If you were to ask any medical staff office what is the most common obstacle of completing a credentialing file, the answer would most likely be obtaining professional references. Obtaining professional references is the most labor-intensive and time-consuming step.
Professional references are a key component to the credentialing effort as they offer the opportunity to attest to the current clinical competency on any provider making initial appointment, and or at the time of reappointment if new clinical privileges are requested.
The Joint Commission standards require a professional reference to address these five separate competencies:
Professional references often include reference letter(s), written documentation, or documented phone conversation(s) about the applicant from a peer (provider in the same professional discipline as the applicant) who has personal knowledge of the applicant.
A busy cardiologist who has an office practice, sees patients at multiple hospitals and performs procedures in an ambulatory surgery center, receives a request from a hospital medical staff office to complete a peer reference questionnaire on an applicant. He or she may also be receiving requests about this applicant from other hospitals and healthcare organizations to which the applicant is applying. If the peer knows the applicant well, he or she may take 10 minutes and fill out the questionnaire as soon as it is received. If the request came by e-mail, the office staff will first need to print the questionnaire so the provider can fill it out. Getting the information back to the requesting party is very dependent on that busy doctor and his or her staff.
More commonly, reference requests sit on the peer reference’s desk, fax machine, or e-mail inbox, and will require a second request (which just adds to the stack of reference requests the peer receives) or a follow-up phone call from the credentialing professional.
A reference verification survey is a time-saving tool to electronically verify professional references. Email notifications are sent to references who can complete the survey at their convenience. Responses are immediately stored securely in the provider record and a verification register is created.
Decrease your professional reference verification turnaround time up to 80% for provider surveys with CredentialStream. With CredentialStream you can:
Providing a more “user friendly” method for peer references to respond makes it more likely that the peer reference will respond in a timelier manner and allow your medical staff office to speed up the credentialing process, lessening the chances of repeated follow-ups.