In a quest to achieve greater efficiencies and improve the provider application experience, more customers are looking to go paperless using more advanced electronic applications. At first glance, it may appear that this is a simple initiative – just take your current paper applications and move them onto the computer. However, there is actually more that must be considered in order to create a truly electronic application.
The first step is the electronic application build using a data collection portal. Many credentialing application packets consist of the original application, privilege forms, and several attestation forms and signature pages. This is a great opportunity to evaluate your current packets to determine what should continue to be a separate form and what simply requires communication and an acknowledgement from the applicant. A good rule of thumb is to identify whether a document needs to be sent somewhere, such as a release or the Medicare attestation. If not, consider integrating those additional acknowledgements as actual questions within the electronic application.
If the applicant is signing their release electronically, you may encounter some resistance from verification sources, such as a malpractice insurance carrier. While electronic signatures might appear to be new technology for some, the reality is that they have become more widely accepted. Even the IRS will accept an electronic signature. Be prepared to provide documentation on your electronic signature technical specs and security, so your sources can be confident that you have taken the necessary steps to ensure it was completed by the applicant.
Finally, there are the operational changes that come with an electronic application. If you find you are receiving reappointment applications back more quickly, perhaps you may need to readjust timelines for sending and processing those reappointments. If you are now using automatic reminders for applicants, your credentialing team could have more time to focus on processing applications and obtaining verifications.
While creating a great electronic application can involve some additional thought, your hard work will pay off with the improved efficiencies in the end.