Written by Anne Zambrano | Sr. Manager, Marketing Communications & Creative Services
I had the pleasure of experiencing one our thought leaders in action at the recent MPI-CAC NEXT ’18 conference in Chicago. Susan Arts, CMP, HMCC, a 30-year healthcare meeting veteran and Project Director, Global Operations at M&IW, delivered an engaging presentation on The Changing Landscape of Healthcare Meetings. Many healthcare planners are aware that the worldwide focus on transparency reporting and greater compliance requirements have altered the landscape of planning and executing meetings in the healthcare sector. During her presentation, Susan shared tips, tricks, and best practices as well as provided an overview on where we are currently in terms of government compliance and reporting and where we are headed in the next 12-18 months.
As I came to find out, there are lots of important changes on the horizon and that this environment is only going to continue to be regulated or scrutinized. And, since healthcare is the biggest segment of the meetings industry with over 1.9 million meetings held in the US for a total of 250 million attendees1, I thought it was a good topic to continue to talk about.
The Changing Landscape
GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation: In short, the GDPR is a new law in the European Union that deals with data of EU citizens going in and out of the European Union. Collecting parties will now need to disclose what data is collected, why the data is collected and how the data will be used. This is a hot topic for meeting planners because planners, hoteliers, travel managers, and event suppliers most certainly collect personal data of EU citizens for meetings. Personal data may include financial, contact, medical, travel, IP address and passport information. The law was adopted back in April 2016 and goes into effect on May 25, 2018. Susan recommended that it is a good time for your organization to take a closer look at the regulation, and how you are collecting or using data that is regulated by this law to make sure you have the appropriate practices and disclaimers are in place.
Continuing medical education funding in Europe and Asia: Susan made the excellent point that no longer will manufacturers be able to make direct payments to clinicians to fund attendance at CME events. All the funds must now go through grants to the health systems and accredited CME providers and these institutions will now choose who gets the funds to attend CME meetings. This is and will continue to be a hot topic, learning at a meeting or event is still the number one preferred way healthcare professionals receive their continuing education.
Worldwide Reporting: APAC, LATAM and Canada will soon all be adopting HCP transparency reporting policies and regulations. Susan made the prediction that in the next 18-24 months the transparency reporting regulatory environment that planners experience in the US will be global.
State Regulations: States continue to create and develop their own regulations as it relates to HCP meeting spend and reporting. It is becoming increasingly important to stay on top of and understand not only the changing environment of the federal regulations, but also at the state level. The state level could address meetings being held in that state or address attendee hailing from that state.
Susan concluded with the following important points:
- Always go into a meeting preparing to be ready for an audit. Planning from the forefront can ease any pain on the backend.
- Understand the reporting requirements when it comes to transfer of value verses aggregate spend for a meeting.
- Document, document, document. Look toward new technologies to help streamline and automate documentation.
Finally, how is this going to affect our medical meeting profession? There is a going to likely be a shortage of trained, experienced, medical meeting professionals as well as a potential challenge with sourcing and space, dates and rates in a strong market because of the various interpretations of the regulations and Office of Ethics and Compliance in many organizations putting a cap on room rate allowances for HCPs.
One final, final note: some useful industry resources Susan shared at the end of her presentation:
- Event Industry Council GDPR Resource Page (www.eventscouncil.org)
- GDPR Awareness Coalition (gdprcoalition.ie)
- Healthcare Meeting Compliance Certification (HMCC) – available through MPI (www.mpiweb.org)
- Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) (www.phrma.org)
- European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) (www.efpia.eu )
- My Compliance Wizard (subscription) (www.mycw.info)
- Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) (www.accme.org)
(1) Events Industry Council Survey
In honor of GMID (Global Meetings Industry Day), we are sharing more thought-leading content on HCP transparency reporting. We hosted a webinar on April 12 as part of our Industry Insight Webinar Series entitled, “The Various Approaches to HCP Transparency Reporting and Best Practices for Industry Standardization, presented by Angie Gross, HMCC, Sr. Manager, Reconciliation & Compliance Reporting, Finance. If you missed it, you can catch it on demand. Just click the video below.