Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Cloud or No Cloud for Your Provider Credentialing?

What exactly is the Cloud? Well, it’s another way to say internet. Chances are you are already using the “Cloud”. When you update your Facebook status, you’re using the Cloud. Checking your bank balance online? You’re in the Cloud again. You are using the Cloud whenever you store and access data or programs over the Internet instead of using your computer’s hard drive.

When it comes to IT solutions in healthcare systems, moving to the Cloud delivers a host of benefits to clinical and non-clinical staff alike.

It used to be the norm that healthcare IT systems required data to be stored and managed on-site. Fast-forward to 2016 and now more than 80% of healthcare organizations are using cloud-based applications of some kind, according to HIMSS Analytics.  Companies that adopted cloud services have experienced 18.80% average increase in process efficiency, and 15.07% reduction in IT spending.

Wondering if it’s time to move your provider credentialing processes to the Cloud? Consider these 4 key questions.

Is it slow or difficult to get new providers up and running on your current system?

Capturing and retaining the best providers is a challenging task in today’s healthcare environment. A recent study by the Association of American Medical Colleges reveals that, by 2025, the US will face a shortage of up to 90,000+ physicians. Onboarding cannot be an arduous task for providers if you expect to retain the best of the best.

How long does it typically take you to get new providers onboarded? Most facilities report a 90 day to 180 day time frame to complete the onboarding process, which starts when an initial application is filled out to when the provider’s file is reviewed by the credentialing committee.  Many facilities have trouble with adopting new tools and are dealing with outdated technology. More than 1500 hospital CEOs say that their number one concern for potential crisis management was technology, system and data-related issues. The end result is slower onboarding and provider data management.

Implementing a cloud-based credentialing system allows providers, hospital administration and credential specialists to access information from any device anytime, markedly improving the provider onboarding time.  Cloud-based credentialing speeds-up your processes, tightens your security, improves your workflow, reduce your paper burden, but above all accelerate your revenue generation from these new providers.

Do you currently have to download and install system updates from your vendor?

The beauty of using a cloud-based credentialing system is that the servers are maintained off-site by the vendor and they take care of them for you freeing up your IT resources for other critical areas. Cloud-based credentialing allows for regular software updates – including security updates – so you don’t have to worry about wasting time maintaining the system yourself.

Upgrades and maintenance are automatic. This is especially helpful when you have neither the time nor the inclination to spend potentially hours upgrading to new software. Data is backed up automatically, and accessibility via the web is usually platform agnostic. Whether you’re on a Mac®, P.C., smartphone, or tablet, you have access to your facility’s information.

Are you behind in maintaining your database, getting the latest software updates and critical functionality because your IT department is too busy?

Save additional time and money by reducing the need for your IT personnel to spend days working on software or server upgrades. Many cloud-based solutions push out automatic updates, freeing up your staff for other projects.

What do you do when your credentialing processes go down, or you can’t access your data? Cloud-based software provides the ability for application monitoring services. AMS monitors availability, uptime and response time for cloud-based credentialing applications. By simulating real-user experience, AMS provide realistic insight into what end-users are experiencing when using the credentialing software. It detects and flags problem(s) immediately, and doesn’t wait for a client to call to indicate they are “down”. This keep you up and running, saving time and money.

For quality purpose and compliance, it is imperative to have the latest software versions for tracking your providers performance and for monitoring any sanctions or exclusion changes that could pose a risk to your patients.

Echo Cloud customers see 60% faster implementation, greater than 99% uptime, and up to 18 months of more current software versions than non-cloud customers.

Do you need a way to centralize your credentialing efforts across many facilities?

Many cloud-based programs allow for, and even encourage, collaboration between departments and employees. By utilizing a shared service, teams can interact, engage and collaborate within different areas of your company. Using the Cloud you can centralize your credentialing across your healthcare system, allowing your organization to work towards enterprise-wide credentialing and universal privileging.

With the rapid pace of change in the healthcare industry bringing both new challenges and opportunities, it’s a great time to evaluate what a move to the Cloud could mean for your organization, patients, and staff – today and in the future. To learn more about Echo’s cloud-based credentialing services, click here.

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