How to Optimize the Credentialing Process for 2022 and Beyond
The COVID pandemic disrupted healthcare as we knew it. But healthcare systems are taking advantage of the pandemic-driven upheaval to accelerate changes to the way they work. According to a report from Deloitte, only 9% of healthcare employees indicated that employers were innovating new ways of working before COVID-19, compared with 78% since the pandemic began.
Medical staff services teams are innovating new workplace norms alongside their employers. Team members have primarily shifted to remote work, and many plan to remain remote into 2022. That poses new challenges for data security and managing teams and information.
Here's how you can optimize credentialing operations for your medical staff services department in 2022.
Develop New Security and Safety Policies
Many medical staff services departments are planning to stay remote into 2022, which creates challenges around data security and privacy. During the pandemic, many internal medical staff services departments have struggled to switch to remote work safely.
"A lot of places were still using paper applications and credentials files, which became problematic because everything with credentials is considered very confidential," says Christine Mobley, Founding Partner and Owner/Manager at Edge-U-Cate. "If I'm working with a hard-copy file in my home office, how do I keep that safe and secure?"
To successfully pivot to long-term remote work, organizations have to have policies in place for data safety and security. This might require new, more specific confidentiality policies and better software for data management. Look to credentials verification organizations (CVOs), which have operated remotely for years, for best practices on data security and privacy in remote work environments.
Work with your organization’s legal counsel, too, to develop security policies for remote medical staff services professionals.
Manage for Outcomes, Not Hours Worked
To optimize processes, medical staff services department heads need to learn new performance management processes. Leaders don't have to be on top of employees constantly to make sure they’re working, for instance. "It's more about measuring the work that's getting done as opposed to how much time you work," says Jenny Jackson, Senior Director, Provider Enrollment and Credentialing Verification Organization, at Community Health Systems. "That's really important for leaders to understand."
Medical staff services team leads will need to develop a new set of policies and procedures to manage remote workers in the long term. Instead of micromanaging individuals (which drains the manager’s time), develop metrics for measuring performance. You need people working and producing at a comparable rate of completion. Identify, on the front end, the specific work outcomes each employee needs to achieve to indicate high performance.
Integrate Data for a Single Source of Truth
Disruption has accelerated the implementation of software and technology, and that’s opened up opportunities for medical staff services professionals. "It's forcing them to maximize their software programs, which is a good thing," Mobley says.
Consider implementing software or intranet portals for notifying physician leaders that files are available for review online and for them to make their recommendations.
A comprehensive software system can align data for provider credentialing and enrollment, which minimizes repeated work and protects data more effectively. "A lot of organizations have taken this time to switch software systems," Jackson says. "How can we combine and collaborate and have better synergies with both sides of the house — credentialing and enrollment?"
As you explore software options for your medical staff services team, look for tools that will integrate with your other systems. Reducing repeated work allows medical staff services offices to use their time more effectively.
COVID-19 has shaken up medical staff services departments’ daily workflows, but that disruption opens up opportunities to revise and optimize the credentialing process.