Using Multiple Charge Masters to Master Your Research Finances

While conducing high quality, and cutting edge research is often the primary goal of many healthcare organization, it is certainly not the only goal. Organizations strive for many things; however, aside from the research, profitability and financial success are at the top of the list.

While many will say that a clinical trial management system (CTMS) is a great tool for managing study finances and improving profitability, it requires an understanding of exactly what features or components of the software help to achieve this goal. Today we are going to take a look at incorporating your organization’s charge master into a CTMS. In future articles we will continue to look at specific finance and budget related CTMS tools that directly aid in improving the financial health of your organization and clinical research. (See another one of our research finances blog posts here.)

Charge masters are common components of the healthcare process, however their effect on the research process is not always fully understood. Let’s take a look at some ways that charge masters impact the research process.

For a long time researchers have been able to build charge masters into their CTMS. While being able to incorporate one charge master into your CTMS is a great tool, being able to build in multiple charge masters simultaneously is even better. Having this ability grants researchers even greater benefit. Research organizations who are managing research across multiple locations would benefit because they would be able to reference a different charge master for each location that is working on the study. For example, if location 1 and location 2 are both working in the same study, but location one charges $100 for procedure X and location 2 charges $120 for the same procedure, the CTMS will automatically track this and include the correct amount in the systems financial reports.

Researchers who are conducting long term studies also benefit. If a study takes place over several years, it would not be uncommon for an organization to make modifications to its charge master. As the updates are made, new charge masters can be built into the CTMS, allowing the system to begin tracking the new prices for each procedure. A top notch CTMS will take this one step further, to ensure that included with new charge masters are “cut in dates” which will tell the system at which time to begin referencing the new charge master data, ensuring accurate information for procedures completed before the new charge master was published.

Being able to incorporate multiple charge masters into a CTMS provides tremendous financial benefit as it allows for more accurate financial management, ultimately leading to greater levels of profitability.

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