Talkin' SaaS

Modernizing CE for Regulators with CE Broker’s Kelly Parker

May 20, 2024 Renee Moseley
Modernizing CE for Regulators with CE Broker’s Kelly Parker
Talkin' SaaS
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Talkin' SaaS
Modernizing CE for Regulators with CE Broker’s Kelly Parker
May 20, 2024
Renee Moseley

CE Broker's Sr. Director of External Affairs & Government Relations Kelly Parker shares the modernization trends related to continuing education, such as process optimization and user-centric services. She reveals how a modern CE system helps simplify the licensing process for your staff—and the licensed professionals you serve. 

GL Solutions helps governments run, grow and adapt. For more information about GL Solutions and our modernization service for regulatory agencies, visit us on the web at www.glsolutions.com. Or connect with us via Facebook, X or LinkedIn. Reach our host, Sam Hardin, at hardin@glsolutions.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

Show Notes Transcript

CE Broker's Sr. Director of External Affairs & Government Relations Kelly Parker shares the modernization trends related to continuing education, such as process optimization and user-centric services. She reveals how a modern CE system helps simplify the licensing process for your staff—and the licensed professionals you serve. 

GL Solutions helps governments run, grow and adapt. For more information about GL Solutions and our modernization service for regulatory agencies, visit us on the web at www.glsolutions.com. Or connect with us via Facebook, X or LinkedIn. Reach our host, Sam Hardin, at hardin@glsolutions.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

Sam Hardin:

Hey everyone this is Sam Hardin with GL Solutions and this is the Talkin' SaaS podcast. On this podcast, I talk with regulatory leaders about the important topics within the industry. Today I have Kelly Parker. Hi, Kelly. How are you doing?

Kelly Parker:

Doing great. Happy to be here and to chat with you today. Awesome. Why don't you break it down for us? Give us your name, Great. Yeah. I'm Kelly Parker. I'm the Director of External Affairs and Government Relations for Propelus. And on a daily basis, I manage and oversee multi state legislative and regulatory strategies to better support our partners. And at Propelus we bring together three innovative products: CE Broker, Evercheck and Immuware. All focused on compliance that transforms the way state boards, regulators, professional licensees, employers, everyone works better together. And so today, I'm super excited to share more about CE Broker. But I know you asked about my background. So I'll share. I consider myself a public servant at heart. I've spent the majority of my career working in state government in various states and various roles. And I think most significant to what I do today, I have been the executive leader of healthcare regulatory agencies. Therefore, I have that firsthand experience position, company background. And we'll start there. and truly understand the complexity to the regulatory

Sam Hardin:

Gotcha. Awesome. Well, thanks for that. So let me landscape pain points, and all of the challenges that some of our partners have. get it clear. So Propelus is the parent company and CE Broker is a subsidiary of that? Or is it just a new name that I'm not up to date with?

Kelly Parker:

Sorry. So it's actually CE Broker by Propelus Okay. Well, for today's purposes, we are talking

Sam Hardin:

Gotcha. is what our product is known as. Propelus is our parent company name. continuing education. And so tell me a little bit about how CE Broker is. How it's used. Who uses it. What do they use it for? You know, in full disclosure, in my personal life, I don't have a lot of exposure to continuing education. You know, I did sell timeshares in Maui for about six months. So I had to have my real estate license for that. So that's really the only personal exposure I have from the business side of things. But yeah, break it down for us. What does CE Broker do?

Kelly Parker:

