Column | Finance and Business Strategy

How it works: hfm’s ‘Expert Reviewed’ status is hard earned

Column | Finance and Business Strategy

How it works: hfm’s ‘Expert Reviewed’ status is hard earned

Brad Dennison

Brad Dennison

Eric Reese, PhD

Eric Reese

We recently received an email from a longtime member asking some thoughtful questions about how hfm’s “Expert Reviewed” content receives that status. After a thorough explanation and a little back and forth, the member came back with this: “What you described deserves to be said through a bigger megaphone.”

So here we are with a megaphone and an explainer of how our most sacred content earns the distinguished designation.

More commonly referred to as “peer reviewed” content among journals, our “Expert Reviewed” articles have been through a rigorous process prior to being published. Anyone is welcome to submit an article or proposal for consideration, but only a fraction of what we receive makes it all the way through our process — we receive hundreds of articles and proposals annually and publish two to four per month. Just to get this out of the way, we rule out articles deemed too salesy, too ambiguous or overly broad, among other reasons. We don’t even ask our reviewers to consider articles like that. And frankly, an article isn’t going anywhere if we don’t think it’s going to help members do their jobs better.

Consideration of an article starts with one of five HFMA editors who specialize in various areas of healthcare finance. Sometimes, an article is sent straight into the review process, but most likely, if we see something that has merit, we work with authors to do some sharpening first. Then it’s on to the reviewers.

HFMA has a panel about 75 volunteer reviewers with demonstrated expertise in various areas of healthcare and healthcare finance. When we have determined an article is ready for review, we send it to three reviewers who have expertise in the article’s topic area. And the reviewers typically send us their reviews within two weeks.

This is where things get interesting.

Results from reviewers come back to us in many combinations, from unanimously endorsing an article’s publishing, to unanimously panning an article, to two for publishing and one against — you get the idea. More likely, though, we receive some level of edits and feedback that would strengthen the article. Our editors work with the authors on revisions, and sometimes the article goes back to the authors for a complete overhaul. Once all the reviewer comments and any concerns raised by the editor have been addressed, the article is scheduled for publication in hfm and various e-newsletters, including HFMA Daily.

But it’s still not ready for prime time: The editor has yet to give it one final, in-depth edit to ensure it earns the prestigious tag of “Expert Reviewed,” so you can be confident the content has been through our extensive vetting process.

On a related note, we’d like to thank our reviewers — many of whom have been serving for years — for their dedication to making “Expert Reviewed” such a stringent and credible process. 

Learn more about our writing guidelines and how to submit an article.

About the Authors

Brad Dennison

is director of content strategy, HFMA, Westchester, Ill.

Eric C. Reese, PhD,

is an editor and writer for HFMA, Westchester, Ill.

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