Businesslike Management Necessary

“Medical schools must have rapid-fire, up-to-date information on measurable, critical success factors, including market share, expenditures and revenue sources. We face eroding federal and state support for medical research and education, so it is essential that we understand existing resources and identify the ones we need to grow as an organization,” says William Elger, newly selected national chair of the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Group on Business Affairs and chief financial officer of one of the largest academic research institutions in the United States. “Without the metrics to assess key performance measures, we won’t be top medical schools down the road.”

Elger, executive director for Administration and CFO of the University of Michigan Medical School, describes his institution’s answer to the highly competitive research and clinical care arenas in an article he authored, published in the April edition of Academic Medicine.

Elger’s article introduces a novel, web-based strategic reporting system to manage financial resources more effectively than traditional financial management systems. These simple, interactive tools allow a user to manipulate critical variables with a few clicks, making it easy to assess how, say, an unexpected increase in overhead costs at the school level would affect the need for additional federal grants so research expenses are covered. It also allows users to compare the cost of research by individual faculty and across departments.

“The tools we have developed at Michigan are allowing us to analyse and plan for where we want to go, rather than spending our time reporting on where we’ve been,” Elger says.

The next phase of the project will incorporate an alert system, in which an e-mail will be sent to users when variables being tracked fall outside expected parameters.; Source: University of Michigan Health System