We’ve all heard the same stories about practice managers and credentialing departments working against the clock to finish up paperwork before midnight strikes and the deadline for Dr Smith’s application is up. It’s no secret – credentialing is a complex process, and even experts who toss around big names in accreditation like AAAHC, AAAASF, and IMQ know that they’re still going to encounter hurdles.
So if you’re in charge of keeping your office in the clear, but you don’t even know how to start scoping out the best (and least expensive) credentialing software – we’ve compiled a list of the features you need to make a smart purchase.
Here’s the roundup of the top 11 features crucial to a pain-free credentialing experience for any practice or hospital:
1. Automatic DEA, License, and Certificate Alerts – Half the reason you want a credentialing tool in the first place is to keep up with your providers’ licenses, certifications, and permits. Find one that can send you reminders about expiration dates at the very least, and consider a solution that offers integrations with primary source websites like the DEA and state licensure boards.
2. Total Portability – This is major. Avoid software that requires installation, period. A cloud-based solution (often called SaaS) allows you to access your account anywhere, doesn’t take up space on your computer, and comes with continuous upgrades and performance improvements.
3. Document Management and Storage – It’s not 1980. Toss the file cabinets and opt for software with a robust file storage system. You should be able to upload any files you want, store as many as you need, and share them with anyone in your organization – and you shouldn’t be charged extra for it.
4. Electronic Forms + Signatures – You don’t need (or want) to sit there filling in forms by hand. Select a system that will pre-populate data from provider profiles to electronic documents, like facility applications and payor forms, and make sure that it supports e-signatures as well.
5. Tasks System – Having built-in tasks keeps you on a single platform, so you don’t have to send emails, text messages, and faxes just to stay in touch with your providers. A good tasks system will let you assign, send and receive tasks from anyone within your organization – and a great one will have automatic reminders for the deadlines you set.
6. Customized Reports – You don’t have to be an Excel expert to get the reports you need. You should be able to generate and download reports of your providers’ data at a click of a button, whether you need them for audits or just to check who’s in compliance.
7. Peer Review – If you’re still using rubrics and emails to get peer review done, it’s time to switch it up for a localized, HIPAA compliant platform. You can stop worrying about accidentally sharing protected health information with the wrong person, and working from one platform rather than several will help structure and standardize your process.
8. CAQH integration – CAQH is a necessity; you can’t ignore it just because you bought credentialing software. Make it easier to work with both systems by choosing a tool with CAQH integration. If you can send attestation requests from your credentialing software and connect to CAQH’s database, you’ll be able to cut down on administrative time.
9. CME Tracking – Spreadsheets are great, but they’re better for number crunching than tracking your providers’ CME goals. You need a tool that can log your providers’ CME hours across multiple licenses, provide a simple visual of outstanding requirements, and generate a report at the end of the day – no formulas required.
10. Short Implementation Time – Always ask how much time it’ll take to move your team to a new platform. Be wary of long estimates; some can take any where from 6-9 months. Look for a 6-8 week turnaround instead, and expect shorter onboarding times if you’re a small practice.
11. Customer Service & Support – Get cozy with your account manager. Personalized help will always trump canned customer support lines; before you purchase any credentialing software, check that it’s easy to get in touch with a real person who knows the product when you need help. Don’t dismiss live chat, either – messaging services can get you answers faster than an email chain.
*Bonus: Get a Password Manager – Are you constantly pestering providers for their passwords? Choose a tool with a built-in password manager. You can toss the Post-Its on your desk and store login details in a secure place that only you can access.
Have more can’t-live-without-them features that you’d recommend for credentialing software? Leave your suggestions below in the comments.