Govt. Inquiry Into Healthcare Meeting Spend A Positive

On Monday, when I wrote about Congress' current quest to find out how much healthcare companies are spending on meetings, I voiced my concern that this could be the start of more misguided criticism over corporate meeting spend -- the kind that's been widely reported on in the press for TARP recipients. But that's only one side of the coin.  [more]The flip side is that the government's current focus on healthcare companies' meetings costs is a positive because it'll prod even more firms to realize the wisdom of adopting strategic meetings management and automation. The rewards, of course, will be savings and more control, spend transparency and more efficiency. And isn't that what we all want -- the government as well as the private sector?  Let’s also hope that the end result of all of the above efficiencies is lower health care costs for the consumer; HELLO?How do I know this will turn out to be a healthy development? The story about the government's request for meetings spend data from healthcare companies described how one un-named firm had to jump through hoops to even locate the spend data that Congress requested. It collected information from "individual event managers and/or administrative assistants who had coordinated the meetings," according to the story. In addition, "third-party event planners, travel management companies, budgets and purchase orders were also reviewed to compile the response," said the piece. I see this all the time at companies without organized meetings management. It must have cost those healthcare companies a lot of time and labor doing it that way -- never mind the frustration of putting it all together!It shouldn't take an official request from Congressional committee for a company to go scrambling to find out what it spends on meetings and events. That's the beauty of strategic meetings management and technology. All that information is put at your fingertips.     Perhaps the best advice for healthcare companies comes from a voice of wisdom in the story, and someone that I respect a lot in our industry -- Debi Scholar, PricewaterhouseCooper's Assurance Services Lead for Travel and Entertainment (T&E) strategic management and cost reduction. "Meeting management technology is the enabler of the SMMP components and has the ability to capture all of the meeting data requirements," she said.

Bravo Debi, very well put!

Kevin Iwamoto is vice president of enterprise strategy at StarCite. This post is syndicated from his blog, Strategic Meetings Management.