5 Key Changes Affecting Medical Staff Services in 2016 and Beyond

5 Key Changes Affecting Medical Staff Services in 2016 and Beyond
Senior Director of Marketing

Medical services professionals are often seen as the “gateway” to healthcare organizations. They are key to ensuring the healthcare professionals hired and given privileges to serve organizations’ patients are fully qualified They also ensure the organization remains compliant with state and national regulations on qualifications and credentials. It’s an important role, and that won’t change as 2016 approaches, but some things will.

Here are four changes MSPs can expect to see in 2016 and beyond.

Increased Reliance on Technology

There’s been a shift toward increased electronic communications, says Bonnie Gutierrez, President-Elect of the National Association Medical Staff Services. Automated staff management, Web-based meetings and decreased face-to-face communications have required MSPs to become more tech-savvy to keep up with the industry’s demands.

“MSPs must be at the forefront of managing projects that streamline responsibilities, make efficient use of time and minimize risk, all while navigating an environment where negligent credentialing cases, whistleblower suits and malpractice claims for employed physicians are on the rise,” Gutierrez says.

Multiple, Evolving Sets of Standards

Regulatory bodies continue to provide vague standards, such as the Ongoing Professional Practice Evaluation (OPPE) and Focused Professional Practice Evaluation (FPPE) processes, which MSPs are expected to meet, Gutierrez says. “The number of [Joint Commission] surveys being performed has increased greatly over the past two years, which is a huge drain on resources,” she says. In addition, newer and less-traditional regulatory entities have taken a strong place in the market, so MSPs need to be aware of a broader scope of standards. 

A Need for New Professionals

Many professions within the healthcare sector have seen veteran professionals retire, and medical staff services is no exception. As demand grows for new MSPs, NAMSS strives to provide resources to help current MSPs find and develop their own replacements, making the field of medical services management a chosen profession, Gutierrez says.

A Call to Improve Efficiency

When it comes to credentialing and staffing, one of the biggest issues is the time it takes to credential healthcare practitioners, says Ray Bixler, CEO of SkillSurvey. “Collecting responses from peer references is typically the root of the longest of delays in getting new hires on board and driving revenue for the organization.”

Bixler says medical services teams have told him it takes an average of 7 to 8 weeks to get peer references squared away because the process is so arduous. “Many systems still require the peer reference to print, complete, sign and then fax or scan the document.”

Medical services teams will need to look for technological solutions that make it easier to check, file and store these types of references. Bixler recommends looking for solutions that take advantage of mobile and e-signature technologies that drastically improve the peer referencing and credentialing processes. “These new automated solutions help medical staff services better manage this critical part of the hiring process to get physicians on the job faster and contributing to patient care.”

With the rise of the physician employment model, an expansion of care under the Affordable Care Act and other challenges facing the industry, MSPs will continue to face changes in expectations and the way they work. And their valuable work is essential to every healthcare organization’s success.

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