Automate These 5 CME Administrative Tasks
How valuable are your working hours? If you’re like most CME administrators, it depends on how you spend them.
For instance, an hour spent creating new CME activities is far more valuable than an hour spent wrangling data scattered among several spreadsheets. And the less time you spend on tedious administration, the more time you’ll have for work that positively impacts you, your colleagues, your organization, and your learners.
The best way to get there? Stop doing the low-value tasks. Automate them with technologies built for CME administrators.
Let’s take a look at five administrative tasks that are well-known to anybody who works in CME. We’ll consider why you might want to automate those tasks, how you can do it, and what the result might be in terms of regained hours.
1. ACCME PARS reporting
PARS season is always the same, isn’t it?
You dig through emails, spreadsheets, and information generated by your CME software. Then you meticulously copy and paste it all into a format that’s supported by the ACCME PARS.
It takes several hours to do all of this. It might even take days.
Here’s an idea: Have your CME software record all PARS data throughout the year as it’s generated by learners in a properly-formatted report that’s ready to upload to the PARS website. When it’s time to submit your PARS report, just click “download,” navigate to the PARS website, and upload the file. Done.
Check out our video on PARS to learn more about how automated ACCME PARS reports can save you time each spring.
If your organization offers nursing or pharmacy CE, you can also automate your NARS or ACPE reporting with Rievent. For NARS, automation works similarly to PARS reporting. Just download the report (it’s already ready to go!) and upload it to the ANCC website. For ACPE credit, a real-time web service uploads all of the data to CPE Monitor for you.
2. Creating CME certificates
CME certificates are one of those things that should be simple but often end up being difficult. You might like to generate certificates for learners automatically, but it might be easier said than done given your current technology.
For one thing, you’ve got to manage accreditation types. Different credit options might require different pieces of information for their certificates, and that’s complicated. So, too, is the issue of distributing the certificates. You’d like to just auto-generate a PDF, but that’s hard when the certificates need to include different information for different credit types.
So you end up creating the certificates manually, which takes forever.
Here’s how to identify CME technologies that simplify certificate creation:
- Built-in certification tools: You should be able to create and edit credit options, accredited providers, and certificate templates from the administrator interface. In addition, it should be easy to specify the type and number of credits for specific CME activities.
- Flexibility: Look for software that lets you associate certain types of credit with certain providers and add custom accreditation statements to specific certificates.
- Learner self-service: Learners receive a PDF certificate following activity completion. Since you already set things up on the back end, the certificate contains all the info each learner needs. They have the option to print the certificate themselves.
If you’re constantly having to generate custom certificates after learners complete CME activities, features like these could save you hours of time every week. Cumulatively, that’s a lot of extra time for more valuable tasks.
3. Processing CME credits
If your CME software doesn’t automatically allocate credits to learners following activity completion, you might have to allocate them manually. For you, that might mean updating a cell in a spreadsheet. Or adding learners’ names to a list. Or contacting someone else to do those things.
Here’s how CME credit processing should work:
- When learners complete an activity – and it doesn’t matter if the activity is an online/enduring activity or a live event – your software should record their participation and credits on its own.
- The credits automatically appear on learners’ transcripts, and they can download a certificate bearing the number and type of credits immediately upon finishing the activity.
Credits are processed for online activities when the learner finishes the post-test. For live events, they’re processed when the learner attends the event – or, in some cases, when the learner enters a unique, event-specific code following attendance. Either way, it’s automated.
And learners don’t have to wait for someone in the office to update their records.
4. Live event attendance
This one goes hand in hand with credit processing. If you’re in the habit of passing around paper attendance sheets, performing manual data entry following a meeting, and/or emailing attendance data to colleagues, automating attendance can eliminate a lot of post-event administrative hassle.
Attendance processing works in conjunction with the automated awarding of CME credits. Learners claim credit following an event and their records are updated automatically.
You’ll never have to collect a paper attendance sheet or tally attendee totals. Ever.
5. Data collection
When readily available and properly analyzed, data makes CME activities more valuable and effective. But the “readily available” and “properly analyzed” parts can be tricky.
After all, data can only be readily available when it exists and when it’s accessible in a format that CME administrators can use. Format matters because a large spreadsheet of numbers can take longer to decipher compared to a graphical representation of the same data.
The bottom line? Your CME software needs to collect the right data and present it in a format that’s readily understandable. That way, you can tease out insights and use them to enhance existing CME activities or generate ideas for new ones.
For example, learners might have uniformly received excellent pre-test scores prior to completing a particular activity. That could mean the activity isn’t imparting much knowledge – something you’d definitely want to know about! However, in the absence of that sort of data, you might never find out that the activity wasn’t providing enough value to learners in its current form. Many CME providers spend a lot of time and effort trying to extract this sort of information from their CME software, often to little (or limited) avail.
But what if you automated the collection and presentation of CME data? You could accomplish things like…
- Quickly finding all the information you needed
- Generating reports with custom parameters
- Easily reviewing data in a graphical format
Finding ways to improve CME activities wouldn’t be so time consuming. You could point to the data, identify an opportunity to make a valuable change, and implement it. Over time, your CME activities would become increasingly valuable to learners.
And you would spend a whole lot less time interpreting and acting on data.
The more capable your CME technology, the more time you’ll have to create, enhance, and expand your CME activities.
Your hours are valuable, and technology can help you make them even more valuable. If you’re performing lots of manual administration today, take a hard look at the routine tasks that pull you away from more important work.
There’s a good chance you can automate them – and devote all that extra time to your most important initiatives.