Yeah, no, definitely. Well, to your point, I mean, I feel like continuing education or continuing professional development, continuous learning, I think it's relevant in a lot of professional spaces. But most of the time when we deal with it through CE broker, it's because it's required as a component of licensure. And so, you know, a regulatory board has three core duties. And I can say this. I used to be a regulator and so, licensure, enforcement and regulation. And so not only do you have to, as a regulator, ensure licensees are qualified and competent to receive that initial license. But you also have to ensure that they are competent, and they maintain their competency through continuing education to ensure that they qualify for that renewal license. But quite honestly, that piece to the puzzle can be really complex, really confusing and just cause sometimes a headache for licensees and board staff. CE Broker is basically a modernized full lifecycle continuing education management solution for that purpose for licensing boards that connects to the entire regulatory ecosystem for free. Our product has been around for over 20 years, and over time, we've enhanced and elevated our product to meet the needs of our partner boards and professionals. But we've also significantly grown our footprint. Today, we currently partner with over 250 licensure boards in over half of the US states supporting millions of professionals every day. And you asked how we do it as far as the unique users and I would share that from the perspective of regulatory licensing boards, our board suite is totally customized to match profession specific laws and rules and is used to complete paperless audits, monitor compliance reports, review courses, review provider applications, and even enforce disciplinary educational requirements. And then we also have two other suites. We have a suite for you know the licensee and the licensee experience as I like to call it that gives them just the total tools for success. So, we provide professionals with accounts where they can report CPE credits, respond to audits, find approved continuing education offerings and manage anything they need to do with regard to continuing education for that licensure renewal. And then finally, I would say we are also integrated with board approved educational providers through our providers suite. And providers can apply for any necessary board approvals, publish accredited offerings and report attendance rosters or completion data on behalf of licensees. And I think the cool thing about all of it, and the connection through a universal platform is that it's all in real time. So if a licensee is reporting, self reporting continuing education credit, they will instantly instantly see that update on their transcript or if a provider is reporting on behalf of the licensee, it will immediately go to their transcript and the board will immediately have access to it.

Sam Hardin:

Okay. Now, let me ask you a question. And correct me if I'm wrong. There's a continuing education marketplace

Kelly Parker:

Well, I mean, I think that's a good analogy for sure. I like to say that we are simply the tool, right, that out there. And where licensees can go and select, you know, connects the entire system. So it is that bridge, I think one Pearson's a big name, right? Or other companies that provide thing that's super important always to point out from our end continuing education and the licensee can go select that. You are providing the bridge, from that marketplace to the is that we do not create our own content. Or nor do we approve licensees and to the regulatory board? Do I have that correct? content for boards. So everything that we connect to is board approved, because that's what the board has told us through their laws and rules. And licensees, you know, respectfully, they are super busy. And a lot of times, you know, it's at the 12 hour when they realize that they don't have maybe an hour or two missing, that they need to renew that license. And so it really gives them the convenience as well as the flexibility to not just report track and do everything they need to do on a regular basis. But also, if they're in that 12 hour stretch, and they need to find something, we can connect you with something that most likely is going to qualify for your license renewal.

Sam Hardin:

Gotcha. So expands the options makes it easier, and kind of has that A to Z. You know, the whole process for continuing education with the board. So okay, that provides me a little bit better picture. So let's talk about, so you talked about the perspective boards, and you guys are largely in kind of the healthcare industry. How did that come about? I mean, was that kind of from your background? Or, you know, where did that come from? Focusing more on the on the healthcare industry within state agencies?

Kelly Parker:

Yeah, no, great question. And you know, CE Brooker as I mentioned, we've been around for over 20 years. We were actually born out of the Florida Legislature, as I like to say, back I think it was 2002ish. The Florida legislature said all of the boards and all of the licensees under the Department of Health need to modernize processes and born was CE Broker. And so at this point, when you fast forward 20ish years, we've now to date worked with about 350 unique profession types, you know, throughout those 250 boards. And today, we tend to work mainly with healthcare and or mental behavioral health care boards, but we definitely support others. For instance, when we work with a department, we work with all profession types, healthcare and non healthcare because those seeking a top down approach, want the same solution, same type of digital government services for every single board. So it definitely has nothing to do with my background. But I would say that the company is very passionate about supporting those that need, you know, can provide services to the community and connected to the health care space as far as not just healthcare boards, but also state and national healthcare associations.

Sam Hardin:

Gotcha. So I want to touch on and so you mentioned the top down initiatives and trends related to continuing education management. Can you kind of talk about why are we seeing this more and more? Or, you know, what this is evolving into?

Kelly Parker:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think we are seeing this push because of higher level initiatives for government modernization that involves not only agency process optimization, but also focus on user centric services for the professional. So it It's not just about eliminating the barriers to get a license anymore. But it's also about reducing the burdens to maintain a license. So we're seeing, you know, push for a lot less red tape, red tape, rollback acts, and just quite honestly, more simplicity for everyone. You know, you want to modernize government services. I've also heard simply that, you know, in some states, they're saying government services should act and work at the speed of private business. And so I think there's that thought process out there. But then it's also what does the user need? And the user is not just staff, it's the licensed professional that's interacting with the system on a daily basis for that license renewal purpose.

