Published: April 24, 2019 | Updated: May 2, 2019
On average, healthcare facilities spend 20 hours per physician on credentialing.
This process can be spread out over several months, leaving many physicians and nurses out of work. With an annual average annual income of $299,000, they lose as much as $150,000 in pay. It also leaves them frustrated with their new employers. But is it their fault?
To figure out what’s going on, we reached out to Jody Hardy, Director of Physician & Patient Relations at Austin Emergency Center (AEC)—the first facility to test Intiva Health’s Ready Doc™ medical credentialing platform.
Here’s what Hardy told us provider credentialing is like for facilities.
To get an idea of why credentialing often takes so long, we asked Hardy to share with us the provider credentialing process for her facility before switching to Intiva Health. She was glad to, pointing out first that she only credentials physicians and can’t speak for other healthcare professionals (though Ready Doc can be used by them as well).
According to Hardy, after the physician has been cleared for credentialing, she’d:
- Give them instructions and required documents, including an NPBD self-query
- Send completed CV and application to the malpractice provider to initiate coverage
- Begin IT login efforts
- Send name, license number, and NPI to lab and radiology
- Check sanctions with the Office of Inspector General (OIG)
- Initiate background check and American Medical Association (AMA) verification
Then once all paperwork from the physician has been received, she’d:
- Set up a meeting with the credentialing board directors
- Get charting and delineation of privileges reviewed and signed off on
- Create an appointment letter for a two-year period
This is the current process many facilities follow, which is often inefficient on its own.
Before using Intiva Health, Hardy had to track everything.
This meant keeping every document as a hard copy in file folders or scanning them into DropBox. Then she had to use a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to keep track of expiration dates, setting reminders to check them every month. Finally, she’d send individual emails out to each doctor when something was about to expire.
“It drove me crazy having to constantly monitor expiration dates and reach out individually to doctors,” Hardy said.
The longest the process has ever taken her was three months, due to a lack of openings in the credentialing boards’ schedule and the physician dragging their feet. But according to the Hospital & Healthcare Association of Pennsylvania, medical credentialing can take as long as six months.
Hardy said there are many reasons the timeline can vary.
“The process often varies due to compliance by the physician in returning documents and the accuracy of their completion,” Hardy said. “If they are returned in a timely manner, the credentialing process can be completed within a week.”
What can also delay the process is if there’s any information missing from their documents or a reference doesn’t quickly respond to requests for verification. With each facility collecting virtually identical information, as reported by the New England Journal of Medicine, the process has a lot of unnecessary redundancies that make it take much longer than it has to.
This has led many to look for a new solution, including Hardy. Intiva Health was a game-changer for her.
How Intiva Health helped
While Hardy still follows the same steps now, Intiva Health has made it much simpler.
Intiva Health has worked closely with Hardy to create personalized, digital safes for all of AEC’s providers. Each time a physician is onboarded, she (or the physician) uploads credentials to the platform. Intiva Health then keeps track of expiration dates, sending out notifications before any credential expires.
Hardy hasn’t had a state board inspection since using the platform, but feels confident that once she does, it’ll be easier to present to them, thanks to Intiva Health.
“I love Intiva Health’s organization of documents and appreciate the emails going to the physician and to me with expiration notices,” Hardy said.
Another advantage Intiva Health has over the current process is speed. By using Hashgraph technology, credentials only have to be reviewed once, thanks to date and timestamps that use a consensus algorithm to ensure documents aren’t tampered with. This speeds up verification from months to minutes. Hardy once even credentialed a physician in three days.
Intiva Health will also save administrators time and hassle with new features like OIG monitoring (which checks sanctions with a single click) and credential packaging (which puts all documents into a single folder that can be sent out).
What expedites the process even further is Intiva Health helping whenever necessary.
“Intiva Health is willing to roll up their sleeves and do what is needed to help make the medical credentialing process a success,” Hardy said. “They are always ready and willing to accommodate.”
Hearing all of this from Hardy has made one thing abundantly clear: Facilities aren’t to blame for slow provider credentialing. This is a systemic problem filled with inefficiencies that Intiva Health can help fix.
We’ll cover other credentialing-related topics in future posts, so be sure to subscribe to our blog for more.