The Case for Fixing HCP Travel

Written by
Alex Borden
August 13, 2020

Across the travel industry, Pana has become widely known as the company who finally solved candidate travel. From SMB to Enterprise, this space was broadly ignored and required a fresh approach to solve for unbelievable inefficiencies and damaging traveler experiences.

As we worked with our customers and continued to learn, one theme became quite clear, candidates are not the only form of guest travel. While obvious in hindsight, we were surprised by the different pockets of travel where many of the same Guest Travel issues existed. Healthcare Professionals, or HCPs, being one of the most significant.

A New Focus on HCP Travel

Picture this, a doctor, generally charged with saving lives or performing groundbreaking research, spends hours booking a flight on the phone and toiling over paper receipts to receive reimbursement for his lunch. This then leads to another valuable professional at your company, sifting through these receipts and attempting to reconcile them for compliance. So much time wasted and not exactly the experience you were looking to provide, sound familiar.

When it comes to HCP travel, travel managers prioritize compliance and providing a top notch experience over everything else. Makes sense, mess up compliance and find yourself at odds with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. But, mess up the experience and you’ve damaged your company’s reputation by sending an unhappy HCP back out into the wild to share details of the terrible experience with their colleagues. And they probably won’t be super excited about working with your company again.

Travel managers and coordinators have done what they can to ensure coordinators make the booking process as effortless as possible for the HCP. But unfortunately, the experience is usually still pretty rough. HCPs are stuck dealing with back-and-forth emails to get air, hotel, and ground transportation booked and they end up floating a bunch of travel expenses. When they do submit their expenses, they have to wait extended periods to get reimbursed (if they even bother to go through the hoops to submit their expenses at all). And to make matters worse, internal coordinators are spending a ton of time coordinating with the HCP to get their travel booked.

Over the past several months, we’ve been spending quite a bit of time thinking about this problem with the fresh eyes of a technology-forward company.

If you are a pharma, medical, or biotech company who often travels HCP contractors, we believe there are a few key areas you can focus on to make a big impact on the experience for your HCPs:

  1. Booking: Make it fast and easy to book air, hotel, and ground transportation
  2. Compliance: Provide an uncomplicated process for HCPs to self-report data needed for Sunshine Act compliance, like NPI and State License #
  3. Payments: Build a better process for paying for travel, so the HCP doesn’t need to float trip costs. And for unavoidable incidentals…
  4. Reimbursements: Give them a simple way to submit receipts and get reimbursed quickly.

For each of these improvements you deliver to the HCP, you and your team also benefit. A faster and easier booking process translates to huge savings in coordination time. Self-reported NPI and State License ID data means travel payments are automatically captured and reconciled for complete Sunshine Act compliance. Streamlined payments and reimbursements reduce, and in some cases eliminate, manual reconciliation.

For Pana customers, we recently added new features new features purpose-built to support HCP travelers and Sunshine Act compliance.

If you’ve already tried our suggestions or have other suggestions to share, we’d love to hear from you.

Find out more about how we’re solving HCP travel.

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