The PEI nursing regulatory body switches from a legacy, out-of-province solution to a fully digitized platform tailored to their jurisdiction and profession’s specific needs.
Location: PEI, CANADA
No. of LICENSEES: +2,000
From a dated system inherited from another province, to a low-code but highly configurable platform, the College of Registered Nurses and Midwives of Prince Edward Island (CRNMPEI) achieved remarkable efficiencies with its adoption of Thentia Cloud, including a 75% reduction in manual licensing processing time.
The College of Registered Nurses and Midwives of PEI (CRNMPEI) was established in 2018 by the Regulated Health Professions Act as the regulatory body for registered nurses in Prince Edward Island, Canada. Oversight of registered nurses was originally undertaken by the Association of Registered Nurses of PEI which was formed in 1922, later legislated by the RN Act. In September of 2022, the College expanded to regulate midwives although there are none currently on the register as applications to the College are yet to begin.
Registered nurses and nurse practitioners are self-regulated health professionals in PEI. The regulatory functions of CRNMPEI under the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA) are in the best interest of the public and include member registration, discipline, and approval of education programs. With a staff of four, the College oversees 2,000 members with the bulk of them being registered nurses along with 92 nurse practitioners.
The time spent on manual processing reduced by 75%.
Since implementation, all payments are now completed online.
Melissa Panton, presently the Chief Executive Officer and Registrar of CRNMPEI, first learned of Thentia Cloud at a regulatory conference in 2018. At the time, the team at CRNMPEI was very interested in seeking a new solution as their legacy, homegrown system for managing licensing and other operations was outdated, inefficient, and posed a number of risks.
Working with a borrowed solution
Back in 2018, the College was using a homegrown database system that was developed by the Nurses Association of New Brunswick and existed on a server in that province. Consequently, CRNMPEI would have to go through their contacts in New Brunswick whenever they wanted to make changes. Being a different province, PEI had its own legislative requirements that the New Brunswick Association would try to adapt the system to on their behalf. Besides being a major inconvenience, other implications of this included a host of issues.
An almost completely paper-based application process
The database CRNMPEI was using stored the majority of its records as scanned documents. Because of this, it did not permit new applications to be submitted online, which required licensees to mail them in along with any other accompanying documents such as criminal checks (which often had to be mailed back to the sender once scanned). The complaints and discipline modules were also paper based, as were graduate registrations. Members only had the ability to view their status after they had been manually entered into the system by an administrator.
Small regulator budget constraints
Due to being a relatively small regulatory body, the College had a limited budget when it came to procuring new technology. Despite having limited resources, the team was determined to find a better way to manage operational functions.
No reporting capabilities
With the pre-existing database, there was no reporting function – but beyond that, it wasn’t a system that they controlled. When CRNMPEI wanted to pull reports, they had call on the system administrator from New Brunswick – another expense for CRNMPEI and a time-consuming work-around.
Addressing these challenges was a pressing need, and CRNMPEI felt confident after a demonstration of Thentia Cloud, that this solution would address all their needs – and much more.
With Thentia Cloud, Panton recognized the platform would be able to completely digitize processes such as new license applications as well as renewals, continuing education tracking, complaints and discipline, all while seamlessly integrating with external systems for data sharing such as testing centers.
In particular, Panton appreciated that applicants would have the ability to not only start their application process online, but also complete all the required steps for licensure online, including uploading documents like ID, education and job history, through Thentia’s License Application Portal. “Before, if there was anything supplemental, they needed to submit it to us. If we were concerned that they weren’t meeting the practice hour requirement, they’d have to get a form completed by their employer, which they would then have to give to us and we would upload,” Panton explains.
Configured with CRNMPEI’s specific needs in mind
Being able to get what felt like a customized solution was possible thanks to Thentia Cloud’s low-code configurability. “With Thentia, we did have a lot of input into the things that we needed based on our legislation, and with our continuing competence module, it was configured exactly as we wanted it,” Panton reports.
Facilitating the transition
Transitions to new software can be challenging and confronting for administrators and members. CRNMPEI bore this in mind as they worked with Thentia on the configuration to ensure that the interface would not be too unfamiliar to users of the previous system. “It was easy for us in the transition as staff,” says Panton, adding that for its members, CRNMPEI created a guide to the new system that helped ward off user questions and errors.
Seamless integration with national assessment and testing services
In Canada, the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS) provides an Advisory Report that includes an evaluation of a candidate’s education in correspondence with Canadian standards. Therefore, applicants to CRNMPEI need to have their files connected to those with NNAS. Thanks to Thentia Cloud, the integration between the two systems became automatic. “Prior to Thentia Cloud we would have to log into the NNAS database, pull all those files, upload them and then attach them to the registration profile and the old database. And now it’s very seamless,” Panton says.
Additionally, nurse applicants must take the NCLEX-RN exam provided through Pearson VUE test centers. In order to ensure that testing information is correctly associated to applicants, Pearson VUE creates a profile for the applicant and then CRNMPEI indicates when the applicant is eligible to take the exam. “When they pass the exam, that information is sent back to Thentia Cloud”, says Panton. “Those are a lot of efficiencies that the system created where we had manual or jaggy processes before,” she adds.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COLLEGE OF REGISTERED NURSES & MIDWIVES OF PEI
75% reduction in manual processing time
With an end-to-end online application system now in place, Panton estimates they have decreased the time spent on processing applications by 75%. With a small team, that has made a monumental impact overall on the efficiency of the organization. Gone are the countless hours spent scanning, uploading, emailing, mailing, printing, and paper handling. In fact, CRNMPEI has completely eliminated the postage machine in the office that was once heavily utilized. “We ended up getting rid of that because we weren’t sending things back and forth like the criminal record checks (people would often want the original back) so we were mailing that back as well as the originals of other documents. We’ve been able to cut back on that too and printing in general.”
100% of payments are made online
Prior to Thentia Cloud, the only thing an applicant could do online was check the status of their application. Every single payment that was made had to be done over the phone or by paper. Now, they are all done electronically. “It always made us nervous, too, when we received the paper form with a person’s credit card information. Normally we would get it and we would shred it immediately after importing the number. Then the applicant might have another fee come up and say to us, ‘I gave you my credit card. Just use that one.’ We don’t retain the number because we don’t want to be responsible for it lying around … So that too, was more time-consuming for the applicant.”
Improved ease of use for members and staff
Staff has been able to streamline several processes such as the reconciling of a candidate’s status and their payment information. Previously, receipts would have to manually be matched with the authorization number. Panton provides the following scenario as just one example: “We used to have to enter an authorization number into our database to attach it to the person and then we would have to do reports every day and to reconcile the payment processer report. Then, when we had a registration come in, we then had to tell the person, ‘Okay, you’re now eligible. Now, it’s very seamless.”
Improved support levels
For CRNMPEI, one of the big differences they’ve experienced is the ongoing first-class support provided by Thentia Cloud. “I’ll say that we really appreciate the support person we have. Having a touch person like that who can assign a priority to a support ticket makes a difference. It’s great to also have them to reach out to if there is an issue. Even having a person that we can have a conversation with to provide a little more information about the issue and the severity of it – it is great, I really like that.”
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