Staffing shortages are unfortunately nothing new to healthcare. Our sector has been struggling with physician shortages for decades, and the problem is growing worse due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The nursing side is not faring any better, with many touting the current shortage as a “crisis” facing the majority of states. One report found that more than 900,000 nurses will leave the profession, causing employers to need to hire 1.1 million more by 2026.

If hospitals and healthcare organizations don’t have enough providers staffed, they aren’t able to accept new patients or even perform certain levels of care. Vox reported that due to lack of nurses, one rural hospital recently had to suspend “newborn delivery, chemotherapy, and colonoscopies.”

It’s clear that COVID is likely not going anywhere anytime soon, and while we may have the tools and understanding to better manage it, we need to be prepared for ongoing surges of the virus, not to mention continuing to provide care for the millions of Americans who have health issues unrelated to COVID and who require catch-up care. Staffing shortages will continue to be problematic unless action is taken. On the federal level, the Biden administration announced new initiatives to help stem the loss, including investing $1.5 billion through the American Rescue Plan to address workforce shortages and health disparities with scholarship and loan repayment programs for healthcare students committing to work in hard-hit and high-risk communities. In the meantime, there are steps healthcare organizations can take at a more local level to help their staff better navigate the ongoing provider shortage, and technology plays a big role. In this piece, we’ll take a closer look at how the benefits of modernizing your organization’s technology, specifically credentialing software, will serve as a staffing ally during the crunch.

Credentialing software can be a game-changer

Even though it’s one of the most important protocols in healthcare, credentialing can also be one of the most frustrating due to its many complexities. Healthcare organizations that are still credentialing providers manually (i.e., using sticky notes on file cabinets, Excel spreadsheets, etc.) aren’t doing themselves any favors. Credentialing is highly complex and can be a lengthy process marred by red tape and challenges; errors can lead to long delays in getting providers working. Providers can’t get work or get paid until they are properly credentialed — leading to avoidable wait times. The healthcare staffing shortage and pandemic have underscored that doctors and nurses need to be able to work when and where they are needed, and quickly. Implementing a credentialing system ensures that that can actually happen.

Modio Health’s cloud-based credentialing software vastly improves the credentialing process. Real-time primary-sourced data can be centralized and automated, making provider verification easier, quicker, more accurate, and protected. Practices using Modio’s OneView credentialing platform have shortened facility credentialing time by 70% while reducing overall administrative time by more than 80% and cutting credentialing costs.

Proper training can move things forward quickly

The data show modern credentialing software can get doctors and nurses working faster. So your practice or healthcare organization decides to invest in this technology to improve staffing, what’s next? This is where your non-clinical staff is key, and training can play a big role in getting your tech up and running quickly.

There are hacks your staff can implement to ensure things move seamlessly. One example is to clearly define roles and responsibilities among your credentialing team. Create a process. Having a dedicated team member who’s responsible for credentialing measures and knowledge — especially important with so many changes happening right now with credentialing — can go a long way. Another tip: Adaptability is key in this new normal where credentialing employees are up against an ever-changing sector in which rules and regulations are changing fast. Staying up-to-date on federal and state medical board news is always a good idea, but it’s especially important during times of a national disaster or public health crisis to ensure you’re navigating the situation effectively and protecting yourself and your clients as regulations change.

Healthcare has always been one of those sectors where change is constant. Organizations need more sophisticated tools to keep up. However, today’s needs go beyond competing with innovation and cool technological advancements. Providers are taxed — they are dangerously exhausted — and they are changing roles faster than ever before. Going into a pandemic with an already overworked and understaffed healthcare workforce has put doctors, nurses, and patients in a compromising position, to say the least.

What we can do to help is utilize the tools we have in place to get doctors and nurses practicing medicine where they are needed, when they are needed. Provider credential management will always be essential for the safety of patients and those who care for them. Removing administrative burden is a way to get the supply chain moving faster. Investing in the technology to elevate your provider credentialing process will help you better navigate your way through this staffing crisis.

Learn more about how Modio Health can help your practice.

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