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With COVID-19, we’ve seen struggling hospitals, physician deficiencies, and insufficient access to healthcare providers. Many healthcare facilities invest more time, money, and resources into upgrading their telehealth offerings to neutralize these shortages. While telehealth is becoming more widely accepted, that wasn’t always the case. 

Skeptics to Fans

In prior years, patients weren’t exactly impressed by telemedicine. Most skeptics disliked the absence of a physical examination, the lack of in-person interaction, the use of technology, and the quality of care through telehealth services. But while there are drawbacks, there are always benefits. It’s those advantages, such as eliminating travel, receiving care from the comfort of your own home, quicker access to care, and shorter wait times, that are intriguing at a time when there should be limited contact. 

Telemedicine Becomes More Accessible 

Despite the drawbacks listed above, the number one reason patients have never tried telemedicine previously is because their provider didn’t offer it. Now, amid COVID-19, actions by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), and other governing bodies have increased its availability, making telehealth more accessible than ever. Along with that high demand, healthcare systems quickly recognized a need for more healthcare practitioners, which meant more resources and time spent on credentialing. 

Credentialing Explained

For reference, before a practitioner provides hospital care, he or she must have their qualifications evaluated and verified. This process is known as credentialing, which ensures an individual possesses the necessary qualifications to provide medical services to patients. Once a practitioner is credentialed, the hospital engages in the privileging process, which will assess the practitioner’s competence in a specific area of care. 

The Perks of Automated Credentialing

For healthcare systems that perform this process manually, there are many disadvantages. Humans aren’t as fast as credentialing software, and mistakes can be made that could lead to costly liabilities. A way healthcare systems have streamlined the credentialing process is by adopting automated credentialing. Not only is it delivering on faster turnaround times, but it also decreases costs and improves the security of protected information. In addition, during the pandemic, it has aided in the sudden popularity of telehealth services and accelerated the process for when physicians apply for credentials at multiple hospitals and/or practice across state lines (as allowed by current state mandates under the Public Health Emergency Declaration). 

When Outsourcing Makes the Difference

To keep it simple, if you can’t keep up with your credentials and/or they’re not 100% accurate and up-to-date, insurance companies won’t pay. If a manual error is made, it slows down the process, potentially delaying provider reimbursement. 

When hospitals complete their medical credentialing in-house, the reimbursement cycle can take up to 180 days. When outsourcing to companies like Advantum Health, the reimbursement cycle can be shortened to just 90.

Outsourcing medical credentialing services saves money and time for hospitals and the healthcare providers and administrators who work within them. Contact us today to learn how you can speed up your RCM and reduce medical credentialing costs.