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The competition for hiring good doctors is about to get even more intense at American hospitals. And that’s just one of the challenges that healthcare executives will face in the coming years as the industry undergoes continued uncertainly and risk. According to the PwC Health Research Institute’s new report, “Top health industry issues of 2018: A year for resilience amid uncertainty,” these challenges will motivate healthcare organizations to boost their efficiency across functions.” The report is summarized in this article in Healthcare ITNews which highlights that 82 percent of healthcare executives said they hope to be able to automate tasks such as routine paperwork.

Hiring and credentialing physicians and clinicians is one of the top areas ripe for reduced paperwork and increased automation. According to a March study by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), “The Complexities of Physician Supply and Demand: Projections from 2016 to 2030,” the U.S. could face a deficit of just over 120,000 physicians by 2030. Some major factors contributing to the gap:

  • Over 20 million people are now covered by two major components of the Affordable Care Act: expanded Medicaid and subsidized private health insurance, according to a 2017 article in The Boston Globe.
  • A silver tsunami is about to hit healthcare. By 2030, the population of those over 65 years of age will rise by 50%, says the AAMC study. This age group typically uses more healthcare than younger people.
  • More than one-third of all currently active physicians will be 65 years old or higher within the next decade, adds the AAMC study.

Up against all these challenges, it makes sense to find ways that data sharing can take place between HR and Medical Staff Services departments to smooth the hiring process and shorten the onboarding process for physicians.

Digital Technology Can Help Teams Share Information to Hire the Best, Protect Patients

New digital technologies can eliminate wasteful, duplicative administrative processes. Establishing good communication and data sharing practices between HR and Medical Staff Services is an effective way to share key information that will ensure you’re capturing important information about your physician candidates. Medical Staff Services team members must keep department chairs, review committee members and key hiring managers constantly updated. Such important information includes feedback – including negative comments – from a physician’s peers, any red flags, as well as updates to the status of a doctor’s application. The best, most efficient way to accomplish this is with real-time online data, shared between teammates and across teams on a cloud-based platform for instant access. With digital credentialing and peer referencing technologies, applicants and their peers and other 3rd parties input critical data directly, so it’s instantly available for review.

HR and credentialing teams typically conduct separate background and reference checks, but new technologies are allowing for more unified data sharing to smooth the hiring process and help you protect patients from unethical or dangerous physicians. There are plenty of examples of bad doctors doing harm to patients and the hospitals that hire them. If you fail to fully vet an applicant who’s seeking to work in your hospital, you could be granting privileges to someone who may seriously injure or contribute to the death of your patients.

Take Advantage of New Mobile-based Communications to Reach References

Today’s online cloud-based technology is particularly good at helping HR and Medical Staff Services teams vet the best doctors…faster and more efficiently than paper-based methods.

Many healthcare organizations have adopted online reference checking solutions, such as SkillSurvey ReferenceTM and its Pre-Hire 360® Workflow. The technology delivers 4-5 reference responses in less than 2 days and there are options to connect the process with peer referencing once a candidate has been selected.

Regardless of whether you choose to combine your referencing reach out or keep reference checks and peer referencing separate, the next stage of hiring, the credentialing process can benefit from the same online adoption. Take the application process. With competition for doctors fierce, you want to ensure you’re giving applicants a smooth, fast experience. An online application can allow doctors to easily access them remotely and 24/7: from laptops, smartphones, tablets as well as desktops. It even saves information for later completion and can autofill repetitive information to ease the process. It is in the peer referencing and verification stage where digital technology has the most dramatic impact. The SkillSurvey Credential OnDemand® system allows peer references to receive requests via their mobile device at their convenience and then click on an embedded link to quickly and easily fill out a form and provide an electronic signature (It can be done in less than six minutes). One healthcare organization boosted its physician acceptance rate to 78% and shaved 90 days from its peer referencing process by using these new technologies effectively together.

In a March 2017 survey of NAMSS members and other healthcare professionals, SkillSurvey found that 38% of respondents said their applicants experienced improved ease of use by using digital systems versus paper-based tools.

Your healthcare facility benefits, too. Today’s technology can cut the time to get feedback from peer references to less than three days, versus up to six weeks using traditional paper – or fax -based delivery. Why? Because your credentialing team spends less time on the phone contacting and following up with references trying to get the information in hand (In SkillSurvey’s March 2017 NAMSS survey, 55% of respondents said their credentialing teams reported improved ease of use by adopting digital systems.).

And because review committee members can access incoming data via a real-time online dashboard, they can make hiring decisions faster. In SkillSurvey’s March 2017 survey, 21% of respondents said adopting digital technology eased processes for department chairs and review committee members.

With a comprehensive solution for reference checking and credentialing, there are even more opportunities to smooth the reference checking process. That’s because most references who are contacted by recruiters are frequently contacted again weeks or months later during the credentialing process. Using SkillSurvey’s Credential OnDemand together with its Reference solution, you can start to bring together the reference and peer reference checking reach out and data collection.

Ultimately, all these efficiencies mean you can get your new doctors on staff and treating patients faster. That’s a major boost to your organization’s revenue stream and makes for happier teams and patients.

America’s top physicians are out there waiting for you to hire them. Get ahead of your competition and find the best of the best with digital credentialing and online reference solutions.

To learn more about how it works and discover how you can achieve faster physician peer referencing, attend an upcoming solution webinar.

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