Health Check:
Physician Credentialing

Physician credentialing is one of the most important processes any medical institution performs, and peer referencing is a huge part of that.

There are many ways to manage peer referencing, but results vary – in terms of efficiency, quality of feedback and the overall experience for everyone involved.

How healthy is your peer referencing process?

Overall Condition: Flatlining

Mail

Preparation time

20 minutes per reference request.

Reliability of receipt

Low

You can't tell if the request was received or will be returned. It might be lost or forgotten on a desk.

Questionnaire time

30-60 minutes per questionnaire.

Peer reference experience

Low

Peer references must complete questionnaires by hand and take the time to send their response back in the mail.

First-time completion rate

Low

Forms are often returned incomplete or unsigned – or with indecipherable handwriting.

Follow-up automation

Low

Multiple requests must be sent manually with additional follow-up via phone often required.

Readability

Low

All responses are handwritten. So credentialers need to either decipher the text or follow up to clarify.

Feedback quality

Low

Tick-box questionnaires give basic information without insights into applicants' capabilities or professionalism.

Total turnaround time

Up to 3 months

Overall Condition: Critical

Fax

Preparation time

20 minutes per reference request.

Reliability of receipt

Low-Med

Fax machines can confirm receipt, but it's hard to know if responses will reach the right people at the right time.

Questionnaire time

30-60 minutes per questionnaire.

Peer reference experience

Low

Peer references need to receive the fax, print it, sign it and then send it back.

First-time completion rate

Low

Forms tend to come back incomplete or unsigned. So additional follow-up is necessary.

Follow-up automation

Low

Multiple requests must be sent manually with additional follow-up via phone often required.

Readability

Low

Responses are handwritten and most likely returned via fax, making them even harder to read.

Feedback quality

Low

Even if you can decipher the handwriting, you can't be sure you'll get insights into the applicants' capabilities.

Total turnaround time

Up to 3 months

Overall Condition: Serious

Email with PDF attachments

Preparation time

15 minutes per reference request (plus additional time if an e-signature license is used).

Reliability of receipt

Low-Med

There’s no easy way to determine if a response was received or will be returned.

Questionnaire time

30-60 minutes per questionnaire.

Peer reference experience

Low-Med

In most cases, peer references must download a form, print to complete or sign, and scan or fax to return.

First-time completion rate

Low-Med

No required fields built in to prevent incomplete responses.

Follow-up automation

Low

Multiple requests must be sent manually with additional follow-up via phone often required.

Readability

Med

Though typed responses are common, handwritten responses are likely.

Feedback quality

Low-Med

Typed responses are more detailed. But without required fields, you don't always get the right insights.

Total turnaround time

6-8 weeks or more

Overall Condition: Strong

Cloud-based, automated peer referencing

Preparation time

2 minutes per reference request.

Reliability of receipt

High

Questionnaire links are emailed and tracked, so you know if and when they've been received (and if they've bounced).

Questionnaire time

Average 6 minutes per questionnaire.

Peer reference experience

High

Questionnaires are simple and can be completed on any device with internet (mobile or desktop).

First-time completion rate

High

Required fields ensure all forms are returned complete.

Follow-up automation

High

You can automate reminders to references. And required fields get you complete, signed and legible responses.

Readability

High

Forms are completed online so all responses are typed and clear.

Feedback quality

High

Required fields ensure peers send you full answers. And IP address tracking shows you who's responding.

Total turnaround time

3 days or less

Smart peer referencing is a fundamental part of any healthy credentialing process.

But as our health check shows, different methods give very different results. The more you take advantage of digitization and automation, the greater your chances of getting peer referencing right - the first time - and the better the outlook for everyone involved: applicants, reference providers, and credentialing professionals.

Find out how cloud-based, automated peer referencing could improve your credentialing health.

Request Demo

And in the meantime, check out how much time you could save with the right solution — try our credentialing time-savings calculator here.