Sam Hardin:

Yeah, I think you're so right. I see the same thing in the industry, you know. I think it's unfairly kind of attached to government, especially in the IT world where, you know, everybody thinks of like, oh, gosh, the DMV, you know, terrible. But I see a lot of these states looking to say, you know, we need to focus on the licensees experience. We need to be able to modernize in the way that people are utilizing private, you know, your, your normal, Amazon type websites, you know, what I mean. We need to be able to offer those same type of services. So seems like continuing education and CE Brokers kind of leading the way in that as well.

Kelly Parker:

No, absolutely, I mean. I would just add kind of a little something to share, like to that point. I mean I wasn't an executive director that modernized continuing education management services myself. So I have my own horror stories. I mean, I've had room fills, you know, room full with paper, floor to ceiling, licensees, super upset or frustrated with the board during peak renewal seasons, not knowing if their CE was being accepted, not knowing if they're understanding the requirements, you know. I think it's just a push, ultimately, and including transparency as well, like just ensuring licensees, again, have the tools they need necessary to do what they need to not only get licensed, but stay licensed, because the bigger picture there is that it ensures, especially when dealing with health care markets or healthcare environment is that ensures continuity of care for the community itself.

Sam Hardin:

Absolutely. So let's say that I want to talk about the marketplace for continuing education. So kind of tailoring it back to what we talked about in the beginning. So if somebody were to go out to your website, let's kind of walk them through the experience. So I'm assuming they would like to choose their state, right? They might choose their profession or occupation or profession, and maybe like a subject area, and then your website would say, oh, here are all the options for you to choose from, from continuing education. Is that just trying to play out the user experience?

Kelly Parker:

Yeah, no. Yeah, great question. Happy to provide clarity. As of right now, the user experience is only available to individuals that are regulated by boards that actually have a contract with CE Broker. So it's basically once they log into their CE Broker account, not so much our website, but the CE Broker account, through account options, they will be able to see tags like take it here, find courses or link to search course mechanisms, that will, you know, they can do search terms, or search for terms and they'll be able to find what they need. And find what's not only quality content, but board approved content. Because the only content that they will be able to see is what's been approved by their board according to the laws and the rules. And so if they're looking for content, and they find something, let's say for instance, human trafficking. I have to do human trafficking for my renewal. I haven't done it anywhere else, even though I could. It's at the 12th hour and here's my take, you know, I see my take it here button. Press that button, it'll link to courses. I have the option of choosing which course I can do, but then again, as a licensee, I can trust that that course is going to be automatically accepted by the board because it's been vetted through the appropriate measures through laws, rules, etc. And so I can have confidence in that selection and take that course and feel that I've met my requirements.

Sam Hardin:

Yeah, I can see that having that curated list that's approved by the board, that would be super helpful because it's like, I don't have to worry about whether this is going to create any complications in my renewal process or anything. I know this is taken care of. I know if I just do this. It's easy. So that makes a lot of sense to me. But so with that, though, I want to talk about so you said that it's only available to people that through a board that's contracted with CE Broker. So I'm assuming this is kind of like plugged into the licensing system for that regulatory board. So would they go to their website where they go on to renew their license? Maybe? And then they would see like a link to log into their CE Broker account? Is that usually how you set it up? Or is it kind of separated? Because I'm thinking like, you know, I'm a licensee. Let's say, I'm an accountant in Nevada, and I need to go renew my license. But you know, to renew my license, I know, I have to do so many hours of continuing education. So I go to my renewal website, you know, on the state accountancy board website, and then it just directs me straight to, to my CE Broker login account.

