Optimizing Talent Screening and Credentialing for Telehealth

Director of Healthcare Solutions

During the pandemic, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services expanded access to telehealth. In early 2022, that expansion is set to become permanent. While increased access to telehealth opens opportunities for reaching more patients, it also poses additional challenges for long-term hiring practices.

As the healthcare landscape changes, healthcare providers need to adapt how they attract, hire and screen new practitioners, and that process needs to be strategic. “Is telehealth an afterthought,” asks Talentcare Founder and CEO Eric Smith, “or are you making it part of your employer brand?” You need to be intentional about designing telehealth to attract, select, and support the best candidates.

Here’s how to optimize your healthcare organization’s talent screening and credentialing processes for telehealth.

Develop a Telehealth Screening Protocol

Screening candidates for telehealth roles is different from screening for in-person roles. There are more moving parts that need to be verified. Design a protocol for laying out the order of operations and checking each of these parts.

When screening and credentialing practitioners for your telehealth program, you can hire employees from anywhere in the country. “Be very aware of the laws and guidelines at the state and federal levels and how these regulations specify licensing and credentialing requirements for professionals offering telehealth services,” says Dr. Jacob Hascalovici, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer at Clearing.

Be mindful of state laws regulating screening and credentialing in three potential locations:

  • Where your organization is located;
  • Where the practitioner is located; and
  • Where the patient is located.

Develop a checklist to keep track of licensing and credentialing requirements in each state. Set your background screening software to generate notifications for when each of these items is set to expire so that practitioners never practice with lapsed credentials.

Digital safety is an additional concern when screening candidates for telehealth roles. Ask applicants to dial into interviews from their home office, Smith suggests, to get a sense of the accommodations that candidates may need to create a safe and secure environment for seeing patients.

Leverage Digital Tools and Resources

Software resources are pivotal to optimizing the telehealth screening process. Find a background screening software that integrates with your other HR systems, such as your HR information system or applicant tracking system. This prevents the additional work of having to manually input data, which drags out the process.

Some background screening companies, like PreCheck, are pioneering blockchain for licenses and credentials, allowing employees to share their qualifications for verification. When candidates have ownership of their own credentials, the screening process becomes more efficient.

Focus On an Improved Candidate Experience

Candidate experience might not seem like a strategic imperative, but achieving a good candidate experience supports a more optimized screening and credentialing process. What’s good for the candidate is also often good for the employer. Transparency, communication, and efficiency are hallmarks of a good experience and are key drivers of an optimized screening process.

Transparency makes it clear from the beginning which background screenings you’ll need to run so there aren’t surprises that slow you down. Good communication allows you to collect all of the information and authorization you need to begin the screening process. Focusing on efficiency prompts you to gather information and trigger the background screening in a timely manner.

Employees with the skills and charisma to serve patients through telehealth are in high demand, Smith says. Optimizing the background screening process is one important step toward developing a more attractive workplace that produces positive outcomes for both employees and patients.