Automating the Healthcare Industry's Credentialing Process Cures Hiring Headaches

Who hires the best medical professionals shouldn't come down to who can verify credentials the fastest, but unfortunately, that is often the case. The truth is medical facilities that have the latest technologies for onboarding new employees often beat their competitors to the punch and hire top talent first. The companies that adopt digital verification early will likely maintain an edge over their rivals.

The Doctor Is Waiting to See You – and Waiting, and Waiting ...

The current verification process involves a lot of back-and-forth paper pushing, postal mailing, and faxing that should have been phased out a long time ago in this technology-rich modern age.

"Once a clinician has been recruited for a position, they must still fill out an application detailing their work experience, which is then confirmed by hospitals they have been affiliated with, along with several peer references," explains Ray Bixler, CEO of SkillSurvey, an online reference-checking and credentialing firm. "In a 2016 survey of members of the National Association of Medical Staff Services, we found that credentialing processes take an average of 5-6 weeks to get a provider privileged. The current system in place at most organizations is a paper-heavy process that depends on medical staff services to investigate areas of concern as well as email and fax replies. Typically, newly hired providers end up waiting nearly two months for privileges, which is entirely too long. Ultimately, this hurts patients and the hospital's bottom line."

When positions open up, these outdated processes often leave doctors stuck in limbo. In the meantime, hospitals remain short-staffed.

"The healthcare space has been slow to move towards fully digitizing [its] credentialing process. While there is a movement to digitize everything, credentialing for healthcare providers is still very much a paper-based process," Bixler says. "Paper makes the process slow and time-consuming ... Additionally, credentialing specialists must rely on third parties to provide critical responses that are required to successfully verify a prospective provider's information and grant clinical privileges, further delaying the process."

Bixler believes that credentialing is long overdue for innovation – and the innovation it needs is bringing it all online.

The Risks to Your Company's Health

Hiring managers and recruiters who make the effort to streamline the process digitally can bring a lot of relief to hospitals, their patients, and the medical professionals who want to start working. Those who remain stuck on paper processes risk losing top talent.

"If the credentialing process takes too long, another hospital or company can hire the candidate out from under you," Bixler says. "Too often, the credentialing process is plagued by delays that compromise a hospital's ability to onboard skilled providers quickly and efficiently. That is bad for patients and bad for the reputation of the organization."

The answer, as it often does in many industries, lies in automation. When employees aren't tied up at the fax machine or stuck on the phone trying to push things along or solve problems, the whole system runs more smoothly. Unsurprisingly, a streamlined system means monetary savings in a number of areas.

"When you automate the key processes involved in credentialing, you get results faster, speed up onboarding of new physicians and advanced practitioners, and make better decisions in hiring qualified clinicians," Bixler says. "By filling vacancies [more quickly], health providers are meeting patient demand and providing better patient care. If hospitals are properly staffed, employee morale will be more positive, as the current employees will not be overextended."

Automated credentialing solutions let applicants, references, and hospitals interact more quickly and more efficiently without the need for hard-copy documents and time-intensive processes. Saving that time might just be the difference between hiring a top professional and losing one to another medical group.