Author: Kay Lynn Akers, Director of Client Success and Consulting; Verity, a HealthSteam Company
A consistent theme Verity consultants hear when meeting with healthcare leaders across the country is the need to have provider-friendly tools for the privileging process. At the same time, last year’s Annual Report on Medical Staff Credentialing authored by HealthStream shows that just 21% of respondents had fully implemented a paperless process for delineation and tracking of clinical privileges.
Why is the number so low given the desire for provider-friendly tools? It is probably a result of these four common challenges when implementing any paperless process.
It’s imperative to tackle these barriers with communication about key benefits of paperless privileging processes which include:
Providers want to complete all application and privileging tasks in one place. Having the ability to request privileges online during the application process is much easier than having to complete a paper form for each facility where privileges are requested and mailing it back. Chairs and other reviewers can assess the request and packet online at their convenience instead of having to go to an office during standard business hours.
By eliminating time in transit, completed privilege requests and approvals are immediately available to the credentialing staff to process and move to the next step.
Organizations realize savings in many areas with paperless processes including privileging. A few of these are office supplies (paper, ink, and postage), infrastructure (no longer need to have rooms of filing cabins storing credentialing files) and staff time spent printing and mailing forms as well as compiling, tracking and transporting paper files.
The good news is that many healthcare organizations are overcoming these barriers and moving forward with a paperless privileging process. In the same credentialing survey mentioned earlier, 95% of the respondents indicated process improvement is extremely or very important. Additionally over 57% have partially or fully implemented paperless privileging processes. Where is your organization in the paperless privileging initiative?