Regulators have visions of new strategic initiatives and important projects that will put them at the forefront of professional regulation and help them respond to its changing landscape in a timely manner. But in reality, finding the time to innovate can be difficult.
There are so many time-consuming tasks involved in day-to-day operations that can get in the way and bog down long-term visions. These are often related to outdated registration and reporting systems that require staff to spend countless hours on the phone with new applicants and licensees to accomplish simple tasks like submitting an application or renewing an existing license.
Increasingly, regulators are finding digital transformation can help address these (and other) challenges and give them back precious hours they can use to make their strategic visions a reality. I gained first-hand experience leading a digital transformation project as the CEO and Registrar of the College of Registered Nurses of Prince Edward Island, which regulates over 2,000 nursing professionals in the province.
Prior to adopting Thentia Cloud, we were experiencing many of the same challenges commonly faced by other regulators. Registration staff were responding to daily requests for help from existing licensees, particularly during renewal periods, representing hundreds of phone calls and email correspondence. In addition, 100% of new applicants required assistance just to navigate the system. Payment was often a cumbersome process requiring applicants and licensees to visit our office in person.
During the first renewal period after implementing Thentia Cloud, requests for assistance dropped dramatically from 20% of registrants to 2%, representing a tenfold reduction in registration workload. Licensees were delighted because they were able to complete required renewal processes and payment without any assistance from the college, which allowed them to do it on their own schedule, often during evenings and weekends when staff would not normally be available.
Thentia Cloud also automated payments, providing a copy of registration certificates and required tax receipts immediately, again without requiring repeated calls and emails to the college office.
Digital transformation improved day-to-day operations, gave us time needed to focus on strategic initiatives
In addition to offering a better experience for licensees, the new portal delivered significant improvements to the college’s day-to-day operations. It provided a safe and efficient way to provide documents to and communicate with investigation and discipline committees, thereby reducing the workload on staff to do these tasks manually and individually with committee members. It also facilitated secure and efficient communication with board members, substantially reducing workload for both admin support staff and the CEO, who saved valuable time preparing for board meetings, and provided immediate access for board members who no longer had to wait for hard copies of materials.
Perhaps the most dramatic change was the invaluable hours Thentia Cloud gave back to staff, allowing us to focus on strategic initiatives and time-consuming projects we couldn’t previously find bandwidth to tackle. Without spending time and energy on applications and renewals, staff suddenly found themselves with time to write those important policies and to think more strategically about the work needed to keep licensees safe in their practice.
This allowed us to implement several improvements to our regulatory work that brought significant benefits to the college, licensees, and public at large. We were able to develop new practice directives and standards as well as two new jurisprudence exams which are accessible virtually for all licensees. We also reviewed and updated all website content, providing a better user experience for both registrants and the public. Crucially, we were able to take on the time-consuming tasks of updating bylaws, conducting a review of current legislation, and requesting amendments to streamline work processes.
Taking the first steps on a digital transformation journey can be challenging
Taking the first steps on our digital transformation journey wasn’t easy, as there are always risk and change management challenges involved with such a major undertaking. Fortunately, the college was in good hands with Thentia as our trusted technology partner and we were able to achieve outstanding results with the adoption of Thentia Cloud as our licensing solution.
For more on how digital transformation can benefit regulatory agencies and how they can get started on their own journeys, download Thentia’s new whitepaper, Embracing Digital Transformation: How Regulators Can Launch a Successful Digital Transformation Journey.
About the Author
Dr. Sheila Marchant-Short is a subject matter expert with over four decades of experience in nursing and health care regulation. She has worked in various roles at public health organizations in Canada and the U.S., including the College of Registered Nurses of Prince Edward Island (CRNPEI), where she recently served as Chief Executive Officer and Registrar for almost five years. She is currently Thentia’s Managing Director of Health Care Regulation.