Agency CAHG became the first healthcare marketing shop to undergo training and certification in regulatory compliance through the Center for Communication Compliance, and its parent company, Omnicom, said all of its healthcare agencies will follow suit.

More than half of CAHG’s staff will be required to undergo annual training as a condition for employment, which has offices in Chicago and New York. That includes all client-facing staff “in a direct position to influence deliverables for clients,” said CEO Scott Cotherman.

“As there’s increasing scrutiny over the development of materials in support of our clients’ products and services, we feel responsibility to take a leadership position so that our clients have the confidence that we are able to provide them with the level of service they expect,” said Cotherman. “Innovation and risk mitigation are often at odds with each other, but it’s our responsibility to deliver the greatest possible innovation during a time of increased regulatory scrutiny.”

Tom Harrison, who heads Omnicom’s Diversified Agency Services unit, which includes the company’s healthcare businesses, said the firm is looking to get out in front of anticipated demand for such training, though not many clients are asking for it yet.

“We are being proactive in that we are certainly expecting most of our clients to demand this as a cost of doing business for and with them,” said Harrison. “It will make us more valuable communications partners. It is vital that clients’ agency partners be in tune and fully versed on the regulations as we develop communications strategies for our clients and their brands.”

The New York-based Center for Communication Compliance’s training consists of three one-hour modules covering the regulatory environment and the how-to of tactical execution, followed by a test.