provide an HCP with a CME allowance for a certain period. This budget covers all the necessary courses, conferences, and travel and is often manually entered into a spreadsheet to be checked at a later date. Every step of the budgeting process runs through this spreadsheet, which can be both time consuming and error prone.
How are your current CME expense processes managed? If it’s like most healthcare organizations, it’s not well. Here are three key problems impacting your CME expense management:
1. It’s incredibly manual.
To keep track of the CME budget, if they do at all, HCPs will typically start by checking the aforementioned spreadsheet to see what they have available. From here, they can use this budget when and where they see fit. However, keeping track of every item to be expensed often means keeping stacks of receipts and paper purchase records to enter later.
In 2016, 59% of employed physicians and 54% of self-employed physicians spent at least 10 hours a week doing paperwork. - EthosCE
Since each HCP must manually calculate and enter information each time they access their CME budget, not only is this time wasted but it also increases the risk of human error.
2. There is limited visibility.
If spend is happening inappropriately, you need to see it so you can try to prevent it. At any given time, you should be able to see what is going on within an HCP’s CME budget to ensure there aren’t any surprises, such as being over-budget due to a miscalculation, misunderstanding, or potential fraud. Without the ability to see where an HCP is tracking their allowable spend, this problem may go unnoticed. On the other hand, if your HCP is under-budget, they are leaving valuable money on the table. If you have full visibility into CME spend, you can reallocate funds to more patient-centric initiatives.
3. Problems are difficult to control.
Even with complete visibility into when, why, and what spend is happening, if you can’t control your budget, you still have a challenge. Effective CME spend tracking requires access and control to go into a budget directly and remove or add funds, while also having the ability to approve and deny expenses before they occur. The bottom line is that you need to be able to implement changes to a CME budget as you see fit, when you see fit.
Take charge of CME spend with SAP Concur
Is your current CME spend tracking process up to par? Is it a straightforward process that affords you full visibility and control into all aspects of an HCP’s budget? If not, take charge of CME spend and gain control over your valuable time and resources
To learn about how SAP Concur can help take the pains out of CME tracking, download our brochure.