Healthcare credentialing solution increases productivity
“This was the best IT project I’ve been involved in. Epworth is rapidly realising the benefits of the newly-deployed solution.”
Epworth’s Group Manager, Medical Services
About Epworth Healthcare
Epworth HealthCare (Epworth), is Victoria’s largest not-for-profit private healthcare group, renowned for excellence in diagnosis, treatment, care and rehabilitation. Epworth is considered an innovator in Australia’s health system, embracing the latest in evidence-based medicine to pioneer treatments and services for patients. As a not-for-profit hospital, Epworth reinvests all surplus revenue in improved patient care. It invests generously in training staff, developing facilities and implementing the latest technology to remain at the forefront of medical treatment and patient safety.
Epworth had three primary solution requirements:
- To improve efficiency in its accreditation and reference checking processes
- To have the ability to electronically capture and automate parts of the Scope of Clinical Practice (SoCP) process across three tiers
- To improve the speed and flexibility of its credentialing reporting
Meeting these requirements would save valuable time, achieve productivity gains through automation of data entry, enable auditability and improved governance over medical credentialing and mitigate the risk by ensuring compliance with credentialing against the ACHS Scope of Clinical Practice (SoCP) Standard.
Prior to implementing the Empired solution Epworth’s accreditation and reference checking process was Excel-, email- and paper-based, meaning it was time consuming and relied heavily on people remembering to check statuses, send reminders, post forms and re-type data. It also meant that Epworth had minimal reporting functionality and was reliant on manual processes to validate the professional registration status of an individual doctor at any point in time.
The need for an improved SoCP process was brought about by regulatory changes in national accreditation standards. The changes reflect developments in technology which have resulted in a rapid increase in the availability of new and complex clinical services, procedures or other interventions which medical practitioners are now able to deliver in their professional practice. The new SoCP standards involve delineating the extent of an individual medical practitioner’s clinical practice within the organisation, based on the individual’s credentials, competence, performance and professional suitability, and the needs and the capability of the organisation to support the scope of clinical practice. In preparation for this change, Epworth needed the ability to capture and validate information regarding an individual’s practice, down to the level of competency to perform individual procedures, through more formal and robust processes.
Epworth conducted a formal evaluation process for suitable solution providers and selected Empired for this project. The Empired offering of a Dynamics CRM 2011, ASP .NET and SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS)-based solution offered Epworth the scalability, flexibility and auditability to ensure improved governance.
Empired used Microsoft Dynamics CRM to automate the accreditation process, and enabled doctors to enter information through an online form hosted on the Empired-built SharePoint website.
“Enhancing and accelerating Epworth’s credentialing process has raised the bar for quality and boosted confidence levels across the organisation. The effect has been so positive that Epworth would gladly talk to other customers about Empired's solution."
Epworth’s Group Manager, Medical Services
Accreditation and re-accreditation reminder emails and status reports are emailed to doctors. Epworth now receives electronic notification within 24 hours if any Epworth doctor’s national registration is terminated, suspended, or has had conditions applied, due to web services integration with AHPRA’s Practitioner Register. Epworth was the first organisation to take advantage of this electronic interface to the Practitioner Register.
Epworth’s SoCP process is able to record a doctor’s competence and skill in their practice area and each procedure that a doctor is accredited to perform. It has an attached workflow that takes a medical practitioner’s SoCP application through objective, peer clinical review before ratification by the Board of Management. The doctor receives a letter of appointment (an Empired-built report) detailing their specific, approved SoCP.
The reference-checking process has also become more efficient with turnaround times significantly reduced and referee details, requests and the detail of responses tracked back into the CRM electronically.
Empired built CRM dashboards to graphically represent achievement against key performance indicators. The CRM solution also allows Epworth to author bespoke reports enabling real-time audits on compliance, analysis of data and workflow efficiency and make accurate predictions of workflow peaks and credentialing effort. An important result of the dashboards is that Epworth can be proactive in its credentialing process. For example, the Medical Services Department is able to view the re-credentialing Dashboard and identify the period in which more accreditations expire than any other month, and can adjust staffing in advance of this period to ensure all applications for re-credentialing are able to be processed in a timely manner.
One automated report, presenting all the information relevant to a doctor’s accreditation application, is now able to be produced in a matter of minutes rather than days, and provides a professional and comprehensive information set for Epworth’s Credentialing Committees.
The Dynamics CRM credentialing solution supports Epworth in maintaining the confidence that its medical practitioners are appropriately qualified and competent to provide a high quality of patient care. The project to implement the solution has met all of Epworth’s initial objectives.
"The quality of Epworth’s accreditation-related data has been greatly improved via the electronic and automated solution. Reference checks can now be performed in minutes rather than days."
Epworth’s Group Manager, Medical Services
Epworth’s accreditation and reference-checking is much more efficient and the average time for reference checks and onboarding has gone from weeks to days. The online forms and automation have also led to improved employee productivity. Epworth has measured that it has saved time and money, which can now be used on the core business activities of improving healthcare. Its medical accreditation system is now paperless, more accurate because there are fewer points of failure and the need for manual, double entering of data has been eliminated.
Epworth now has one of the first doctor-credentialing solutions in Australia that records three levels of SoCP. This has ensured that the medical credentialing process is consistently meeting both national and organisational standards of clinical/professional governance and safe practice.
Epworth’s Group Manager Medical Services, Liz Morton, said: “This was the best IT project I’ve been involved in. Epworth is rapidly realising the benefits of the newly-deployed solution. The quality of Epworth’s accreditation-related data has been greatly improved via the electronic and automated solution. Reference checks can now be performed in minutes rather than days. We have also significantly improved our risk management and the system supports a high standard of clinical/professional governance.
“Enhancing and accelerating Epworth’s credentialing process has raised the bar for quality and boosted confidence levels across the organisation. It has decentralised the system and allows doctors to take control of their own accreditation. The effect has been so positive that Epworth would be happy to talk to other customers about the Empired solution.”
By harnessing the power of information and the latest technology Epworth is building a better health service. The solution developed for Epworth has significant potential to be replicated at other health organisations in Australia and New Zealand.