Streamline credentialing to boost provider satisfaction and patient access

Many hurdles can impede the timely hiring of physicians, including inefficient provider credentialing processes, credentialing mistakes that increase costs, and lengthy onboarding procedures.

According to the Medscape National Physician Burnout report, a majority of physicians believe that excessive bureaucratic tasks such as paperwork contribute to the observed increase in physician burnout. Coupled with expectations of a national shortage of up to 122,000 physicians by 2032, practices will likely find that staffing challenges of any kind can impact their ability to deliver effective care.

Many hurdles can impede the timely hiring of physicians, including inefficient provider credentialing processes, credentialing mistakes that increase costs, and lengthy onboarding procedures. However, healthcare organizations that streamline these processes can significantly improve their ability to attract and retain providers, as well as accelerate patients’ access to care.

Simplify credentialing for physicians and staff

Hiring physicians is a competitive endeavor with healthcare organizations across all markets vying to recruit top talent from the same candidate pool. As such, organizations that offer a unique benefit or an advantageous change in process can favorably distinguish themselves from the pack. One way to do so is by providing easier and faster credentialing and onboarding processes.

The sheer amount of information physicians need to submit for their credentialing can be daunting, especially when it must be supplied separately to different organizations or locations. The fatigue created by this “paperwork hassle” too often results in missing information, errors, and may even dissuade physicians from applying.

An automated credentialing system can substantially streamline the process for physicians by importing information directly from primary sources such as state licensing boards to create a physician profile that can be extended among health system locations. Instead of taking three or four hours to complete a lengthy document, for example, the physician might need to spend only 15-20 minutes verifying the pre-filled data and supplying any missing information. In addition to the initial time savings, once onboarded, physicians are saved the aggravation of refiling the same paperwork each time they move to a new practice within a health system.

Integrated solutions that enable primary source verification from state licensing boards, DEA sites, AMA sites, and other sources can also ease the burden on staff by automatically updating providers’ license and credentialing status. This allows the system to alert staff when licenses or insurance enrollments are about to expire, when disciplinary actions or sanctions have been levied, and other crucial details. By keeping provider information up-to-date and accurate, practices can also reduce their potential for billing errors and claim denials. And they can ensure that no physician is scheduled without the proper paperwork in place.

Using an integrated system to centralize and simplify what is usually a fragmented, time-consuming process gives practices greater transparency across the board. It saves time and lowers costs by limiting clerical errors while reducing the amount of paperwork that would otherwise inundate physicians’ inboxes.

Improve patients’ access to care

While easing provider onboarding is a critical competitive differentiator for practices, credentialing also impacts patient flow. One of the biggest keys to improving patient care in the post-pandemic era is the ability to hasten access to credentialed providers. Forcing patients to accept appointments weeks or months down the road may very well cause them to look elsewhere for care.

Improving patient scheduling requires adding physicians to the docket as quickly as possible. Consequently, practices need credentialing systems that reduce the onboarding process from two months or longer to two weeks or less. Then, once physicians are onboarded, credentialing technology integrated with an enterprise scheduling system allows health systems to appropriately utilize staff across locations and shifts thereby maximizing productivity while simultaneously lessening provider burnout. 

Overall, reducing credentialing and onboarding time offers practices a competitive edge in their quest to attract and retain patients while increasing provider satisfaction and engagement.

Make credentialing a positive experience

As an industry, we must do better to ensure the well-being of physicians. Easing paperwork by automating the credentialing process grants them more time to see patients and maintain their work-life balance.

Credentialing is the first step toward making informed decisions to enhance provider satisfaction, increase their accessibility, and improve their ability to deliver superior patient care.

About the Author
Grant Fields is SVP of Credentialing at QGenda.