Without proper regulation, hospitals would be left to their own devices. It’s safe to presume that in such situations, patients would receive subpar healthcare. To prevent potential misuse while also increasing service quality, the US government has strict policies for all medical practitioners.
During the verification, a clinic or hospital is obliged to vet its staff before offering practitioners’ services to the general public. With such policies in place, medical organizations can ensure that each doctor and nurse follows the strict ethical and professional code.
The entire verification process can be quite complex, and its success hinges on primary source verification.
What is primary source verification?
Basically, PSV or primary source verification is a common procedure for healthcare providers during which an organization verifies employees’ qualifications and other credentials. The process is extremely complex, and it involves a meticulous background check of education, internship, work experience, and everything in between.
The reason why we call it a “primary source” is because the future employer needs to analyze relevant, first-hand documents. In other words, clinics or hospitals should reach out to the previous employers and schools and check their databases. All of this is done in an effort to determine whether a practitioner is suitable for the position.
Among others, PSV can determine if a medical professional has a current or pending ban, penalty, or some other restriction. That way, when you sign a contract with a doctor or a nurse, you can rest assured that the person can fulfill his contractual obligations (that is, provide high-quality healthcare).
What needs to be checked?
The background check can differ depending on numerous factors. Aside from internal hospital policies, employees also take into account current local jurisdiction. The type of healthcare service can also affect the documents that need to be checked. If we were to generalize, the process includes:
- Past experience
It’s paramount for clinics and hospitals to determine if the future employee is qualified enough to perform a certain task. Not only that, but they also need to determine if they have enough experience and expertise to work independently. Having a proper, well-designed verification process is vital for regulatory institutions and patients alike.
What are common PSV methods?
There are lots of different ways to perform the credentialing procedure and, specifically, data collection. The medical organization usually chooses a method that fits their budget but also quality policies. These are the different ways companies verify their future employees:
Direct communication is the most straightforward way of performing the credentialing process. This process is commonly used by smaller medical practices that have low employee turnover.
With direct verification, one of the employees will contact the practitioner’s previous employer to see if the person in question was a part of their organization. They will also reach out to educational institutions. Direct verification was previously done by phone, but nowadays, clinics usually do it via email.
Aside from traditional processes, more and more companies are performing digital verification. This is a much better, much quicker method, making it fantastic for large hospitals. Even better, with digital verification, a medical provider can check information against multiple sources.
Digital verification is done with various specialized tools. This kind of software relies on machine learning and artificial intelligence, which is why it can collect lots of accurate data in a short amount of time.
Hiring a reputable CVO is perhaps the best way to go about things, especially if you have an old, obsolete verification process. These organizations use advanced tools and have specialized methodologies for tracking and analyzing practitioners’ data.
While the cost of hiring a CVO might be a bit too much for small mom-and-pop practices, it is a perfect solution for large and growing businesses. Most notably, by delegating the procedure to these providers, health institutions can focus on the things they do best, which is providing top-tier service to their patients.
Of course, you can also create an internal verification department, akin to what CVOs are doing. This could be a great solution if you want to save some money on external credentialing, although it might require additional micromanagement. You’ll also need time to create your internal team.
The most common credentialing issues
The PSV is a highly fragmented procedure that involves numerous steps. And while it is focused on accuracy, that doesn’t mean you’ll always get things right. There are numerous challenges associated with the process, which is why delays are commonplace. Here are some of the things you might encounter along the way:
- The biggest issue with credentialing is that you need to sign a contract for the procedure to start. So, before a person can start working for your medical organization, several months have to pass for verification to end. During that time, you’ll need to cover the paychecks as if the practitioner is already working. This would lead to massive, unnecessary costs, especially if you have a high employee turnover
- Changes to standards and policies can also be an issue. Small regulatory alterations can completely throw you in the loop, expediting the required time for verification. Among others, this forces your employees to monitor the latest regulation so they’re not caught off-guard
- Human errors are also commonplace. Even if you have the best, latest software, there’s a chance one of your employees might make a mistake when inputting data. Errors and inconsistencies can also appear when transferring data from one source to another or due to data formatting
- In most cases, verification is done by some of the clinics’ staff. They’re not specialized workers, and they perform this activity as a secondary task. As verification isn’t their main job, they might feel indifferent about the process, leading to sloppiness
For all these reasons, it’s much better to hire an experienced CVO. Only a handful of clinics can justify the creation of an internal team, so it’s much better to have specialized professionals on standby.
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