How Healthcare Organizations Say Conflict of Interest (COI) Management Needs to Improve

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

Methodologies to manage Conflicts of Interest (COIs) vary widely across healthcare organizations. When compliance programs focused on COIs are effective and comprehensive, their success often can be attributed to the commitment of an organization’s leadership. Many organizations prioritize the management of COIs; however, many are still behind the curve even with a renewed industry emphasis on identifying and preventing COIs.

A Survey of COI Leaders about the State of COI Management

To understand how healthcare organizations are implementing their efforts to identify and manage conflicts of interest (COIs), HCCS—A HealthStream Company recently surveyed 281 U.S. healthcare compliance leaders about the compliance programs in their organizations. An important section of the survey asked how these leaders thought their COI Management processes needed to be improved.

What Specific COI Management Improvements Are Needed?

The survey offered a list of eight suggestions for some common ways the COI management process could be enhanced. Respondents could check all that applied to their organizations. Here are the specific remedies, with the percentage of people advocating for them:

Efficiency and accuracy – 34.1%                                                                  

Reporting output – 32.3%

Automate manual COI process – 28.7%

Reduce the amount of time needed to complete the COI process – 25.8%

Ability to create and distribute management plans – 20.4%

Eliminate duplication – 18.6%

Opportunity to capture transactional disclosures – 16.8%

Reduce cost – 15%

A startling 19.8% of respondents claimed nothing about their COI Management processes needed to be improved. 18.6% of them didn’t know enough to answer the survey question.

Automate to Improve Efficiency, Reduce Time Required for COI Management

In their responses these compliance leaders are telling us that the processes themselves that are involved in COI Management need to become more effective. Not only are they too time-consuming and labor intensive, but they sometimes need to be verified for efficiency and accuracy afterwards. The work involved apparently makes generating reports a burden. Given the financial constraints that apply to most healthcare organizations, moving to automated, more cost-effective systems for COI management is becoming an imperative.

Why Use Systems That Automate COI Compliance?

Automating COI management is instrumental for helping achieve the following:

  • Reduced COI risk at organizations, which helps to protect reputation
  • Satisfaction of fiduciary responsibilities
  • Meeting government requirements for management and reporting of conflicts of interest for clinical research
  • Facilitate Board relations and information collection IRS Form 990

Learn more about COI-SMART, our comprehensive conflict of interest management system, which is currently used at more than 1,200+ locations around the country.