Telecommunication Expense Management (TEM): Sustainable Telecommunication Costs in Healthcare

This article was written by Jacqueline Oberst.

In recent blogs, I have addressed the potential cost reductions associated with analyzing your health system’s existing telecommunication vendor services. The final step in this process is Telecommunication Expense Management (TEM) to deliver sustainable telecommunication costs in healthcare.

Analyzing your current services can realize significant savings by correcting billing errors, removing unused services and so on. But how can this process be transitioned from a one-time audit to a consistent process that will guarantee accurate and sustainable costs?

The answer is Telecom Expense Management (TEM).

TEM is the systematic analysis and management of a health system’s telecommunication services, resulting in accurate billing prior to processing vendor payments.

While this may seem simple, there are many important considerations involved to ensure costs are properly managed.

The foundation for a successful TEM system is based on the cleaned telecom data created after a comprehensive audit. This information should include all of the following:

  • Vendor name and account number(s).
  • Inventories of all telephone numbers, circuits, DIDs, and other services.
  • Average monthly utilization.
  • Location of all services.
  • Current contract pricing.

This data serves as the basis for validating monthly vendor invoices, allowing for immediate identification and correction of all errors.

The current TEM environment

Years ago, many vendors jumped on the TEM bandwagon, providing cost containment services that were at best surface-level. Organizations may have saved some money but a component of the analysis often appeared to be missing.

Many times, VIE Healthcare Consulting has been brought in to review a health system’s telecommunication spend, where there is a vendor engaged, only to identify additional and significant cost reduction opportunities that were left unnoticed.

VIE Healthcare often reviews a health system’s telecom spend only to identify significant cost savings that are left unnoticed by the vendor. Click To Tweet

What should your organization expect?

The process of deciding on and engaging with a vendor is crucial for every health system.

The vendor is responsible for ensuring that all telecommunication services are accurate each month prior to remitting payment.

Additionally, these vendors will advocate for their clients when billing errors exist, ensuring that corrections are made and all overcharges are credited back to the account.

Finding the right vendor is the challenge. If you google ‘TEM vendors’ your search will return hundreds of results – so how do you choose?

Here’s my advice.

5 key considerations when deciding on a TEM vendor

When selecting your TEM vendor, these are the most important factors to consider:

  • Extensive knowledge of telecommunication services: First and foremost, the prospective vendor should possess an in-depth knowledge of telecommunication services, both legacy and new technology. The healthcare industry tends to have a mix of older and newer services so the TEM vendor should be able to understand your organization’s environment.
  • Vendor neutrality: Your chosen TEM service provider should not have any ties to telecom vendors. Commissions and other perks can unknowingly skew recommendations made to an organization. You may receive cost reductions on services but potentially not the best available pricing.
  • Experience in the industry: As noted previously, there are many TEM services available, some of which may not have the specific experience required to manage a healthcare system. Seeking advice from peers is a great way to find a successful vendor as well as identify those who are not.
  • Comprehensive, real-time reporting tools: Visibility into your telecom data is the key to understanding and reducing costs. The purpose of engaging a TEM vendor is to have this access via an online reporting tool or dashboard.
  • Quarterly management meetings: Quarterly meetings are essential to review the current environment, discuss upcoming contract renewals and plan for system upgrades. Your TEM vendor should be an extension of your organization’s internal resources, assisting in all decisions associated with telecommunication services.

VIE Healthcare: Leader in Telecommunication Expense Management Services

Founded in 1999, VIE Healthcare has extensive experience of providing management services to the telecommunication departments of health systems across the country.

Our expertise is comprised of the following:

  • A comprehensive knowledge of services utilized by the healthcare industry. This includes older services as well as newer. This information allows VIE Healthcare to assist telecom professionals in the industry manage their departments.
  • Extensive data on available pricing for services. Many times, a healthcare organization is not aware of the pricing they are able to obtain. At VIE Healthcare, we provide our clients with this critical information to assist in securing best pricing.
  • An ability to compile large amounts of raw telecom data creating information that is easily reviewed and understood. Telecom data is voluminous and at times can be overwhelming. VIE Healthcare has a proprietary system that processes this data into reports and dashboards that bring clarity and visibility into all telecom costs.
  • Contract negotiation: VIE Healthcare offers negotiation services to ensure that the best pricing and terms are secured in your telecommunication agreements.
  • Technology recommendations: VIE Healthcare assists healthcare managers in making the vendor selection and choosing services appropriate for your facility’s operations.

Contact VIE Healthcare today to discuss how we can assist your organization in managing and reducing your telecommunication costs. For a complimentary consultation, call our office at 1-888-484-3332, Ext 500 or email us at info@viehealthcare.com.