Starting an Organized File System

- September 01, 2015 -

We’ve visited countless credential file systems and we’ve seen the good, the bad, and the unspeakable. The latter two will not get you far because managing credential files requires extensive organization skills for clearing your pathway to compliancy.

A strong system with organized individual files is essential to the process because it demonstrates credibility and creates a pattern of direction when locating specific documents. Not only is it beneficial for your daily workflow, but having clean organized files will also leave a good overall impression on your next accreditation survey

For managing your physician credential file, you need an organized filing system workflow that will cut time and avoid mistakes during preparation. The following are guidelines to help you build a filing system and individual files that will efficiently support your credential management workflow.

Physician / Nurse File Folders

In order to save time while hunting down a document, the way the inside of the folder is organized is just as important as the way it is on the outside. Reducing the strenuous paperwork sorting by organization will help you achieve higher compliance in a more efficient manner.

When you come across a physician with old files, keep them in the folder in case they are needed. In each section, the newest documents should be placed on top of older documents since you will most likely only need to refer to the most up-to-date files.

The file folders should have at least 2 dividers in the inside, creating a total of 6 or more sections. Designate each section of the folder to a particular segment of the documents and repeat the same order for every physician’s file.

The following is a credentialing expert-approved breakdown of a credential file folder:

  • Section 1: Facility Information
    • Appointment applications
    • Reappointment applications
    • Documentation for privileges granted
  • Section 2: Professional Information
    • American Medical Association (AMA)
    • Certificates of completion
    • Board Certificates and verifications
  • Section 3: Licenses
    • DEA
    • Life support
    • State Medical License
    • Fluoroscopy
  • Section 4: Malpractice Insurance
    • Insurance claims
    • OIG and NPDB queries
  • Section 5: Educational and Work History
    • Educational Diplomas
    • CV
  • Section 6: Miscellaneous
    • Peer reviews and reference letters
    • Health evaluations
    • Checklists

Hanging Folders

Alphabetizing and color-coding are among the fundamental methods of attacking clutter and organizing, especially when it comes to stacks of credential files. Our eyes work with our brain to use the shortcuts when distinguishing files in a file system.

Use one hanging folder to enclose each individual physician file folder within the file cabinet. Using a label machine or marker, label each folder’s tab with the doctor’s “LAST NAME, FIRST NAME.” Color coded stickers next to the name can help you distinguish whether that individual is a MD, DO, or Nurse. Doing so will help you alphabetically organize and search in your file drawer quickly.

You can also separate sections of the alphabet with a marked divider, and use different colored folders to represent the sections. Alternatively, you can start by separating your medical providers by profession (for example, RNs and MDs) and/or by specialty (for example, anesthesiologists and all other MDs) and then alphabetize the files within each subgroup.

Ultimately, the goal of an organized storage is to help your eyes spot a individual folder quickly even when it is alphabetized.

File Cabinet

The structure of your file cabinet should be prepared in a way that will allow you to easily locate and retrieve files in the future, at any given moment. Designate an area (preferably a file cabinet) in your office space for storage. This blocked of space should not be an open area where random paperwork can be sifted into.

Avoid choosing a space where unauthorized individuals may be able to access the files. Credential files contain both public and sensitive information that should not be openly shared. As the credential manager, it is crucial to respect other’s privacies.

Organization brings order to the complicated nature of credential files which require gathering, sorting, and processing. Starting an organized file is the first of many steps to maintaining a well-managed credentialing workflow, a process that requires focus and patience. The benefit of your efforts in building such a workflow will outweigh the hefty cost of the alternative.

Find out about how Silversheet can support your organized workflow without the hassle of paper files. Think digital paper files that you can access with a click—no more page flipping or papercuts.

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