Confessions of a Paper-Based Medical Staff Services Department

The signs were there. We’d been telling ourselves that going paperless is a “nice to have” in our world of must-do’s. 

  • We thought: Keying provider data from paper applications into our software makes us digital! 
  • We reasoned: Keeping paper files in our file cabinets is more secure than storing data in the cloud!
  • We denied: Our providers dislike change and will see online applications and virtual committees as onerous!

But now we realize that the sand in the hourglass has run out, and there’s little defense against the growing list of reasons why paper must go. 

Joking aside, there’s a tipping point when insufficient provider management technology becomes detrimental to your healthcare organization. It hampers your ability to grow the business, ensure data security, cut overhead costs, improve workflow accuracy and speed, and enhance provider satisfaction.

Overcome that left-out feeling of missing the boat on innovation, and let symplr accelerate your timeline to become fully digital. 

Go digital for these 10 reasons:

1. Automation

Web crawlers are the little self-driving cars of provider data management software. symplr’s software interacts with CAQH for fast provider profile updates and includes web crawlers that obtain practitioner data through state licensure, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Office of Inspector General, National Practitioner Data Bank, and other authorities. Other automated, time-saving tools built into symplr’s digital solutions can send applications in batches and verify in batches (multiple facilities, providers, verification types) to accelerate credentialing and enrollment on a large scale.

2. Mobility 

The pandemic taught us to expect the unexpected. Pre-COVID-19, provider data management functions were thought to be effective only when completed in-office. Now secure, paperless, mobile access is required as the new way to restructure the credentialing and enrollment functions. It’s the best way to avoid disruptions and minimize compliance risks when patients, staff, and clinicians are geographically scattered. 

3. Reinforcement

Sometimes interim help is needed to clear a backlog of files, get to paperless, or for spikes in provider volume due to acquisitions or mergers. With web-based credentialing, your files are automatically saved in a shared database on a web server, allowing reinforcement staff to access the system. It’s as simple as assigning permissions and access levels for your digital system. Credentialing and enrollment can be easily outsourced, while your administrative hub still maintains control of your data. 

4. Analytics

Once your medical staff office is paperless, the creation of reports and analytics that were once a fully manual process becomes automated. Consider the value of insight gained through digital reporting on data such as:

  • Providers with expiring items in the near future
  • Providers with re-appointments in the upcoming months.
  • Quality performance details of providers by department or specialty.
  • Auditing requests for regulatory bodies.

5. Customization

Provider data management software does the heavy lifting for applications (i.e., provider initial appointment and reappointment, and payer enrollment). The sheer number of application types requires application-mapping capability to be in your hands—not a manual process or a custom request of a software vendor. Using symplr, there’s no need to wait 48-72 hours for a vendor to map applications, run reports, or create custom fields capable of more than just “yes/no” responses when you prefer to self-serve and get creative. Of course, none of these features is available with paper.

6. Customer service

Providers, insurers, and patients are accustomed to the level of customer service that automation provides in every other industry. Holding onto paper processes—even partially—negatively affects customer service and marketing for your healthcare organization when internal and external customers view your paper processes as outdated and not confidential.

7. Centralization

More departments and individuals than ever require access to the data that medical credentialing professionals handle. Going paperless eliminates data duplication and repetitive tasks, and allows for easy knowledge transfer among authorized users. Further, centralizing provider data into a single source of truth creates efficiencies across the provider lifecycle. This fosters the ability to communicate more effectively in sharing data, ensure data integrity and transparency, and demonstrate accountability for large volumes of traceable data.

8. Security 

Data security requires vigilance over administrative, physical, and technical entry points. Consider that through software as a service (SaaS), symplr consistently invests in security, which is not the case with paper-based systems. Prepare to go digital. Address your organization’s unique provider data privacy and security needs:

  • Will you implement activity tracking? Auditing? Encryption?
  • Who will be able to apply administrative permissions? 
  • What security features do you need to meet federal, state, and board regulations? 

9. Cost

By eliminating the use of paper files and storing your information safely online, your organization avoids delays that slow reimbursement timelines, improves the efficiency of staff, and improves the bottom line. Often-overlooked costs associated with paper are offsite data storage, mailing costs, and environmental printer and ink disposal fees.

10. Compliance

Failure to submit required documentation on time draws fines and jeopardizes accreditation and compliance. A fully digital provider data management solution creates alerts, reminders, and automated workflows that ensure no step in the credentialing or enrollment process is missed.


In which of the preceding needs do you find your office reflected? Start small in the conversion to paperless, using a modular solution with selected applications from symplr that you can build on. Or, take the plunge all at once and be done with paper files and applications forever, using symplr’s total cloud solution. 

Interested in learning more?


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