It was my first year attending CLEAR’s Annual Educational Conference, and I must say it was quite the experience. It was astounding to see regulators from around the world come together to discuss common issues, share experiences and identify best practices as a group. At this year’s educational conference more than 500 professional regulators and associations from North America, Europe and Australasia gathered for three days of engaging peer led sessions, workshops, and round table discussions to promote regulatory excellence. All content is developed by and for members of the regulatory community. This gives us, as vendors, the opportunity to educate ourselves on current trends and issues professional regulators are faced with today and use this to continue developing our membership management product to better meet their needs. I was fortunate to have been be able to sit in on a few sessions. One that really caught my attention was the IT for Regulators Hot Topic Round Table.
As a Business Analyst for the Peopleworks team at Navantis I work closely with our clients to identify inefficiencies and find ways to use technology to streamline business processes. What I’ve learned over the last four years in this role, and what this experience has reiterated, is that regulatory bodies have a very distinct purpose and as a result have unique processes to conduct their business. However, regulators irrespective of the profession they regulate or their geographic location, are all facing similar issues surrounding the scalability, sustainability and growth of their business.
Working closely with our clients throughout the process of implementing our membership management solution I have learned that technology can be quite an unnerving topic for regulators. Most associations and regulatory bodies exist to serve the professional needs of members and don’t have the skills, staff or budgets to handle demanding and complex IT implementations. The result is that they often are unable to take advantage of the efficiencies and opportunities presented by technology. Traditional CRM solutions do not meet their needs and usually require expensive customization and training. As a result manual processes spring up using basic tools such as Excel spreadsheets or Access databases. These tools are limiting efficiency and constricting growth.
Having the opportunity to speak to many regulators in the Exhibit Hall at CLEAR’s Annual Educational Conference and hearing concerns with regards to technology in the Round Table session I identified the top three business concerns among professional regulators:
1. Protecting Members Online
As regulatory bodies begin adopting new technologies and moving away from the manual paper-based processes to online tools their processes will inevitably change. With a mandate to serve and protect its member’s, regulatory bodies are experiencing a growing need for improved communications and training for its members. An effective communication and change management strategy must be put in place to provide its members with the information they need to protect themselves when interacting with the college online.
We’ve established a comprehensive change management strategy based on our experience implementing our member management solution. Built into our training sessions we will introduce ways regulators can teach their members to protect themselves online. Suggestions will include:
- Enhanced security questions to make password changes more secure.
- Heightened password requirements.
- Introduction to Cyber Liability Insurance.
- Secure portal to share confidential data so information like credit card details are not being sent via email.
2. Managing Professional Conduct
A critical aspect of operations for regulatory bodies is the management of professional codes of conduct. All complaints need must be reviewed with specific actions identified and tracked. Investigations and disciplinary hearings may result. Cases need to be created, documents searched, tracked and distributed with confidentiality and privacy in mind and schedules coordinated along with notices and reviews. A hearing places tight timelines and specific date milestones, confidentiality considerations, and large volumes of documentation on an organization and poses considerable reputation risk.
Regulatory bodies receive hundreds, sometimes thousands, of complaints and inquiries each year. Addressing these complaints and disciplinary hearings with manual, paper-based processes take up a large portion of a regulator’s time and resources. For example at the College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Manitoba (CRPNM) when a case is initiated, a single document containing all relevant information needs to be created. This document can be as long as 1000 pages. Before we introduced our new Professional Conduct module, investigators spent a lot of time searching for, collecting and collating relevant case documents to distribute to the hearing committee. The Professional Conduct module of Peopleworks provides the ability to intake, investigate and resolve complaints or report on a member’s alleged professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity. Cases documented in the system are traceable throughout the various stages of the process: intake, investigations, hearings, appeals and other stages defined specifically to meet your needs. Conduct cases can be seamlessly transitioned across stages, once specific complaint or report criteria are met, whilst maintaining all relevant case information and decisions made.
For more information on managing professional conduct cases read Victoria, our VP of Product Development’s blog post: More Efficiently Managing Complaints, Investigations and Hearings Could Inherently Lead to Improved Transparency for Professional Regulators.
3. Eliminating Manual, Paper-based Processes
Most regulatory bodies have adopted manual registration and renewal processes, entering data into a Microsoft Access database or excel spreadsheet to manage applicants and registrants. While effective in the beginning, as the number of registrants grow, your manual processes will quickly start to show their limitations. You will never have one holistic view of a member or case for that matter. Information and documents are often scattered across the organization. With an outdated system, regulators are unable to use its data to better serve the public. Searching and reporting within their database becomes a time consuming and costly process. Regulators are in need of a more efficient way to share and manage data – a solution that addresses the unique environment of membership management.
The College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of British Columbia (CRPNBC) was facing this exact challenge. CRPNBC selected Peopleworks OnCloud, a Membership Management platform that could be delivered as a hosted solution giving CRPNBC the flexibility, security, cost-savings and simplicity that the College required to manage its registrants. With this architecture in place, the College has complete autonomy over how they operate and manage their members, providing members with self-service options. With the specialized Peopleworks solution deployed and operating smoothly within a few months, college staff can now effectively focus on managing registrants, rather than databases.
CLEAR’s reputation for delivering engaging content has made it one of the largest regulatory conferences in North America and we are thrilled to have been a part of it! It’s this member-driven, collective content that drives regulatory excellence.
We have a deep commitment to this market demonstrated by our ongoing investments in the development of our Peopleworks solution. We are always adding new modules and adapting functionality to keep our customers up to date. Do you have other IT concerns? I’d love to learn more about what issues your organization is facing and discuss how technology can help transform your business. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to continue the conversation!