Did you ever wonder who coined the phrase, "work smarter, not harder?" The author of this catchy locution is Allen Morgenstern. He was an engineer during the 1930s, who spent his years studying methods to increase productivity without making the workday longer or more rigorous for people.
There is always room for us to work smarter. For some professionals, this includes working 15-hour weekdays and weekends. There is not enough time in one day, or week to achieve the level of completion needed to meet deadlines and be successful. One of the keys to working smarter, not harder, according to Morgenstern, is time management. This is a very difficult task for credentialing and enrollment professionals. We are often given dozens of application processes all at one time, that are labeled "URGENT." Which one is more important than the others? Which one do I start first?
When you "do the math" and realize how much time each application process takes, add to that, how many applications you have in process, then figure in the looming deadlines of each that have suddenly been labelled "URGENT," the result is a feeling of impending doom This combination can lead a credentialing and enrollment professional to feel overwhelmed, while slowly sinking beneath the surface down to the sea floor.
I continue to work with extremely talented coordinators and specialists who have innovative ways of managing the stressful environment that comes with healthcare credentialing and enrollment. Learning how to prioritize is a critical element of time management.
How do we manage the demanding workload and still have time to participate in our own lives? Feel free to share.
I think one of the qualities that a good credentialing professional must have, is the ability to be resourceful. The ever-changing landscape of healthcare has disabled the field of credentialing and made regulatory and process training scarce. Education is needed for all of those effected by credentialing outcomes. It is needed for credentialing professionals, who are doing the work on behalf of the providers and their companies. It is needed for the providers themselves, who see it as a headache that only lingers. Education is also needed for the executives and administrators who need the credentialing process to run a successful business.
There is a lack of leadership and interest in the field, because of the pressure to get the process completed so quickly and with such high volume. Hospital administrators want providers to be hurried through the credentialing process and obtain board approval, so they can start seeing patients and performing surgeries. Corporate executives want enrollment credentialing expedited so that they can start billing for the provider's services. With these motivations, it is no surprise that credentialing is viewed as the roadblock; the bottleneck; the red tape; the bureaucratic nightmare.
Credentialers are the gatekeepers. A gatekeeper's precision and attention to detail provides an opportunity to allow only the qualified, healthy providers to care for patients. It is a process that eliminates the possibility for providers who could (and may already have) caused harm. Dollar signs lead us through the landscape of healthcare. As they illuminate the path we take, there is a greater challenge to shine the light on the value of credentialing.
What do we do about it? As credentialing and medical staff professionals, we dig into the part of us that knows why we do, what we do...and we become more resourceful. We strive to put efficient mapping processes in place to ensure that the credentialing and enrollment runs smoothly and according to the standards from the regulatory bodies. As gatekeepers, we strive for frequent communication, while providing education to providers, administrators, executives, ourselves, and payers for successful outcomes.
The first step is recognizing our role. Educating ourselves on best practice protocols and helpful tools will allow us to meet reasonable deadlines while satisfying the needs of healthcare organizations. Gatekeepers, mount up...Who's with me?
"To succeed, you need to find something to hold to, something to motivate you, something to inspire you." ~Tony Dorsett
Tony Dorsett was an exceptional athlete. After being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 1977, he became a pioneer in yards gained for his first five seasons. Dorsett gained 1,000 yards each season for his first five seasons.That's an amazing accomplishment for a professional athlete, especially one who is 5.11" and 185 lbs.
(Information retrieved from www.profootballhof.com/players/tony-dorsett/)
Not long ago, I met with a physician group about providing credentialing services. They are part of a successful and growing practice in the North Dallas area. They reached out to us because their credentialing is becoming "out of control." They explained that they are having trouble keeping up with so many applications and enrollment processes. They are looking for a company, like Gatekeepers, to take the credentialing off of their hands. They want to focus their attention on their patients. Credentialing is often overwhelming for healthcare providers and it is easier to hand it off.
While listening to each physician explain his and her frustration with the credentialing and enrollment processes, only positive thoughts were circling in my mind. I said to myself, "This is the perfect opportunity. This is what we do best. I think they will be happy to hear what I have to say..."
When I stood up to deliver my presentation on how Gatekeeping Partners can help them, one of them called out to me, "I usually run the other direction, when I see a credentialer walking my way..."
The room erupted in laughter and nods of agreement from the other physicians and administrators.
I made my way to the front of the room slowly, waiting for the laughter to subside. When it did, I searched the room to find the doctor in the crowd who had made the comment. When I made eye contact, I responded, "Well, I guess it's a good thing that my team can run really fast."
Setting an expectation is an important step toward achievement. Whether the expectation is for ourselves or from our clients, it is good practice to set goals, make action plans to reach them, and evaluate the progress toward achievement. An invaluable part of the process comes at the end. It is the acknowledgement of a job well done. The positive encouragement that clients give us or that we give ourselves, motivates us to achieve again. More thoughts on goal-setting to come!
Credentialers are BORN to shine. These professionals have exceptional attention to detail. They are gifted with an inner drive that motivates them to meet deadlines and complete tasks. They must be able to work as a team and work individually. They must be able to juggle multiple tasks, while remaining focused. They are amazing individuals. I do not think Margaret Mead was referring to credentialing coordinators when she made this statement.