Optimizing onboarding to improve the provider experience

The administrative burden in healthcare has reached a tipping point. Healthcare systems and their providers are increasingly weighed down by administrative tasks, which take time away from patient care. Siloed, paper-based approaches increase operational inefficiencies and the potential for mistakes, delays and regulatory noncompliance. This is particularly concerning amid the looming threat of provider shortages and increasing patient acuity levels.

As competition for scarce providers intensifies, one key administrative function healthcare organizations can improve is the provider onboarding process by eliminating data duplication and manual correspondence.

Hiring and contracting, credentialing, and orienting a provider to an organization takes weeks or months, presenting significant costs when any step is prolonged. There is revenue leakage in the form of delayed patient care and missed reimbursement—medical groups lose an average of $10,000 each day a provider’s onboarding is delayed.

Delays and inefficiencies also inconvenience providers and erode their trust. Using comprehensive provider onboarding technology, in conjunction with a consolidated onboarding program, ensures new clinical hires get up and running quickly, while also providing a positive experience that promotes short- and long-term retention.

Centralizing data to better serve clinicians

Once an organization’s internal and external recruiters find top physician and nursing talent, the primary challenge to quickly and efficiently preparing providers to safely care for patients stems from onboarding’s manual and decentralized nature.

It takes significant time for credentialing staff or the credentials verification organization to obtain and validate a clinician’s credentials related to their medical education, criminal or civil legal actions, internship and residency, then share that information with human resources. Often simultaneously, provider enrollment professionals are seeking and tracking the very same data. When each department has its own ad hoc systems, inefficiencies abound.

A slow, uncoordinated onboarding process also leaves a less-than-desirable first impression that can negatively affect providers’ loyalty to the organization. The consequences of this are costly—turnover among primary care physicians costs the U.S. healthcare system nearly $1 billion annually.

Merging processes and technology to accelerate onboarding

While administrative tasks in patient care are inevitable, they need not be paper-based or manual, especially during the hiring process. Healthcare organizations can make the experience easier for providers by eliminating duplicative application tasks to create early satisfaction among employed or contracted providers. Developing a formal, centralized workflow is critical because it ensures that only the most qualified providers join the organization and promotes a provider’s ability to see patients as soon as possible.

Optimizing the onboarding process begins with eliminating silos so that recruiting, HR, credentialing, provider enrollment and medical staff leaders work together to set providers up for success. To enable a team-based approach, organizations need a centralized data source. Without a single source of truth, organizations run the risk of redundancy, and providers become frustrated when multiple departments request the same information.

An end-to-end provider data management solution ensures that no one enters the same provider data twice and that all authorized individuals have real-time information during every step of the onboarding process. Cross-department transparency and data sharing also minimizes the likelihood of something being overlooked or forgotten.

Organizations can create a formal healthcare provider onboarding checklist within their provider data management system to streamline the process and securely share data and documents. As providers are quickly and efficiently onboarded and oriented to their new roles, organizations can capitalize on opportunities for improvement through feedback. For example, post-onboarding surveys and scheduled, ongoing follow-up visits with new providers ensure they are adjusting to the work environment and are happy in their new roles.

Combining onboarding best practices with smart technology, such as provider credentialing software and a provider directory solution, further improves the provider onboarding process and overall clinician satisfaction. Organizations can automatically gather and digitally store credentialing data and documents, including checks for expired or suspended medical licenses.

In addition, an end-to-end provider data management solution can facilitate the entire process from initial provider onboarding through scheduling patient appointments. Once data is captured and held in one file, updates are automatically refreshed for credentialing, privileging and enrollment—and the numerous other departments and entities that require this information.

Improving the provider experience

The most effective way for healthcare leaders to support providers is to relieve operational and administrative burdens, and this should begin with the onboarding process. An efficient onboarding process sets a positive tone and gives new hires confidence that they’ve made the right decision.

Optimized processes and end-to-end provider data management technology enable clinicians to deliver patient care safely and efficiently, which leads to better patient outcomes, less stress among staff and improved job satisfaction.

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