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TuitionManager Stood Out High Above Alternative Software Options for Memorial Health System

One of the leading healthcare organizations in Illinois, Memorial Health System of Springfield is a community-based, not-for-profit corporation dedicated to patient care, education, and research.

Memorial Health System's mission is to improve the health of the people and communities they serve. The health system includes Memorial Medical Center, Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital, Taylorville Memorial Hospital, Passavant Area Hospital, Memorial Home Services, Memorial Physician Services, Memorial Behavioral Health.

The organization has more than 6,700 staff members, partnering physicians, and hundreds of volunteers dedicated to improving the health of the communities they have served since 1897. In a year, they serve more than 40,000 inpatients, more than 667,000 outpatients and more than 125,000 patients in their four Emergency Departments. Their highly skilled team has a passion for excellence and is dedicated to providing a great patient experience for every patient every time.

All Memorial Health System affiliates participate in health screenings and educational events to further provide for the healthcare needs of their community. This exceptional organization offers its colleagues an extensive education assistance program that includes tuition reimbursement, certificate reimbursement, and a grant opportunity. Elle Gronewold, Workforce Development Program Facilitator, shared with us Memorial Health System's process and experience prior to implementing TuitionManager, their research and due diligence into adopting TuitionManager, and the exceptional benefits the organization has experienced from their TuitionManager system.

The TuitionManager platform is more than simply a data management system, but rather an entire platform through which the education assistance programs can be managed more efficiently allowing a better experience not only for the program facilitator but also the end-user.

Elle Gronewold

Workforce Development Program Facilitator

The Challenge

Elle provided background information about Memorial Health System's Education Assistance programs before implementing TuitionManager. "Prior to the implementation of the TuitionManager system in FY17, the past 16 years of historical data for all of Memorial's education assistance programs were housed in an Excel spreadsheet. Over the years, as the program changed hands the integrity of the data had decreased. In addition to the lack of effective data management, several processes lacked efficiency due to the design of the education assistance programs. Applications and documents were received via fax, email, interoffice mail, USPS, or in person. Documents were submitted constantly, and the program facilitator had to sort and file documents on a continual basis. The program facilitator was handling hundreds of emails and phone requests each week and having challenges keeping up with the vast amount of demands. The lack of a streamlined process had caused significant errors in processing of applications and reimbursements over the past several years."

Due to the errors and difficulty of keeping up with the inefficient process, Memorial Health System decided to re-evaluate their education program and benefits. "During FY16, our team had done a significant amount of work developing proposed changes to the Education Assistance programs in order to increase the efficiency of the program and to assure that the programs continued to meet the strategic needs of our organization," explained Elle. "This program review included researching data management and program management platforms." Memorial Health System began to explore different options and vendors to replace its inefficient, cumbersome education assistance process.

The Solution

Before selecting TuitionManager to manage their education benefits, Memorial Health System conducted a thorough search and comprehensive due diligence. "We met with a variety of consultants regarding Access database and participated in demonstrations of a variety of cloud-based software solutions," Elle said. "Given the amount of money that had been lost from the organization because of the previous inefficiencies that we saw in the current processes and reporting capabilities, the TuitionManager platform stood out high above the rest for our health system's education assistance needs," reported Elle.

TuitionManager is an affordable, effective software solution for organizations to automate, streamline, administer, manage, and analyze their education benefits programs. Compared to alterative options, TuitionManager provides the best functionality and capabilities at a competitive price.

The Results

Memorial Health System has streamlined their education assistance process and greatly benefited from implementing TuitionManager. Elle described to us TuitionManager and its benefits. "The TuitionManager platform is more than simply a data management system, but rather an entire platform through which the education assistance programs can be managed more efficiently allowing a better experience not only for the program facilitator but also the end-user." Elle listed the benefits of TuitionManager, which include "one-stop place that allows individuals to submit their application and supporting documentation all in one system, ease of access, integrates with our HRIS system (Lawson) so that documents are stored within an individual's record, automated approval process, and robust reporting capabilities."

One-stop place that allows individuals to submit their application and supporting documentation all in one system

When Memorial Health System began researching options on how to improve their education assistance process, their objective was to eliminate the inefficiencies and errors that were occurring from their Excel and paper-based process. TuitionManager enables colleagues to easily submit applications and follow-up documentation. The system provides automatic email notifications alerting colleagues and approvers when an action is required or confirming an action was taken. TuitionManager's capabilities and functionality standardized the way information and documentation is submitted. Elle noted that their new TuitionManager system was a way to "increase efficiencies for submitting documentation." Having a single place and way to submit documentation was a substantial improvement from documentation being submitted "via fax, email, interoffice mail, USPS, or even in person" previously.

Ease of Access

TuitionManager gives colleagues and administrators the ability to use and access the system anytime from any device. According to Elle, the accessibility of the system is one of its valuable benefits. "The software is easy to use and can be accessed from anywhere since it is a cloud-based portal and does not just have to be accessed at work on the organization's intranet." Being able to access the system anywhere gives users the flexibility to submit or approve applications at their convenience.

Integrates with our HRIS system (Lawson) so that documents are stored within an individual's record

Elle explained how integrating their eligibility file with Lawson enables colleague eligibility status updates to be consistently sent to TuitionManager, automatically enforcing their policy guidelines. "Since a colleague is not eligible for our Education Assistance programs until they have been with the organization at least 3 months, this feature helps us determine which individuals are eligible based on the hire date that is pulled into the TuitionManager platform weekly. For the first 3 months of employment, if a colleague tries to access the system and submit an application it will not allow them to until they have hit that 3-month anniversary and then the system will grant them access." With TuitionManager, Memorial Health's program facilitator can rely on the system to enforce eligibility rules.

Automated approval process

Elle also explained how TuitionManager electronically routes applications through Memorial Health System's predefined approval chain. "By being able to integrate with our Lawson system, it also allows for a more efficient approval process for our Education Assistance programs than we had previously had. Prior to implementing TuitionManager, all education assistance applications were paper copies and the colleague would have to receive the handwritten signatures of their direct leader and system leader before submitting their completed application to our department for final approval. Through the TuitionManager system, the colleague completes the application through the system, the leader will be notified immediately via e-mail that they have an application pending their approval and within a click of a button they can review and approve the application within minutes and then the application will go to the next level leader for approval. After implementing the software in May 2017, we received a lot of positive feedback from our leaders and system leaders on how much more efficient the approval process was through the TuitionManager platform." Having the applications electronically routed to direct leaders and system leaders eliminates employees having to interrupt them or track them down to get their approval. Instead, approvers have the flexibility to approve applications at their convenience, a significant benefit to approvers that may not always be in the office and with busy schedules.

Robust reporting capabilities

TuitionManager's reporting functionality allows Memorial Health to create custom reports as needed. Elle described the robust reporting capabilities and how they are beneficial to Memorial Health. "This is a great feature that the system offers. The system is setup, so you are able to build and create your own reports. What is nice about this is that you are able to report on any field within the application, so it allows you to really have the opportunity to customize your reports based on your organization's specific needs. We are still in the process of creating all of our reports that we need for our Education Assistance programs, but I am excited to see all the different ways that we are able to showcase the data to show the ROI of our Education Assistance programs." Organizations that replace their manual process with TuitionManager find that they experience a significant return on investment due to the cost savings and time savings from replacing an inefficient, paper dependent process.

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