How to Streamline Your Vendor Credentialing Process
A comprehensive vendor credentialing program can be a hospital or healthcare organization’s best defense against potential liability and litigation, while ensuring quality control and cost-containment. Unfortunately for the healthcare supply chain, trying to tie together all the elements of compliance can feel like an unending, time-consuming cycle of paperwork and frustration. We have found that a highly-organized system is the best approach.
Below are our top five ways to streamline your vendor management process:
1. Establish an official vendor policy
If your facility has not already done so, we highly recommend establishing a formal vendor management and credentialing policy. Ideally, this policy should include a defined credentialing process with vendor requirements and expectations. Also useful is specific guidance regarding your appointment request and approval process. Additionally, we suggest including a clear explanation of the consequences for non-compliance as it relates to both staff and vendors.
2. Create a vendor toolkit
A vendor toolkit is essentially a road-map for vendors that describes how to do business with your organization, and it is your chance to define things such as appointment scheduling details and acceptable appointment hours. List all the requirements and steps necessary for a vendor to become credentialed with your healthcare organization. It is also helpful to provide the appropriate contact information for a member of staff that can answer vendor questions. Many facilities include a version of the official vendor policy in this kit as an added resource, too.
3. Make vendor management a priority for staff
Consider including vendor-management training as a part of staff onboarding for clinical as well as non-clinical employees – and make sure they know why vendor credentialing is important to your healthcare organization. Emphasizing the importance of vendor credentialing and the team’s role in its success will ensure that everyone upholds their respective measure for a safe and compliant environment. Additionally, inserting vendor management into regular staff meeting agendas gives an opportunity to take questions or concerns from staff, review issues, and acknowledge when employees have done a good job managing vendors in the facility.
4. Automate whenever possible
There are many facets to vendor management and credentialing that require attention to detail, sensitivity to compliance requirements, and more. As a result, automating the process where possible can have a significant impact on effectively managing all aspects (which is a lot)! If you use an automated solution, we suggest that the application do more than transfer paper forms to electronic versions. Confirm that the system can do important tasks such as verify credential requirements, send reminders and important notifications, and proactively alert you to non-compliant vendor visits (i.e. if a staff overrides a non-compliant vendor to visit).
5. Outsource credentialing to a third party – like symplr®
symplr is a full-service vendor credentialing solution crafted to be easy for vendors to use and low maintenance for staff. Since every organization is different, we can configure our solution to conform to your existing policies and/or implement best-practice standards. Our fully automated system can alert you to check-ins and helps vendors manage their credentials and easily see their status. However, when a human touch is needed, our pro-active customer service team is readily available. Outsourcing to symplr provides the peace-of-mind that comes from having a team of professionals on your side who protect you from liability while making your life, and the lives of your vendors, a lot easier.
Whatever your approach to vendor credentialing, keep in mind that the process will set the tone for your business relationships with vendors in the future. Clear communication and expectations about the credentialing process, as well as prompt responses to vendors when they have questions or run into difficulties while becoming credentialed, are in the best interest of both parties and builds a truly collaborative relationship.
About Julie Walker
Julie is responsible for managing symplr’s workforce management businesses, including vendor and general credentialing, visitor management, and API Healthcare. In her role, she partners with healthcare organizations to help them achieve their goals in compliance, safety, and security, while reducing risk. Prior to joining symplr, Julie served in a senior role at ProviderTrust, a leading SaaS provider credentialing company. Previously, she was Vice President of Sales at the National Healthcareer Association, a division of Ascend Learning, a SaaS healthcare credentialing company focused on allied health professionals. Julie received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Valparaiso University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Lipscomb University.