In a healthcare setting, credentialing is a top priority for physicians to go through. However, there is another kind of credentialing that is growing more popular as governing bodies and organizations put pressure on hospitals to protect themselves from potential risks. Hospital vendor credentialing is a key component in ensuring hospital administrators have a grasp on the activities occurring in their hospitals.
What is Hospital Vendor Credentialing?
Hospital vendor credentialing is the certification process that a medical vendor sales representative must go through in order to be admitted into a hospital facility. Within the United States, vendor representatives are prohibited from entering a hospital for business purposes without the appropriate approval and credentials from the hospital’s vendor credentialing system. Hospital vendor credentialing is an essential process that ensures the well-being and safety of both staff and their patients. Typically acquiring hospital vendor credentials requires a certain level of immunizations, certifications such as CPR, and a comprehensive training curriculum. Once vendor representatives check into the hospital to verify they are appropriately credentialed, they are given a badge that defines which areas of the hospital they are authorized to access.
Why is Hospital Vendor Credentialing Important?
Hospital vendor credentialing is important because it is a proactive step for healthcare organizations’ administrators to take towards protecting the patients and the organization. It can be seen as one aspect of the overall risk management plan in place. Hospital vendor credentialing helps minimize a hospital or clinic’s exposure to risk by establishing safeguards and decision support for the organization, specifically around access and contracting decisions. It is intended to protect against harm that can result from partnering with unethical vendors or uncontrolled vendor access to a hospital or clinic and its staff and patients.
Hospital vendor credentialing came about from a historical lack of enforced controls for restricting and preventing unauthorized access to healthcare facilities and patient files. In the past, many healthcare organizations had security that was too lax, allowing almost anyone to walk through the halls of the facility while patient files and medical records were easily accessible. While some protocols were in place, such as hospital sign-in policies, they were minimally enforced and, in turn, often ignored by vendors.
The initial driving force behind adopting external hospital vendor credentialing programs arose from the growing need to increase quality care at hospitals and clinics while controlling costs.
There is also the necessity of complying with the standards of quality care set by governing bodies and healthcare organizations such as The Joint Commission, and the Association of Operating Room Nurses (AORN), and the American College of Surgeons (ACS). Organization security representatives were putting increasingly more pressure on hospital staff to keep a closer watch on vendors in order to reduce both the patients’ and the hospital or clinic’s vulnerability to various safety, privacy, and security risks. However, a need for a more rigorous and sophisticated in-house credentialing program was proving to be challenging and costly to maintain. This led to an increased interest in external vendor credentialing programs.
Reasons Why Hospital Vendor Credentialing is on the Rise
1. Increased Privacy and Confidentiality Concerns
Healthcare organizations have been increasingly faced with more responsibility to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of information including that of their patients, employees, customers, clients, etc. This protection extends to not only who should access this information but also where it is stored. Hospital vendor credentialing can help improve the privacy and confidentiality concerns of a hospital or clinic.
2. Increased Security Concerns
Especially as of late, security concerns are becoming a more prominent concern for society in general. From terrorism concerns to protection from theft and hacking, these concerns relate to a healthcare organization as well. Hospital vendor credentialing can help keep those risks at bay and keep your patients - their personal safety, possessions, and files - protected.
3. Concern for Spread of Health Risks
Within the healthcare organization context, the risk of spreading illness is of strong concern. This is not only because infections are more rampant in a hospital or clinic but also because of the need to protect those seeking treatment who may be vulnerable to certain ailments. Using a hospital vendor credentialing system will help ensure only those with the right treatments and qualifications are in the healthcare facility at any given time and also control vendor representatives access to patient care areas.
4. Increased Concern for Accountability in the Healthcare System
As healthcare providers, it is imperative that there are accountability frameworks in place that work in tandem with established risk management programs. In the unfortunate case of something going awry, it is crucial that a healthcare organization avoid negative publicity or litigation. Having a hospital vendor credentialing system can help defend an organization and prove that steps have been taken to foster accountability.
5. More Complex Healthcare Systems
As healthcare organizations grow and prosper, they may become more complex organizations of several satellite and standalone locations. This may result in several access points or departments not being directly on-site. Having a hospital vendor credentialing system established can help control access to the healthcare facilities and ensure accountability across all locations.
6. Better Control of the Supply Chain
A hospital vendor credentialing system can help protect healthcare practitioners from making purchasing decisions due to pressure, persuasion, or favoritism. With a larger accountability framework in place, these decision makers are encouraged to make purchasing decisions equitably and fairly, ensuring the protection and integrity of the healthcare organization and its patients.
The vendor credentialing industry is currently a multi-million dollar industry in the United States and continues to show signs of growth.
Interested in how your healthcare organization can benefit from an external vendor credentialing system? At symplr, our mission is to lead the industry in simple, intuitive compliance and credentialing software and services. symplr covers all the angles – from the credentialing, enrollment, and privileging of providers to tracking provider and practice quality to managing vendor and visitor activity in your facility – with advanced solutions, services, and support.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help make your healthcare facilities’ credentialing processes a bit simpler.