“What if making the world a safer place meant letting people in?” asks Mike Sheehan, CEO of IntelliCentrics. Generally, security systems are designed to keep people out, but the right credentialing system welcomes those entering a healthcare facility who meet certain pre-determined requirements. In the article, Checking In: The Importance of Hospital Credentialing, Sheehan and hospital executives discuss how credentialing ensures that everyone from medical staff to vendors and visitors are authorized to be on-site.
For most of us in the healthcare industry, the importance of credentialing is understood, but many patients and patient guests don’t realize how essential credentialing is for their safety. The article ran as part of a Patient Safety campaign that was published in the February 27, 2015 weekend edition of USA Today. The campaign proved to be an excellent opportunity to educate the general public on one of the most important ways hospitals and other healthcare facilities are working to keep them safe.
According to Quincy Stanley, supply chain manager for Mercy Hospital and Medical Center in Chicago, credentialing has allowed the facility “to do a better job of tracking and maintaining the proper documentation for our clinicians.” Credentialing ensures that medical staff and other employees in the hospital are properly trained, have the necessary immunizations and have met other hospital-determined requirements before being allowed to work in the facility.
For patients, this means that only those who meet the hospital’s stringent requirements will be able to interact with them. Patients may come into contact with a large number of different types of people while hospitalized. This goes beyond medical staff and includes maintenance workers, volunteers and medical device representatives. All of them need to be adequately credentialed to maintain the safety and health of the patient. Brent T. Johnson, vice president supply chain and support services for Intermountain Healthcare in Utah, explains that credentialing is put in place to assure patients “that all others entering our hospital critical care areas have appropriate personal care safeguards.”
Another benefit credentialing brings to both healthcare facilities and patients is lower cost. According to the article. “While credentialing costs $1.1 million a year, not credentialing can run $5.8 million annually.” This disparity is due to the fact that adverse events, business disruptions and opportunity costs can all be traced back to noncompliance.
According to Sheehan, credentialing saves lives. Like aviation, healthcare is an industry where “we can’t take shortcuts.”