The Children’s Hospital and Medical Center knew its existing provider management system could be a lot better than it was and that clearly indicated an upgrade was imminent. After carefully reviewing the available options, they chose the highly automated symplr Provider platform because they knew that only symplr Provider could ensure the related processes and files were consistently accurate, timely and confidential.
When CHMC’s previous software supplier scrapped its existing system in favor of a costly, massive and system-wide upgrade that didn’t meet the hospital’s needs, Melissa Johnson, manager, Medical Staff Services, Medical Education & Graduate Medical Education, Children’s Hospital and Medical Center shopped around for alternatives that included symplr Provider. After all, she’d worked with symplr Provider in a previous role at another hospital and her experience proved the product was effective and the customer service superior.
“I’d loved symplr Provider before and I knew I’d love symplr Provider and their products again,” says Johnson. “Our previous software had gaps and was now offering bells and whistles we didn’t need at twice the price of symplr Provider. I knew symplr Provider would give us exactly what we needed.”
Committee Manager is a comprehensive, flexible module that is fully customizable to a hospital’s policies, systems and processes. Johnson appreciated symplr Provider collaborating with her department to customize Committee Manager to fit CMHC’s medical staff structure and bylaws.
“I love the fact Committee Manager could be adapted to suit us, so that we didn’t have to change the way we’d always done things,” says Johnson.
Prior to symplr Provider, the committee review process was manual and paper-based with formal meetings scheduled a year in advance to ensure participants’ availability. Review sheets were printed off for the department chairmen to review and sign. If the committee chairs couldn’t come to Johnson’s office, the provider files were taken to them where they might sit for weeks.
“Maintaining the security, integrity, and confidentiality of those files is vital, and the potential risk was at the back of everyone’s minds, but there was only so much we could do with paper-based files,” says Johnson.
Committee Manager requires reviewers to log on with a unique user name and password and their actions are tracked with date and time stamps. Reviewers can’t make changes or delete content, but they can share notes and comments. It also guides reviewers through the process to ensure a logical flow and consistency, assigns and schedules reviewers, and tracks their progress. Reviewers’ questions, responses and discussions are preserved, which eliminates the duplication of effort.
“We’re respecting reviewers’ time by giving them the ability to do their reviews from home, while on vacation or when they have downtime,” says Johnson.
symplr Provider and Johnson collaborated to ensure the electronic process and files mimicked the familiar paper-based system to encourage buy-in and comfort levels. Johnson also allocated 30-minute, one-on-one training sessions to each of the 20+ providers and discovered Committee Manager was so user-friendly, they generally needed just 15 minutes of training on the system.
“Instead of working with 180 pages of paper per review, they can click through the various smaller sections and focus exclusively on the tabs that really need their attention,” says Johnson. “For example, because of symplr Provider License Monitor, they review only the high-level provider profile rather than thumbing through each page pertaining to licenses because they know symplr Provider diligently manages them.”
Streamlined License Monitoring Slashes Workload
symplr Provider License Monitor automatically updates all license renewals and expirations for CHMC’s 5,000 referring providers. As a result, Johnson and her team need just 30 minutes a month to investigate the 10 or so referring providers flagged by License Monitor rather than 40 hours to review all 5,000 referring providers.
When I demonstrate License Monitor, I tell my peers to start lobbying for it immediately because it will save them enormous amounts of time,” says Johnson.
License monitoring is crucial because a provider with an expired license can’t work and renewals can take weeks. Before License Monitor, credentialing specialists had to visit each of the primary source license websites, confirm the provider’s renewal and save the verification. The repetitive, administrative tasks weren’t the best use of Medical Staff skills or experience and the extra hours resulted in unexpected overtime that increased costs
“The Joint Commission review is asking more of us than before and License Monitor frees my staff to prepare everything required by the Joint Commission surveyors,” says Johnson.
Over the years, Johnson has personally experienced the symplr Provider commitment to support. symplr Provider staff are available to talk users through issues and even share screens to help troubleshoot.
“The fact we can connect live with a real person makes all the difference,” says Johnson.
symplr Provider also solicits suggestions from users like Johnson who regularly shares ideas and suggestions based on her own and her team’s experiences with the products.
“They recognize the value of our input to other industry professionals and incorporate feedback from the people in the trenches that use their systems day in and day out,” says Johnson. “symplr Provider products work because they really want to understand where we’re coming from and help us address our issues.”