Kelly Parker:

I'm happy to provide clarity there too. So I would say kind of the baseline standard. And what we're seeing in all gov tech markets, when it deals with third party applications is integration via API. And so that is, ideally how we integrate with a board is integrate directly into their licensure system. And so when going through that license renewal process, and they have that API integration, they'll receive messages. Right like you are applying to CE Broker or you need to check your compliance and CE Broker that messaging kind of determines or depends on the board, and what they want to say or how they want to message the individual. But they will have those, I call them enhanced customer service features in which they will be triggered to say, hey, you need to go check this or you may not be compliant before you renew. And so then the licensee would then be able to log into their CE Broker account and be able to troubleshoot if you will, or evaluate determine you need to proceed with that renewal. Now through that API as well, if they have everything that they need, like 100% of our certificates are reported, and we met all of our requirements in that particular renewal cycle, they will be able to proceed with the process and just say, hey, you know, you're you're good to go and proceed forward. But it does give them that enhanced customer service piece where it's like, if you're not, or if you didn't think about it, you better go check before you proceed. later down the road have an issue, right. The last thing licensees want is to be dinged for an administrative fine, or disciplinary action, for failing to meet CE requirements. So it really is kind of that customer friendly experience and just enhancing customer service of what the board's offer through that API integration. We can also a number of times you and depending on departments, depending on the size, you know, we we've have had situations where we've integrated via single sign on as well with our licensing partners. But I would say the trend, and really the again, the baseline standard is the integration through that API experience where there's some connection and some trigger. So it still feels like an all in one package.

Sam Hardin:

Yeah, and it's not. So it sounds like there's also some customization available to to the board to say, you know, 90 days in advance to renewal, we want to send them a little reminder about their CE or something like that. And then they can kind of generate, you know, when does that get sent? What message is sent? What do we want to tell these people? ,

Kelly Parker:

To that point, you know, we definitely consider ourselves a partner throughout the journey, you know, for both the board, staff and ease. And so all of our boards are assigned a dedicated client success manager. And so they'll really start about six months out and saying, like, here are the best practices to move forward. This is what we've seen that works. This is what we know that works, to kind of get your licensee population ready to go. So not just through the experience of the solution itself. But we also really work on engagement with our partner boards. Maybe it's sending emails out separately social media posts, putting information on their website. I think when we do that too licensees have that assurance of like, yes, this is, you know, I understand what I need to do. I'm not surprised at the last minute that I have to go create or log into my CE Broker account. It's just, you know, the engagement piece all along really helps as well is having that integration into the system.

Sam Hardin:

So there's some education there. They're getting that information well in advance, and it's keeping them up to date, which which is nice. So that makes a lot more sense. Thanks for explaining that to me. So let's say if you're a board or department and you want to integrate with CE Broker or you want to provide a solution in conjunction with CE Broker? What does that look like? How is that set up? How are you able to create that relationship and work with the board?

Kelly Parker:

Yeah, great question. I would say most of the time, these days, we kind of see boards or departments reach out in two different phases, if you will, of lifecycle of the agency. It's either we're looking to modernize, you know, brand new system. And when we're either the department's rolling out a brand new system, they are also looking to integrate third party applications. So we'll get some interest a lot of times we've heard too like we know other states use CE Broker, so we want to incorporate CE Broker because one thing we're able to do that some of the single solutions can't or haven't been able to, to date, it's just we're able to manage and track those multi state licenses. And so I think, a big piece of the licensure conversation these days as well, it's like honor, the single state licensees, you know. It's like, what can you do to better support your professional with that multi state license. And so some will come to us during that agency modernization, you know, revamp, if you will, brand new system, and we want to make sure we can support that multi state licensure. So we'll integrate CE Broker and then some just have longstanding end to end solutions that work. They're like we want to do one better. Now it's time to go back and kind of you know, refresh and update certain things. And we want to include CE Broker, not in our new system in our current standing system. So kind of two buckets, like, you know, brand new adventure, and then the other ones, like, we just want to improve what we offer to our licensees. And so if they are interested, you know, we have conversations all the time with boards independently, or departments independently. We've also been involved in some task force in Georgia, as well as in some conversations in Texas and Indiana, and their modernization Task Force recently. And so we couldn't make connections in the community to open up those doors of conversation for this purpose. But, you know, ultimately too a lot of times we hear from our licensing vendor partners that, hey, we have a client or prospective client that's interested. How can we work together to really modernize for the full benefit for them. So we usually, you know, doing independently through our outreach and engagement, or, again, our licensing vendor partners have been great at giving us referrals as well, and introducing us to a lot of clients that they think are a good fit for our services. One thing too, I wanted to mention about CE Broker, which I kind of alluded to it earlier, but just to call out, you know, I think one of the most attractive things about CE Broker in that integration with a licensing system is that we are completely free to the state. So for the past, you know, 20ish years, we have never charged the state agency, one dime at any point, whether its initial customization, implementation, or further development. You know, a lot of these boards see continuing education changes or changes to the requirements at some point. And if they come back to us and say, hey, we need to add a profession or add a new rule or add a new requirement that's never a charge. And so I think that's one of the things that's really attractive is that we're so flexible, dynamic and just customizable for our partner. And it's absolutely free. And when we integrate with a licensing vendor, whether new opportunity or current long standing solution, it's always free for us to integrate. Now, full transparency, sometimes there is a slight small fee from the licensing vendor. And it really depends on the vendor, but never from us. So I would say, you know, when I was an executive director, and we modernized I used to say this was like creating a whole continuing education department. Like I felt like I just had all of these staff to do everything because I had this support, the client success team. I had the technology. It really was creating a whole department but it really wasn't that. It was just the technology. And when you modernize it just makes everything 10 times better.

