Medical staff office professionals tell us far too often that they would like to buy an automated tool for managing credentialing, but they have to justify it — or even worse — determine the return on investment (ROI) first. They sound like someone who’s just had a sinkhole appear in their front yard. In contrast, others believe they know where to start, citing potential savings on couriers, faxes, postage and paper.
During the past couple of years, I’ve seen a big increase in the number of health systems that have standardized and centralized credentialing. They choose this route for many reasons, including the following:
- There may be a single board for a group of healthcare facilities and the board objects to receiving different information when it credentials the same practitioner at more than one of the health system’s hospitals.
- The board may also object to a practitioner being recommended for membership and/or privileges at one hospital, but not at another within the health system. This is particularly problematic when the hospitals are in the same area.
- Health system leaders may believe that if there are “best practices” in credentialing, all hospitals and other healthcare organizations that credential practitioners should adopt and implement those best practices.
- Quality principles tell us that to achieve the best outcomes, we should eliminate variation.
- Health systems often standardize their credentialing software, and when a number of hospitals use the same database, the need to standardize is compelling.