Leaders in the healthcare sector can improve the safety and security of their patients and staff by implementing a comprehensive credentialing program. When all staff and commercial visitors participate in best practices and system policies, hospitals can provide a safer environment for their patients.
Medical Staff CredentialingCredentialing is the process used to evaluate the qualifications and practice history of medical personnel. This is a crucial component of regulatory compliance and is mandatory for accreditation as well as the protection of employees and patients. Primary source verification (PSV) is used to credential medical staff, including doctors, nurses and laboratory personnel. 
PSV is the act of obtaining licensing and credential information directly from the source that issued the credentials, or a secondary source that has been given the rights to verify that information. For instance, before John D. Surgeon, MD can start performing procedures at a hospital, his medical school will have to directly verify that he graduated from their program. According to the Health Resources & Services Administration, “Examples of primary source verification include, but are not limited to, direct correspondence, telephone verification, internet verification, and reports from credentials verification organizations.” The PSV process includes a review of a healthcare professional’s education, training, residency and licenses as well as any certifications issued by the board in the professional’s area of specialization. Non-Medical Staff Credentialing Credentialing is not limited to medical staff, but applies to all healthcare personnel (HCP). According to the CDC, HCP includes every person who has direct or indirect contact with patients, including administrative staff, vendor representatives, contract employees, security, maintenance, students and volunteers.Though the credentialing process is not as intense as the primary source verification used for medical staff, non-medical staff credentialing involves verifying that everyone in the health facility has a clean background check, has been vetted through drug tests and has a thorough understanding of the hospital’s health and safety policies. All parties are expected to comply with the hospital’s training, education, immunization and other standards. Credentialing Standards Credentialing standards for healthcare personnel at all levels are built upon recommendations by industry regulatory bodies such as The Joint Commission (TJC), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Over the years, hospitals have also developed industry best practices that have influenced credentialing standards.The Benefits of Credentialing Effective management of credentials helps hospitals comply with regulations and protect the safety and health of patients as well as the personnel who care for them. Patients may come into contact with a wide variety of people while hospitalized, but only a percentage of these people have been adequately credentialed. The risk of adverse events increases with the level of exposure to people who aren’t credentialed. “The scientific literature, lay press, and Web have produced a consensus basic definition of an ‘adverse medical event or error’ as one that causes an injury to a patient as the result of a medical intervention rather than the underlying medical condition,” explains David E. Attarian, MD, of The Association for Orthopaedic Surgeons. Every direct and indirect human contact could possibly result in the spread of infections and viruses and cause adverse events. Hospital acquired infections (HAIs) account for half of the adverse events that occur in hospitals. Non-HAI adverse events, including falls, violent crimes and drug-related incidents, account for the other half. To lessen the risk of adverse events, facilities can benefit from a comprehensive credentialing program that reaches everyone in the hospital. Hospitals must put measures in place to certify proper training and to monitor adherence to industry best practices regarding the exposure of patients to risks.Credentialing is one way your healthcare facility can improve the safety of your patients, but did you know that it can also improve your bottom line? To learn more about the cost advantages of credentialing, download our white paper, Can Your Hospital Afford Not to Implement a Comprehensive Credentialing Program?

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