Sam Hardin:

I'm really glad you brought up that pricing because I was I was just about to ask that question. But then also, I love what you said about it's a whole continuing education department. That's just a great way to think about it is I guess. This is required. It's kind of complicated. You know, if done well and set up it improves the licensees life and also the agency's life a lot and so it's almost like having your own, you know, task force department or team that's just managing that for you. And so you don't have to worry about it. I really like the way that you put that. So it makes a lot of sense to me. Let's talk future stuff. Let's talk what's coming up. Let's talk about what's going on in the world of state regulatory. So I know there's, you know, a lot of states are looking to join joint compacts. There's the whole idea and movement behind universal recognition. Looks like that's coming. That's here. So you kind of touched on it a little bit earlier, but it looks like CE Broker is totally on board with being able to support those joint compacts, or any kind of state, multi-state agreements that are out there. So can you just touch on future trends - what you see coming down the pipeline? How you guys are kind of adapting to the new world of what's coming down the pipeline for state regulatory agencies?

Kelly Parker:

Absolutely. As I noted earlier, you know, I'm a former regulator. I have done state government licensing work for quite some time. And it's funny. A long time ago, like they used to embrace reciprocity. It kind of went away. And even reciprocity, it's coming back, right? But it's just not your traditional one way to get a license anymore. And so to your point, we're seeing compacts and universal recognition, reciprocity, all of these other alternative pathways to kind of fill the void and fill the needs for the community in general, especially in the healthcare space. And so I think one thing we understand greatly as a company for over the last 20 years in the industry is that your solution needs to adapt to the environment and not the other way around. So we have definitely adopted to this new way, this new environment. And specifically when you mentioned compacts, you know, one thing I'm super proud about, I've had the pleasure and the honor to work directly with them is the interstate medical licensure compact. And if anyone is familiar with that, it's a pathway to expedited licensure. And it is not a mutual recognition model when you deal with compact models. And so the difference there is that, for instance, with the medical compact, every single licensee that goes through the compact to get a license has to then comply with the CE requirements in each state for which they're granted that expedited licensure. So, you know, I may have had a traditional license one way, but I went and got a compact license through the medical compact in five other states. Well, guess what, now I have to keep up with those CE requirements in five different states, not just my home state. So, again, to alleviate that burden. We had some conversations. Actually one of our partner boards said, Hey, Kelly, can you can you talk to the interstate medical licensure compact, and help us out further and see if there's a way to streamline things for us a little bit more? And it really triggered some super productive conversations. And today, we actually have a connection and an integration, working on the integration with the interstate medical licensure compact to streamline that renewal experience for licensees and also allow them to better manage their CE requirements for each state in which they receive a compact license. So ultimately, you know, to your point, it's like we have to find ways in which we can adapt to that environment and keep up with the trends in licensure and compacts. You know, we can work with anyone but the medical compact is just a great example of CE is definitely involved in that for the licensees. And we've already made forward moves, and super excited just to continue to partner with boards and the interstate medical licensure compact to continue to, you know, push that relationship and just support the community, but most importantly, make it super easy for the licensed professional.

