Data Consolidation Creates a Single Source of Truth for Provider Data

March 20, 2023
March 20, 2023

Today’s hospitals and health systems are employing more physicians and non-physician providers than ever before. If you’re a MSP responsible for credentialing and/or enrollment, you may be feeling frustrated by your increasing workload. We get that. Fortunately, our team at VerityStream is in a unique position to offer advice. Our experience helping more than 2,400 hospitals and 1,000 medical groups with credentialing, privileging, enrollment, and evaluation, has taught us a few tips and tricks for speeding these processes up. One of them is: data consolidation.

Data Consolidation Defined

When the relevant data required for credentialing and enrollment resides in multiple databases across different facilities—you’re sure to have issues with data redundancy and data inaccuracy. This will lead to a host of problems including compliance issues and poor provider satisfaction to site just a few.

Data consolidation creates a single source of truth for provider data, with one application and one reappointment date across all system facilities. A physician is in the system only once for all credentialing and re-credentialing purposes, removing the need for multiple spreadsheets and checklists. A single platform also offers workflow management and promotes proactivity, generating reminders about TJC, NCQA, CAQH, directory updates, and more.

3 Keys to Successfully Consolidating Your Data

Consolidating data and transitioning away from disparate systems and manual processes requires tremendous effort, resources, and time, but the benefits surrounding data accuracy, compliance, delegation, enterprise reporting, provider satisfaction, and collaboration make these tasks well worth the investment. Data consolidation is hard work, but it’s worth it! A successful transition away from disparate systems and manual processes requires a solid foundation, which means you need:

  • The right team
  • The right approach
  • The right tools

The Right Team: identify your champion, your leader, and your team

Your champion

When it comes to making a major change, buy-in from the top is essential. This includes buy in from top executives and operational leaders as well as medical staff management. Leaders can help you address any political barriers to the process by using their span of control and authority to clear any roadblocks. Because engaging these high-level stakeholders is key to successful data consolidation, your team leader should establish a formal communication calendar and plan to maintain leadership’s commitment to and awareness of team progress.

Your team leader

Your project leader must be fearless about pushing the process forward; identify someone willing to be a bit of a steamroller to maintain momentum. This leader cannot shy away from reminding the team that their mission must be accomplished without undue delay.

Your team

Your team will manage the core work and should be made of one to two representatives from each medical staff office. These individuals should be the people who have historically been responsible for credentialing and/or enrollment. Because data consolidation results in forfeiting day-to-day control, their active involvement in determining the future model is crucial.

Other team members should include representatives from IT and practice administration. The team should be prepared to meet frequently, sometimes for multi-day sessions to move objectives forward and meet timelines.

The Right Approach: discover, plan and execute

Before any work takes place, it’s important for the team leader to initiate a Discovery during which he or she has conversations with all who will be affected by the change. These individuals and groups may be a part of the consolidation effort or end-users of data.

During Discovery, your team leader should ask, “Why do you do what you do?” This question is designed to reveal their current processes and understand the goals they have for implementation. For example, they may want to improve or standardize an already established CVO, consolidate their medical staff, streamline their decision processes, or revamp an enrollment function.

Discovery creates an internal document that becomes part of the project charter. It is a high-level document that helps teams measure success and get everyone on the same page. Ultimately, Discovery informs the plan that will be executed to ensure your data consolidation with a new enterprise system will meet business requirements.

The Right Tools: experts and solutions

Outside experts with a track record of leading successful data consolidation initiatives can help you anticipate problems and overcome resistance to new ideas. These experts can serve as trusted advisors who provide recommendations and share best practices. They often have the objectivity necessary to facilitate agreement.

It’s also important to have technical experts on board who understand data standardization, as well as data coding and conversion. These experts can act as translators between the team and the CIO when technical discussions are required. Your team will have to work extensively with IT to standardize every field (naming conventions, mapping variations to a single term, building consistent names for specialties, etc.). An outside expert can negotiate the process of coding legacy system data for conversion to the new enterprise system.

Evaluate the tools

In order to consolidate your data, you’ll need a scalable platform that creates a single source of truth for provider data. As you search for the right tool, here are few things to keep in mind:

  • The cloud is cool. A cloud-based system ensures all stakeholders will have 24/7/365 access to the information they need, greatly improves the provider experience, and reduces onboarding timeframes.
  • Custom software is out. Systems that deliver out-of-box, preconfigured options based on best practices are in as they accelerate implementation timelines and boost utilization and ROI.
  • Software should make your life easier. Consolidating data shouldn’t be a nightmare process. Today’s savviest solution providers deliver software that comes pre-loaded with the data you need and use every day—like provider data for every provider in the U.S.

In Conclusion

If data consolidation had a slogan, it would be, “It’s hard work, but it’s worth it!” Aligning your processes with the way your hospital or health system interfaces with providers and all the individuals who play a role in your credentialing and enrollment processes is a smart move that puts you in a position to provide the best possible care for your patients. And, when they win—we all do!