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In addition to providing exceptional patient care, as an administrator in a hospital or healthcare facility, you want your organization to be as competitive and profitable as possible. And one of the chief ways your organization distinguishes itself is by hiring the most qualified clinicians. That’s why provider credentialing is so important, and peer referencing is a huge part of that.

Traditionally, peer referencing is a paper-laden process, plagued by labor-intensive administrative tasks, manual errors and lengthy delays. An average credentialing timeline for a new provider can take 4-6 weeks, valuable time your organization loses bringing in new revenue and meeting patient demand.

Even if you’re experiencing delays like this, take heart! Peer referencing today has evolved to be much more efficient, smarter and less costly. Cloud-based credentialing technology is behind all the innovation, resulting in a better experience for physicians, institutions, providers, and patients. We break it down for you in the post below, or save reading time with our interactive credentialing health check tool:

Do these provider credentialing processes below look familiar?


Mailing paper questionnaires to doctors’ and other clinicians’ references and waiting for them to complete them by hand and return them to you works … but slowly. First, it takes an average of about 1 hour to prepare each applicant’s reference request. In addition, it takes an average 3-5 weeks to get responses. Now, count in some common trip-ups that add more time to credentialing: lost mail, unreachable references and incomplete responses (when references merely sign the forms and omit other important information), and illegible forms that must be resent and rechecked.

Alternative: digital credentialing takes just minutes to enter the applicant to be credentialed. Their peers are automatically sent a communication with a link they can click on from any device — even when they’re not in the office!


Yes, fax does improve survey-sending speed a little, but that’s effective only if the form makes it from the fax machine and to the right recipients. Then, cross your fingers that they’ll fill out the forms and return them to you promptly. If that doesn’t go right, it means delays and errors. Expect responses over an average 2-4 weeks. Once you get the references in hand, add time to go through them by hand looking for red flags and missing information, as well as following up and resubmitting.

Alternative: with digital online forms, you never have to worry about deciphering responses again. Peers complete surveys online with ratings or responses they type in themselves.

Emailing PDF attachments

Email is a digital option that speeds up credentialing. You also reduce your risk of losing files and data by backing up your records. However, it can still be cumbersome for you, and your references still need to download surveys, sign them by hand, scan them, and send them back to you. That kind of inconvenience can put people off from responding right-away, and the same errors and delays still creep in. Add in the time you’ll need to process each reference manually before sending the documents for committee review, which is usually a once-a-month event.

Alternative: cloud-based, automated peer referencing

This is the smartest, most cutting-edge way to credential. For one, the technology allows you to build in your custom reference surveys, or you can use a best practice survey developed by I/O psychology experts. The surveys are hosted online — and most importantly, your references can respond 24/7 instantly – and from any device (desktop, laptop, mobile phone or tablet). Our data shows that references are completing surveys in less than 6 minutes and responding in less than 3 days. That’s fast!

Check out these benefits for credentialing staff:

  • Fully completed questionnaires because the software prevents references from skipping questions or sections of the form
  • Better, more trustworthy data
  • Automated red-flag identification of missing data or questionable responses, based on your rules
  • Proactive follow-up with automated reminder emails
  • Agile working – so you can get ahead with your next task
  • Accessible data from an online dashboard that you can share with teams and reviewing committees

Look how your references benefit:

  • Immediate access to the applicant’s photo and digitally signed DOP as references complete the questionnaire
  • Average of 6 minutes to complete (no reason anymore to put this task off until they have more time)

It’s time to join the provider credentialing revolution. Learn more about how your process measures up and how you can benefit from the most advanced – and evolved – provider credentialing technology — SkillSurvey Credential OnDemand® with our health check tool.

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