Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Waiting Too Long To Receive Provider Reference Feedback? Close This Credentialing Loop Faster!



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 six separate competencies:

  • Medical/Clinical Knowledge
  • Technical and Clinical Skills
  • Clinical Judgment
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Communications Skills

Professional references often include reference letter(s), written documentation, or documented phone conversation(s) about the applicant from a peer (practitioner in the same professional discipline as the applicant) who has personal knowledge of the applicant.

Can You Picture This Scenario?


A busy cardiologist who has an office practice, sees patients and 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 practitioner 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.

How Can You Speed Up This Process?


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 Echo’s Survey Module. With Survey Module you can:
  • Create any type of survey – get provider feedback, verify competency, track CME learnings, and more 
  • Conduct reference surveys online for faster turnaround; automate follow-up tasks
  • Activate surveys in a few days with our pre-built content
  • Store survey data directly to your credentialing files – no printing, scanning, importing, or manual data entry required
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. 

Click here to learn more about how you can speed up your provider reference survey process or call us at 1-800-733-8737.




Wednesday, February 15, 2017

(Podcast) - SecondOpinions: Thought Leaders Discussing Issues Affecting Healthcare Today and Tomorrow







Join our host, Brad Weeks, Director of Performance Improvement and Research at HealthStream, as we share insights from some of the most respected leaders and experts in the healthcare industry.

This week we are highlighting a podcast discussion with with Dr. Miles Snowden, Chief Medical Officer for Team Health. Dr. Snowden answers questions and gives his insight into MACRA and the effect this transformative healthcare law will have on physician group practices in the future.

Listen as Brad Weeks and Dr. Snowden discuss these questions and more:

Is MACRA a good thing for healthcare?
What’s the immediate impact MACRA will have on physician practices?
What role do hospitals play in this new practice model?
What is the impact to patients and outcomes?


Click here to listen to this very informative podcast.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Is Your Provider Privileging Process Complicated? Simplify It!

We are excited to introduce our latest addition to the Echo provider solutions product family, Privilege Content and Criteria Builder™ (PCCB).  The perfect way to simplify your core provider privileging process, saving valuable time and ensuring a robust compliance program.

Home Privileging Screen

Echo has partnered with Morrisey Associates, the industry-leader in privileging library content and criteria development, to provide these key capabilities and more:




No more looking through books or conducting manual research. Our web-based comprehensive privileging content library, provides delineated privileges for over 100 adult and pediatric specialties, including ICD and CPT codes. 







Easily select and assign privileges with our convenient privilege grouping functionality based on specialties and sub-specialties. Other departments can view granted privileges for quick look up and verification.







Seamlessly create and customize privilege forms from Morrisey’s content with an easy to use drag-and-drop interface. Hospitals can use completed forms electronically or in print and import them from the PCCB website directly into our EchoCredentialing platform.








Click here to learn more about our new PCCB product or call us at 1-800-733- 8737.

™Morrisey Associates

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Credentialing for Medical Students? Maybe Not Such a Bad Idea!





This article,  a physician imposter gains access to 5 Brigham and Women's operating rooms, originally appeared in Becker's Hospital Review. Here is a short excerpt:

A 42-year-old woman dressed in scrubs attended patient rounds and observed operations at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston even though she wasn't a physician. The woman first gained access to restricted areas at Brigham and Women's Hospital in September by requesting to shadow a surgeon while her application with the National Resident Matching Program was pending.

A surgeon agreed to let the woman shadow him not knowing she had been dismissed from a surgical residency program at Mount Sinai St. Luke's Hospital in New York City in May and reported to the New York Office of Professional Misconduct. It was also later discovered that the woman forged the three letters of recommendation attached to her application with the National Resident Matching Program, according to the report (See the original article for more details).

How Could This Have Been Prevented?


Well, first of all after reading the article it is clear there were quite a few loopholes in the above scenario; not all credentialing related. But as you dig further into the sequence of events, it seems like a more formal credentialing process for soon-to-be medical residents would have been prudent.

As a medical student, when applying for residency you haven't received your medical degree yet or passed any of your board certifications, so how can any of your credentials be verified? First and foremost a simple background check should be conducted for any potential employee and certainly anyone that is given permission to be in or near "critical" patient areas of the hospital. ID badges, visitor badges or other forms of identification should not be issued unless there is a recent record of this person in the hospital database.

If they are a medical student or in this case have applied for residency, this information should be verified. Prior to applying for a resident match, candidates must go through a interview with the respective hospital. This information should be documented within the specific hospital department, for example, orthopedics. For the National Resident Matching Program, hospitals submit to the organization which candidates they have interviewed and want to train. This information could have easily been verified as part of the background check.

Finally, the New York Office of Professional Misconduct is a state office that "investigates complaints about physicians, physician assistants and specialist assistants and monitors practitioners who are subject to Orders of the State Board for Professional Medical Conduct. This section provides a listing of all physicians, physician assistants, specialist assistants, and professional medical corporations who have been disciplined since 1990, or who are subject to a non-disciplinary Board Order, or upon whom charges of misconduct have been served."

This organization is one of many that can be monitored for sanctions or exclusions against providers, and other healthcare professionals. An ongoing monitoring program for all such employees including soon-to-be residents and fully credentialed medical doctors on staff would have potentially raised a red flag for this imposter.

For more information on background checks for your medical staff or sanctions and exclusions monitoring click here or give us a call at 1-800- 733-8737.










Wednesday, February 1, 2017

(Video) 5 Tips To Make Your Clinical Privileging Process A Success

Most healthcare organizations that seek accreditation are aware that the processes related to defining and granting clinical privileges are under intense scrutiny.

There are a number of reasons for this – not the least of which is that CMS (Centers for Medicare and
Medicaid Services) is focused on criteria-based privileges and has mandated that clinical privileging
systems in hospitals (and other healthcare organizations required to privilege practitioners) be carefully surveyed to assure that when CMS pays for healthcare services, those services are provided by qualified and competent individuals.

Watch our latest video "5 Tips To Make Your Clinical Privileging Process A Success" to learn what elements your should include in your clinical privileging process and how to make it "painless" both for your and your providers.



Interested in learning more about our clinical privileging solutions, click here or contact us at 1-800-733- 8737.