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Digitalized Medical Credentialing: How It Could Change Job Placements

Medical credentialing is a necessary yet cumbersome process that accompanies every new practice change or locum tenens placement. It is designed to ensure that doctors and practitioners have received all the necessary training and experience to safely and efficiently practice medicine.

A new report by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) reviews current practices and the efforts that are being made to speed up and improve the credentialing process through digitization of the provider’s documentation—a step seen as necessary to meet the needs of the healthcare market of the future. 

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The process for medical credentialing

The credentialing process involves reviewing key information for each medical professional, including:
  • Education and training
  • Residency
  • Licensing
  • Specialty certificates
  • Work history
  • Qualifications

Physicians and advanced practitioners must go through a credentialing review when they start at a new practice or change states. This process allows states and insurance providers to determine which medical providers meet their requirements. Many facilities also require providers to go through privileging, which is the process of authorizing a specific scope of practice for patient care based on credentials and performance.

While providers are responsible for providing the records and meeting the requirements—for permanent or locum positions—they can usually rely on their recruitment agency to handle many of the details and help them through the process.

New FSMB report looks at future of digital credentials1

The new report by the FSMB, entitled “Healthcare and Digital Credentials: Technical, Legal, and Regulatory Considerations,” looks at the potential of digitized licensure and credentialing information to enhance public protection while reducing regulatory burdens.

“The FSMB is taking a leading role in analyzing the practical application of digital credentials in both healthcare and the regulated professions,” said FSMB CEO and President Humayun Chaudhry, DO, MACP. “The insight found in this report is timely as all regulatory boards look to see how technology can be implemented in service to patient safety and regulatory excellence."

The current process of credentialing requires physicians and other health care practitioners to provide state medical boards, hospitals and insurance companies documentation of education and training that is sent directly from the issuing institution or which has been verified independently by a third party. To assist physicians in this process, the FSMB operates the Federation Credentials Verification Service ( FCVS), an NCQA-certified credentials verification platform that is widely used by physicians and physician assistants seeking medical licensure and credentialing. 

Each year, FCVS is used in approximately 50 percent of medical licensing decisions made in the United States. However, the report concludes that the current process continues to reflect a paper-based chain of custody and is filled with redundancies that increase the time and costs borne out throughout the system.

Digitization of the necessary documentation is cited as an achievable way to address these issues, as well as reduce administrative burdens.

“Over the last two years, our internal review of the credentials creation and verification process illustrated that available technologies were not being used to their fullest potential,” said FSMB Chief Information Officer Michael Dugan. He described the report as key step in evolving the licensing and credentialing process to meet the needs of the healthcare market of the future.

The FSMB partnered with Learning Machine to assist in the review of the technologies currently being used and developed in the area of education and credentialing. The report surveys and compares three available technologies—digital signatures, Open Badges, and blockchain-enabled credentials (Blockcerts)—and calls for an industry-wide willingness to evaluate process and implement changes that specifically address existing inefficiencies and barriers. 

“Any organization or institution considering digital credentials can benefit from the research found in this report, and it is our hope that it sparks additional interest and collaboration that will modernize the licensure and credentialing process,” said Dugan.

1Source: Federation of State Medical Boards

LOCUM LEADERS is helping to streamline locum tenens placements with the My Locum Leaders portal for candidates, and our staff is prepared to assist with all credentialing and licensing issues.