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Tackling the Multi-Jurisdictional Document Compliance Challenge

BY Chris Miller

Document compliance can be a nightmare for organizations in regulated industries operating in multi-state or global markets. The varying regulatory requirements faced by these organizations pose a significant challenge to operational efficiency for numerous vital business functions, including customer communications.

In these scenarios, the process of creating compliant customer communications quickly becomes complex. For example, commercial health plans typically publish master contract language with embedded benefit options which are then sent to state insurance agencies for approval. Once approved, they are used to develop product level benefit contracts. Segments of the approved language and specific benefit variable tags are used to define product level templates within which the variable benefit values are merged. This enables the insurer to offer the same product with variable benefit options.

In a workflow like this, altering approved language is challenging. As alterations are made, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage language updates across documents. In the case of a commercial health insurer, a simple content change often has to be manually managed across multiple variations of a contract causing significant time-to-market constraints and risk of error that may result in compliance failures and severe financial penalties.

Processes like these are typically driven through resource-constrained IT departments and need to be carefully timed to fit into an organization’s existing planning cycles. Of course, these cycles don’t often map to the timelines set by regulators, further hampering time-to-market.

One way to overcome these hurdles is to find an approach that enables compliance officers and business users to collaborate to edit, test and approve content changes independent of IT, which will make it easier for them to successfully perform content management within tight deadlines. A hybrid cloud approach is one cost-effective way to accomplish this.

A hybrid cloud model can be structured so that it centralizes content creation and change management. This approach can incorporate an internal user management system that enables centralized control of individual and group rights as well as an integrated workflow system that controls the required steps for creation, edits and approvals.

In the example of the health insurer, if a contract clause, such as a disclaimer, needs to be modified to correspond to various location-based wording changes, then that block of content should be managed from a central location so that it can be changed once and updated wherever necessary. Business users would be able to propagate approved content updates across one or many contracts or plan-based material versions. Compliance approvals can be accomplished globally or at the version level, all controlled by the system that ensures that only approved content is used when production takes place. This approach avoids the challenge and manual effort required to find and replace content across a sea of individual touchpoints.

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