The Evolving Role of MSPs in a Post-COVID World

Senior Director of Marketing

Medical services professionals (MSPs) are the gatekeepers of patient safety. That will never change. But everything else about the MSP role is evolving rapidly, with those adjustments accelerating exponentially during the COVID pandemic.

“It expedited changes that were coming our way,” says Karen Claxton, Director of Medical Staff Services at Memorial Health Meadows Hospital. “It forces us to be innovative.” For instance, she notes remote work was already on its way, but COVID forced a quicker implementation than most MSPs envisioned.

Here’s what to expect as the MSP role continues to evolve through the pandemic and beyond it and the skills you need to develop to excel in a post-COVID world.

MSP Roles Are Likely to Remain Remote

Most healthcare providers allowed office workers to work remotely to protect their safety during the height of the pandemic. For MSPs, remote work and hybrid work are likely here to stay. From a provider perspective, telemedicine is likely to be a long-term solution, too.

This means a lot of moving parts for telemedicine providers to monitor. Remote practitioners in another state, for example, need to be licensed to practice in both their home state and the state in which they’re practicing. If a telemedicine provider moves to another state, Claxton says, MSPs need to stay alert to keep the provider’s license to practice up-to-date.

A comprehensive software can help track these vital credentialing and licensing components. Indeed, tech can be invaluable in a number of ways.

Good Vendor Partners Are Revolutionizing MSP Processes

Technology is essential to the evolving MSP role both in the midst of the pandemic and beyond it. During the pandemic’s most intense moments, good licensing and credentialing software was vital to quickly verifying credentials to get providers on the floor. “We were granting so many temporary privileges,” says Medical Staff Services Director Terri Coburn. “We always strive to have the most outstanding physicians on our medical staff.”

Some healthcare systems still struggled to fill roles with high-caliber talent. Finding a good staffing partner can help MSPs become proactive in credentialing independent providers who meet the health system’s high standards, rather than reacting based on need. “We can concentrate on finding the best applicants versus just adding someone because our volumes are too high,” Coburn says.

In the future, new technology, like blockchain, will be implemented more frequently to cut out repetitive processes. Moving forward, MSPs must learn to become agile and adapt quickly to latest innovation. New technology can optimize processes and people management, but only if you understand it sufficiently to utilize it properly.

Community Learning is Vital to Moving Forward

To adapt to a constantly changing environment, MSPs need to develop both new skills and new communities. In its future-oriented report, the National Association of Medical Staff Services (NAMSS) listed relationship building, team building, and communication as essential skills for MSPs moving forward. Coburn says it’s particularly true right now, with so many MSPs working remotely and potentially feeling isolated from their peers.

MSPs need to come together with their fellow professionals to share their challenges and solutions and collaborate to develop new best practices in a constantly changing environment. Working together builds a community of learning, even in a virtual workplace. It enables MSPs to feel connected, both to each other and the job itself.

Medical services professionals pave the way for patient safety. As the profession evolves, MSPs must continue to adapt and evolve along with it. By leveraging remote work opportunities, taking advantage of external resources, and building a community of learning, MSPs are empowered to drive the function into the future while ensuring they’re still properly supported personally.

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