Author: Lisa Rothmuller, AVP Consulting Services, VerityStream
It’s almost impossible to believe that we’ve just passed our first (and hopefully our only) COVID-19 anniversary. It’s been one year since many of us made the shift from working in-office to working from home, a change that happened, by necessity, almost overnight. And though we’re all missing in-person interactions for a variety of reasons, it cannot be denied that working from home does have its advantages, like the ease of attending meetings—electronically.
Whether you continue to work from home, or return to the office, you can put credentials-related electronic meetings to work for you. We’re busier than ever today, and credentialing by nature involves a variety of people who often work in different locations, which makes attending in-person meetings a challenge. Between that, and the fact that more credentialing paperwork is being electronically managed, virtual meetings are becoming the new norm. Because of that, you need to become a pro at running them!
Types of Credentials-related Electronic Meetings
First, we recommend familiarizing yourself with the different types of electronic meetings you can utilize for your purposes.
- Consent agenda meeting: There is no physical meeting; the meeting is opened for a defined period of time for committee members to review, comment, and make their recommendations through an online portal.
- Ideal for problem-free reappointments.
- Audio-only meeting: Participants are connected via a phone system and not required to have a computer or any other electronic device to participate.
- Ideal for discussing a particular issue at hand, not necessarily for credentialing.
- Web meeting: Participants are connected via a web meeting tool or application such as WebEx, GoToMeetings, Skype, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams. This requires a computer or other electronic device such as a tablet or smartphone, with a secure and optimal internet connection.
- Ideal for simultaneously reviewing a file as a team.
- Web meeting with video: Same as above, but with a video component.
- Ideal for having an in-depth face-to-face discussion.
Best Practices for Electronic Meetings
With your options in mind, you can now focus on making your meetings as efficient as possible. Because of the technology available today, there are many steps you can take before a meeting to make sure it runs smoothly.
Before the meeting:
- Assign files to specific committee members in advance of the meeting so they’re prepared/familiar prior to the meeting.
- Consider separating “problem” files from “problem free” files (you’ll need to create a standard procedure to separate them). Start the meeting with problem-free files, and then move to problem files or hold a separate meeting.
- Make sure the software selected for your e-meetings is user-friendly, offers the functionality you need, and has been disseminated to all necessary parties within the organization.
- Send out an agenda in advance of the meeting, along with any files that are going to be reviewed.
- Test the phone connection/web meeting with one of the participants before the meeting to ensure quality and to avoid any time-consuming hiccups.
- Login to the meeting early and have all the files to be reviewed loaded and ready to go. Logging on early will also allow other attendants to sign on and get familiar with the platform themselves.
- Consider adding a “discussion board” as part of the meeting that will help keep you on topic for the duration.
- Have a plan to reduce side conversations, but make sure the meeting is inclusive so all attendees can have a say.
During the meeting:
- Make sure your background is appropriate so as to avoid distraction.
- Be present—shut off other applications, close your email, and don’t multitask—truly attend the meeting.
- Slow down when presenting virtually and speak clearly, take your time so you can be understood.
- Make eye contact with the camera so your audience knows you’re engaging with them.
- Give everyone a chance to speak. As the host, it may be valuable to call people out to ensure everyone is engaged and prevent someone from taking over the meeting completely.
- Get familiar with the mute button, on how to turn it on and off!
Most importantly, trust in the process. With some patience, a dash of collaboration, and a hint of tech-savvy know-how, you and your team members can become e-meeting experts in no time. If you haven’t transitioned your credentialing process from paper to electronic, then now might be the perfect time! We’ve got the tools and expertise to get you there, reach out, we’re always here to help.