Royal Australasian College of Physicians

Smoothing the pathway to training success with Specialist360

“We now have a fully automated system with no manual processes.”

Penny Petinos, STP Manager, RACP

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) is the professional training body for over 15,000 qualified and 7,500 trainee physicians.

The STP is a Commonwealth Department of Health of Australia initiative. It gives trainees an annual salary contribution while they’re in training posts outside of traditional public teaching hospitals. The current programme supports 900 positions across Australia.

Legacy database system

RACP’s STP team used a legacy database to track and manage the progress of trainees at the various specialist training sites.

The team manually entered information from each training site into the database, which came via emailed reports twice a year. The double data entry process was costly, laborious and contained opportunities for error. Then the Department of Health introduced new reporting requirements which demanded functionality not available in the legacy database system.

Penny Petinos, Manager of RACP’s STP says, “I was looking for a system to automate a lot of our processes. And, more importantly, a platform where the training sites could access the system and enter the information themselves, so we didn’t have to manually perform data entry.”

STP payments to training sites was a complex back-and-forth procedure, so streamlining the payment system was also high on the wish list.

 

Choosing a standout solution

The Commonwealth of Australia supports the portal project, so naturally RACP sought their guidance when it came to potential suppliers. Fusion5 was on the list of preferred partners.

“Of the three suppliers we met,” said Ms Petinos, “it was Fusion5’s presentation and their high-quality Specialist360 solution which really stood out.

“The other vendors proposed ground-up solutions, which lacked the degree of automation we needed. They were also both quite small partners, which concerned us in terms of project resourcing and ongoing support.   

“The other big factor in our decision making,” says Ms Petinos, “was the very short timeline we had for the delivery of the solution. We needed a vendor that could deliver everything we needed, in the timeframe we wanted.”

Moving to a new age portal

Fusion5’s Specialist360 solution brings training management and CRM systems together to create a collaborative environment. RACP was able to leverage Fusion5’s 6+ years’ experience in the administration of postgraduate medical education and training.

“We now have a fully automated system with no manual processes,” Ms Petinos says. “The training sites directly access the online portal to enter and submit their reports. We check it online, and if there’s an issue we get back to the training sites in a timely manner. Otherwise it’s flagged as approved.

“Once we verify and approve the training site report we automatically generate an invoice on their behalf. They get an email to let them know the report’s been approved, and that we’ve created an invoice for them which will be paid within 14 days.

“We’ve eliminated the whole process, for most training sites, of asking for an invoice, waiting for it to arrive, sending reminders if they haven’t sent it, and following it up.”

And the new level of comprehensive reporting that Specialist360 provides means RACP can meet Australian Government Department of Health compliance requirements with confidence.

 

Removal of data duplication

“One efficiency we wanted was reducing the amount of duplication and manual data manipulation necessary to extract the information we needed,” says Ms Petinos. Setting up reporting forms had been a complex manual process, taking two STP team members two months to set up each semester. “Now, we have everyone set up in the system. All we have to do is email the training sites advising them that the new semester is open – so please submit your progress reports. It’s reduced things to a single email and waiting for the training sites to submit their data. The staff are very pleased with the efficiency the portal has provided.”

Freed up from so many tedious manual processes, the STP team now redirect their focus to managing the training site accounts and providing support and training to use the portal.

“Their tasks are of higher value to us,” says Ms Petinos, “and they’re now able to concentrate on more interesting work that they didn’t have time for previously. That has been a positive.”

RACP plans to utilise the portal to manage new Department of Health programmes as they’re introduced. The Department of Health is also flagging that they want to receive electronical progress reports within the next twelve months, so this is on RACP’s 2018 action list as well.

A successful collaboration, a standout solution

The STP and Fusion5 teams worked closely throughout the project. “The level of engagement and commitment to delivering a successful project was high on both sides,” says Ms Petinos. “We understood one another’s expectations and responsibilities and upcoming and finished tasks were clearly defined. I think it’s fair to say there was strong collaboration between Fusion5 and the college STP team. We performed very well together.”

The contract with Fusion5 was signed in late 2016 and the project started in January 2017. The project went live in August 2017.

 “All credit to Fusion5 and the RACP team. When the STP portal was launched everything worked well. It was a good outcome.”

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