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How Medical Staff Offices Benefit from Telehealth Credentialing Agreements

Patient safety is the name of the game in credentialing. It is a process essential to ensuring quality care. However, the traditional primary source verification (PSV) approach to credentialing is antiquated in the age of telemedicine.

Credentialing agreements between hospitals and telehealth providers uphold high standards of care, while significantly reducing medical staff administration time and expense for originating health organizations.


Credentialing must evolve

Telemedicine services continue to expand at a rapid pace. The model demonstrates tremendous potential by providing all patients with ready access to the full spectrum of specialists and medical insight.

However, as reported in the National Law Review:

“[D]espite the uptick in telemedicine services at hospitals, many medical staff offices still use the traditional “primary source verification” process to credential physicians. … The traditional credentialing process is far more time consuming and costly than credentialing by proxy, and hospitals (particularly originating site hospitals that receive/purchase telemedicine services) should consider how to take advantage of the streamlined credentialing by proxy process offered by both CMS and the Joint Commission.”

Medical staffing pros may wish to peruse the complete article: National Law Review, Telemedicine Credentialing by Proxy: What Hospitals and Telehealth Companies Need to Know.

In a nutshell: Credentialing practices must evolve to properly serve patients in the quickly changing telehealth landscape.


Reduce your workload and streamline administration

A credentialing agreement between a hospital and a remote telemedicine provider allows the hospital to make their credentialing and privileging decisions based on work previously done by the telemedicine practice. Such an agreement has significant benefits for the medical staff office. Specifically, credentialing agreements:

  1. Eliminate duplicate work. Telehealth providers are governed by the same compliance standards as other health organizations, with the additional complexity of spanning borders. vRad, for example, provides radiological services to patients in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam. We have the expertise to properly credential physicians to national standards, as well as to requirements which can vary state-to-state. We make this available to our partners, thus eliminating the need for hospital medical staff offices to duplicate the effort.
  2. Accelerate processing. Facilities that use credentialing agreements are able to approve applicable files more quickly than those using PSV. Depending on the position to be filled, traditional credentialing can take 90 to 120 days or more. vRad partners can add a radiologist to their roster in under 30 days – often within a week or two. Patients benefit when hospitals make privileging and credentialing decisions more quickly. As staffing needs are identified, credentialing agreements help ensure those needs are filled promptly.
  3. Streamline administration. In addition to expedited credentialing, medical staff offices also have on-demand access to relevant records maintained by vRad.  Our partners benefit from 24/7 online access to the comprehensive records for their entire roster of teleradiologists through our secure client portal. When a facility needs to adjust in response to coverage needs, the means to do so is a simple log-in away. The online system eliminates the time lag of printed and mailed files, and the inconvenience of bulky email attachments. In brief, administration is much more agile.

Unlike the PSV model, the client portal eliminates the need for medical staff offices to maintain files on site. vRad partners have full access to records without the burdens of compilation and storage, which further expedites credentialing.


Ensuring quality care

By reducing administrative burdens, credentialing agreements can ultimately cut costs without compromising care quality. That’s why the practice is supported by both CMS and the Joint Commission.

At vRad, we choose to pursue standards that actually exceed those specified by the Joint Commission, so our clients and their patients are assured of the integrity of the radiological professionals at their service.


About the Author

Author Roberta Monte

Manager of Physician Services. A part time position as a nursing assistant ignited in Roberta a passion for quality healthcare that still burns bright after 20 years. She now oversees the privileging of over 500 vRad teleradiologists serving clients in all 50 states. A native Minnesotan with small-town roots, today she enjoys life in the Twin Cities, with two rambunctious boys, and her husband of 15 years.



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