Improving the onboarding experience

Onboarding can be an arduous process for physician leadership and medical staff service departments (MSSD), even when things go smoothly. More and more, organizations are hearing about the provider experience of onboarding--including their frustration when application turnaround times are long, processes are repetitive, and providers have no idea where their application is in the process.

Do provider onboarding experiences matter? Yes, says Alicia Mendez, CPMSM, CPCS, president of AIA Credentialing, a consultancy in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Mendez's consulting work has taken her to acute care hospitals and multihospital systems, ambulatory care facilities, and large multi-specialty physician groups (300-plus practitioners). "I was there to consult on provider enrollment, but every interaction made its way back to the onboarding process," she said during a presentation at last year’s NAMSS Educational Conference and Exhibition.

Providers' impressions of onboarding matter because, increasingly, if prospective medical staff members encounter a cumbersome onboarding process, they may seek to practice elsewhere. In addition, studies show that provider satisfaction influences patient satisfaction—and thus business outcomes as well.

Onboarding means different things in different organizations, and what it entails depends on the setting. In some organizations, for example, provider enrollment can get handed off to the managed care department; others offload some duties to credentials verification organizations. The process often starts and ends with the medical staff services department (MSSD). Each facility has its own nuances and tradition. According to Mendez, the "usual suspects" of onboarding are:

  • Introduction/start
  • Application
  • Credentialing
  • Payer enrollment
  • Re-credentialing, aka cycle management

The experience can depend on:

  • How the provider starts the introduction process
  • What the provider encounters when completing the application process
  • How an organization vets that application

Source: Medical Staff Briefing