When it comes to exchanges of value with health care professionals and organizations, life science companies are faced with a myriad of transparency laws and industry codes. This complicated regulatory environment is predicted to become more extensive in 2014 and beyond, making it important for these companies to understand their reporting requirements and optimize their systems. Many life science companies are taking a global approach to compliance, which is prompting them to improve the efficiency of their data management systems.
Overview of Transparency Regulations
As of 2013, Deloitte notes that countries with laws regarding HCP/O transparency reporting included the U.S., France and Slovakia, but that number is expected to grow in the future. The scope of these laws and the types of transactions they apply to differ between nations. For instance, the scope of transparency laws in the U.S. applies to physicians and teaching hospitals, while in France the scope is larger and also applies to software developers and media design companies. In the U.S., applicable transactions include all payments of value with some exceptions, while in France all advantages are under the jurisdiction of transparency laws, with no exceptions. Also, a number of countries have industry codes for transparency reporting.
Deloitte reports that countries with industry codes or are planning to implement them include:
Sunshine Act & HCP Reporting Regulations
There are some similarities between the Physician Payment Sunshine Act and HCP/O transparency reporting requirements. Financial exchanges between by health care providers, life science companies and other applicable entities are required to be reported to the government. The agencies involved may differ depending on the types of organizations conducting business, but the principle of reporting financial exchanges is the same. There are also similarities regarding the protection of identifiable information, which health care organizations are bound to do. Safeguarding information is a priority for all healthcare organizations, given the prevalence of data theft and the move to digital medical records.
Ensure Consistent Data Collection
Data collection is critical for meeting transparency reporting requirements, meaning that efficient data management and storage are a priority. To ensure consistent data collection, life science companies can integrate their computer applications and move to cloud-based IT solutions. By tracking invoices, expense reports, customer records and payment processing with integrated systems, companies can aggregate data quickly and more accurately. Having information stored on multiple servers in a decentralized system only makes it harder to collect data, analyze it and create useful reports. Strengthening IT infrastructure, including the way data is maintained and evaluated, is perhaps the most important step in ensuring consistent data collection.
Streamline Processes for Global Spending Reporting
Streamlining service-oriented processes, including global spending reporting, is possible through quality management systems. Standard operating instructions, process flowcharts and SIPOC Diagrams can be used to identify waste within reporting tasks, leading to process improvement. The fewer delays and defects in the global spending reporting process, the less manpower it will take to meet reporting requirements. This translates to greater efficiency and bottom-line profit, because less direct labor and rework will go into administrative tasks. Also, stakeholders in the reporting process, such as regulatory agencies, will get better information to make decisions with.
Compliance with transparency regulation is a priority for life science companies, because they must adapt to the changing regulatory environment if they are going to survive. A global approach to meeting reporting requirements is something that can help life science companies grow their clientele and revenue streams in the future.
(Image courstesy of Barath Kishore via Flickr)