Why Medical Credentialing Accessibility is a Must

- May 26, 2016 -

Accessibility (noun): the quality of being available when needed

Unexpected and time-sensitive credentialing tasks can come up so it’s important to always be prepared. To do so, you need accessibility and you need the right tools that can support that urgency. In many situations—especially in your role as the credential manager—accessibility determines your level of efficiency and convenience.

The credentialing process has depended on physical record-keeping (ie., stone tablets and parchment paper) since its beginning. Though “hard-copies” are comforting to have on hand or put away in a cabinet, they are one of the least accessible forms of information, and have been proven to slow down workflows. They could also be the root of your credentialing issues.

We believe that paperwork and fax machines, both of which rank lower on the efficiency and accessibility totem poles, will eventually become obsolete. Paperwork may never disappear *completely*, but our team is helping credential managers and administrators cut down on an overwhelming amount... and replace it with something more functional and more accessible.

Let’s take a look at some of the consequences of poor accessibility in the credentialing process. If you’ve found yourself in some of these situations, you’re overdue for a new credentialing system.  

Your can’t access your center’s provider information from anywhere at anytime, especially when you really need to.

AAAHC is in the lobby waiting to inspect—surprise! The problem? The credential files are at your CVO’s office on the opposite side of town. When your credentialing system lacks accessibility, there is no safety net if the files are not with you. In fact, it’s a big problem when the center has no physical proof that its providers are qualified and legally allowed to practice at your facility at that moment.

Without the files or a access to a credentialing spreadsheet, it’s impossible to tell how many physicians have completed, missing, or expired document. Even if the files are present, you cannot find the information at glance. Delays are more frequent in workflows that are less accessible.

Credentialing accessibility is also an important measure of convenience for the person managing the files. One of our customers, Claudia, found it difficult to work with paper files because of the lack of centralization. After consolidating the medical staff credentials into Silversheet, her favorite part was that all information is now accessible online which allows for greater flexibility. Read her case study here.

The paperwork is overwhelming and you have to lug around boxes of files.

When files can’t be accessed from anytime and anywhere, your best bet is to carry them with you. The paper provider files for centers with upwards of 70 providers can become pretty heavy and tiresome to lug around. We’ve seen some centers’ credential managers travel with heavy duty rolling carts stacked with credential files… does this scenario sound familiar to you?

People find peace of mind in maintaining hardcopies of important data when dealing with tools that lack accessibility. When there is an overwhelming amount of paperwork, the information becomes more difficult to organize and keep track of.

Implementing an accessible system will streamline your workflow while significantly reducing the busywork that comes with paper. Filing cabinets, messy folders, entire rooms devoted to holding papers - it's enough to make any administrator go insane. Going paperless by adopting accessible digital systems is quickly becoming standard across many industries to create more efficient workflows. Increased organization means that there will be less errors—expired licenses, missing verifications—slipping through the cracks.

It’s more complicated to work with a credentialing team.

One of the more complicated issues of working with a low-accessibility system is when the work is divided among a credentialing team. They can divide and conquer x amount of files per person, but the information needs to be consolidated into one master location that should be easy to access.

The risks? Miscommunication can easily occur when multiple people are dealing with many files with very similar documents and dates. On teams that have more than one person working on a provider file, duplication is very likely to occur.   

Take this organizer situation as an example: When a center has 3 credential managers working on files, they each update a organizer that they’ll send others to update. What if someone enters their information in another organizer that is not currently the most updated? It’s time-consuming and a meticulous job manage different organizers. It also doesn’t make sense to all work around the same one.

There were credentialing errors in your center’s previous inspections.

In 2015, the most common errors in The Joint Commission came from the medical staff credentialing department. The statistic is not so shocking when you learn that the majority of the errors came from centers with obsolete credentialing systems.

You need an effective and accessible system to lower the risk of credentialing errors and delays. Not doing so can impact your ASC’s inspection results.  Working with paper files is overall less manageable than working with a cloud-based technology that can automatically organize and verify credentials.

At the end of the day, accessibility is important if you want to become more efficient. There are helpful tools like Google Spreadsheets and Silversheet that increase the accessibility of credentialing information.

If you’re curious about the highly accessible, automated, and paperless credentialing tool we’ve been mentioning in this article, request a demo to see it in action.

Schedule a Demo