Vendor Credentialing – Communication is the Key to Success
Recently, St. Luke’s Health System in Boise, ID went through a re-implementation of symplr’s Vendor Credentialing program. We are considered a medium sized IDN, but with 13,000 employees across 7 facilities, we quickly realized that communication was going to make or break us! This goes for both internal AND external communication.
Below are examples of how we communicated with those two populations to have the smoothest transition possible.
In our case, a large part of our Healthcare Industry Representatives (HCIRs) or sales reps were already registered with symplr, but they were primarily OR-related so we were missing a significant number of other reps who came through our doors, so the very first thing we had to do was identify them as best we could to be able to communicate with them.
The downside is that our health system did not have a central list of suppliers anywhere in the hospital – we tried to compile as best list we could from different people’s email groups and as many items as we could and we sent out from blanket group email communication, and that was really the best starting point that we could work from.
60 days before our “go live” with symplr, we sent out a communication to all the HCIRs we could find, and our motto was to “keep it simple, stupid.” As clearly as possible, we identified what was happening and when. We gave the HCIRs that 60-day deadline for compliance and explained that, starting on that go live date, they would receive a red light if they were not registered and compliant.
In that same communication, we also sent a list of FAQs to address the who, what, when, where, how, and why and conducted a Q&A webinar to allow those reps to call in and ask questions. There was not a huge participation rate in those, but it served as another avenue to reach people.
The last piece of that external communication was an additional policy in their profiles that listed out how each site worked within symplr, because some of our sites have nuances and we wanted to make sure they knew where the check-in stations were located and which facilities required appointments, how to make appointments, etc. Our idea was to include that in their profiles so that we could always refer to it. When these questions inevitably came up, we were able to say, “It’s in your profile. Go read it and it’ll tell you exactly what you need to do for that site you want to visit.”
Our go live date happened before the first external communication. We wanted them to be within a few days of each other so the communication wasn’t lost and if an HCIR was going to set an appointment, it would happen within a very short amount of time, that they have received that communication from supply chain that there were these big changes and we wanted it to be active before the general population knew about it.
Learn more by watching symplr's free webcast: Vendor Credentialing: Implementation Done Seamlessly.
Here we conducted our department contact webinar (those department contacts are the end user – the people that were going to receive the DART appointment). We conducted three sessions on three different days and times to allow them to attend it. We explained that what was going to happen with the new symplr and what DART appointments would look like from their perspective as the clinician or the St. Luke’s employee and what it looked like from the sales rep’s perspective so they could understand how that communication worked back and forth.
We also sent out a simple physician letter to spell out the who, what, when, where, how, and why, and this letter was endorsed by our BP of supply chains who is also a physician.
Next, for the all-staff email, we wanted to again keep it very simple. It was one page and had no attachments. We framed it in that “how does it affect me?” manner. Essentially, we said what is happening, your role in the change, the supplier’s role, and then we provided a few all-staff question and answer webinars. We sent this out via an all-staff email so that everyone had it. Then, we put the notice into our system weekly newsletter.
Since we do have so many employees, we wanted to make sure that we not only communicated out to our staff, but had a destination where they could go to find more information as well. This was sort of a “self help” site on our intranet where we stored more information about the changes and Q&A webinars, a link to the policy, links to the symplr site, and contact information to symplr staff. I’m pleased to report that this site was frequently visited.
To conclude, we felt that our re-implementation of symplr’s Vendor Credentialing in our facility went extremely well all things considered, and effective communication was a huge reason for that success. We tried to hit as many people in as many ways as possible with our message. There are always going to be people who fall through the cracks, but if a large portion of your population knows what’s going on, it makes things so much easier!
Access symplr's Vendor Credentialing Demo Video.
About Bentley O'Neil
Bentley O’Neil earned a supply chain management degree from Boise State University. He has five years of supply chain experience and has been with St. Luke’s Health System for two and a half years. His current responsibilities include: value analysis, vendor management, and analytics. He led a team to create a new health system vendor policy in 2014 and then led the re-implementation of symplr across seven hospitals. He has also been instrumental in the analytics and presentations for physician preference initiatives.