Optimizing Your Vendor Credentialing Program
The continued success of your program is a team effort
Congratulations! You’re done implementing your vendor credentialing program. It’s time to sit back, relax, and let it run itself.
Or is it?
If you are like many organizations, after implementation is finished it may seem like everything is running smoothly: staff is checking day badges and vendors are becoming credentialed, so you feel like everything is under control.
But there's a new hurdle: how do you ensure your policy’s effectiveness over time? Or to put it another way: how can you make sure all the hard work you just invested in your vendor credentialing program doesn’t go to waste?
It’s human nature to become complacent over time, especially after your staff has “gotten the hang” of the program. However, the only way to ensure the safety and security of your patients, staff, and visitors long-term is to continually optimize your vendor credentialing program.
Here, we’ll cover two important focus areas for optimization: established staff and new hires.
Optimization for established staff – keep vendor credentialing top-of-mind
It's vital for existing staff not to become complacent with confirming vendors are credentialed and following policies. Encourage your team to ensure that vendor credentialing and associated issues become a standing agenda item during departmental meetings. Topics covered could include:
- a quick reminder about vendors requiring appointments for visits
- discussion around patterns of overrides
- commending a staff member who spotted a vendor without a day badge
- alerting staff to a new vendor who will be on premise
Optimization for new staff: comprehensive employee training
We suggest that in addition to reviewing your organization’s credentialing policies, all new staff training encompasses these four points:
1. Define who qualifies as a representative that needs credentialing through your Vendor Management System (VMS)
Some healthcare organizations choose to have every type of vendor (such as repair personnel and contractors) credentialed, while other organizations concentrate on vendors dealing with patient care. The definition of who requires credentialing through a vendor management system is not global. Defining for your new employees exactly which representatives need vendor credentials is a critical building block to enforcement.
2. Explain levels of access
We suggest clearly outlining the levels of access that apply to your organization. As with the definition of a representative, there is a possibility this may be different than the employee’s prior facility. Generally, there are four levels of access, which include:
- Provider – physicians’ offices and clinics
- Administrative – general hospital areas
- Patient Care – access to provider and administrative areas, as well as access to patients and PHI
- All Access – all areas including procedure areas
Sometimes it’s not enough to let personnel know what the levels are. Some employees may find it helpful to define sections of the facility (such as outpatient offices or emergency room areas) as Provider, Administrative, Patient Care, and All Access, so there's no confusion.
3. Confirm new employees can spot transgressors
Staff needs to be educated about your facility’s day-pass badge to know when vendors in the facility are non-compliant. Make sure everyone is aware of the key information included in the day badge (such as date and time) and its location on the badge. It’s much easier to recognize when something is not right when you know where to look.
4. Review the equipment used in your facility
Educate staff about where vendors receive their badges in the event that someone needs to be directed there. Confirm that staff is thoroughly trained on the type of equipment that they will personally be required to use. A new employee is far more likely to follow policies if they’re comfortable with the technology used to enforce it.
Continually emphasize the purpose of vendor credentialing
Vendor credentialing is the best way to confirm your organization is doing everything it can to protect the health and safety of employees, patients and visitors, as well as limit situations that could result in liability or loss of reputation for your organization.
A staff that understands the importance of credentialing is much more likely to abide by and enforce your facility’s policies. Ultimately, the most successful vendor credentialing programs are those where all parties are involved and work together. Vendor credentialing programs are only as strong as the people behind them. The best way to ensure long-term success is to make it a team effort.
Want to see how your vendor management program measures up? Download our eBook, Five Best Practices for your Vendor Management Program, to see what we've learned over years of implementing vendor programs across facilities nationwide.
About Jamie Eppler
Jamie is an Account Manager at symplr, covering accounts located in the Central U.S. She focuses on helping facility administrators ensure that their vendor credentialing program is running as effectively as possible and keeping them up to date on the latest from symplr while addressing the unique needs of each healthcare organization. With over seven years of experience at symplr in various roles, Jamie is well-versed in vendor management and brings a wealth of knowledge to the symplr team and its clients.