Sam Hardin:

Are you able to talk about any, you know, future functionalities or features that you guys are excited about or that the application is coming out with? I know, sometimes you guys are not able to speak about it. So I don't want to put you under the spotlight or anything. If you are Is there anything that's coming down the pipeline that you guys are excited about to offer to the industry?

Kelly Parker:

Yeah, no, I mean, I It's like, where to start and what to say. What I think, you know, obviously, everyone is talking about AI and Gen AI. And I think it's fair to say we have already made moves to implement tools that incorporate safe and reasonable use of AI in our solution. You know, for instance, like others I know, think about chatbots to allow users to get instantaneous answers to questions for more customer friendly service. We have a few other things, you know, work in progress. But bottom line, we are embracing AI in a safe and reasonable way. And I would just note that it's also being really cognizant about the fact that with AI a lot of state governments don't know what they're going to be allowed to do with it at this point. Sometimes there's a taskforce still being formed to decide what that forward look is on the regulated use of AI and state government services. I've seen some crazy things. It's like I've seen, you must have, you know, so many human interactions, you know, when you're providing state government services. Or you have to have a disclaimer or disclosure that the licensee is interacting with AI. So we're trying to be really smart about it. But also at the same time, I mean, I think we're just a product led organization. And so we're definitely going to embrace and advance where we can and continuing to work on some opportunities behind the scenes for that purpose.

Sam Hardin:

Yeah, it's definitely coming. I think it's inevitable. It's kind of funny. I see a split with states. Right? I see some states that, as you mentioned, are creating the task force. And some of the task force are to say, you know, we want to basically protect ourselves from AI, and we kind of want to put up a barrier or a wall against AI. And other states are putting taskforces together to say, you know, how do we regulate this? How do we safely imiplement with AI? And what can we use it for? So it's kind of a mixed bag right now, from what I'm understanding. Maybe you have a different perspective. But you know, some states are totally with it and saying, okay, we understand it's powerful. And, you know, we need to utilize it the right way. And it's got to be regulated. And then other other states are like, no we want nothing to do with it at this moment.

Kelly Parker:

Absolutely. It can be scary, to some. So that's why I feel like you know, for us, it's always about like safe and reasonable and just being really smart about how we're using it and what we're using it for.

Sam Hardin:

Why don't you go ahead and tell people, how they can get in touch with you. How they can contact CE Broker, maybe some events that you are going to be at. Or how to get in touch with you if they have any questions or, or want to talk about anything continuing education.

Kelly Parker:

Happy to. So to learn more about CE Boker by Propelus you can always visit www.propelus.com and select CE Broker under the solutions. I would also encourage any listeners to follow our LinkedIn pages. For instance, this month is nurses month. And since we already have a heavy connection to the environment, and the nursing community, including the Daisy Foundation, we just believe in giving back to the nursing community and others. And so we have a lot of campaigns that run through our LinkedIn pages, as well as a lot of just ways to follow what we're doing and how we're partnering with the community to better support them. So the LinkedIn pages are always super helpful in addition to the

Sam Hardin:

All right. Any events or anything like that website. coming up? I know you are at a lot of conferences.

Kelly Parker:

We're always excited to go to some really good conferences. I think it's going to be hard to do last year at CLEAR we actually had puppies at the booth.

Sam Hardin:

I don't know if that can be beaten. Yeah, that's kind of the pinnacle.

Kelly Parker:

Someone joked and said, babies. But no, I don't know about that moving forward as far as like if we'll ever have the puppies again. But I will say we'll definitely be at some conferences coming up. We'd love to connect with our current partners and meet new regulators. And so I think in the at least next few months, we're looking forward to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing Conference, which is later this summer. And I believe we'll see everyone again at CLEAR. This time in Baltimore in September.

Sam Hardin:

Awesome. All right. Well, thanks, Kelly. I appreciate you talking with me today.

Kelly Parker:

Yeah, thanks so much, Sam. It was such a great opportunity to sit down and chat with you more about this and I really appreciate it.