Telemedicine, the practice of health care being conducted via telecommunications or information technology, is becoming more commonplace every day, making it increasingly important to keep track of practitioner qualifications. As Head of Compliance in the telemedicine industry, having a centralized, efficient means of verifying practitioners’ certifications is essential for the safe and effective delivery of “virtual care.” Cities, counties, states, and multistate jurisdictions all have their own restrictions and requirements for telemedicine practitioners, above and beyond those for typical health care professionals. To streamline this complicated process and ensure top-notch quality service is consistently provided to patients, an internal certification tracking system can be invaluable.
The benefits of an internal certification tracking system are clear, if one considers the dizzying number of certifications required in the telemedicine profession. An efficient, centralized system designed to monitor and verify current certifications and keep track of upcoming renewals could save a substantial number of resources and manpower. Health care institutions and organizations would have a comprehensive overview of the certifications and certifications-in-process of any practitioner, as well as accounts for paid or unpaid fees and signatures, minimizing the risk of legal liabilities due to out-of-date or missing certification information.
Perhaps even more importantly, an internal certification tracking system could help safeguard the health and safety of patients. Such a system could serve to help ensure that only licensed practitioners are providing telemedicine services, documented follow-ups are conducted, and practitioner safety and qualifications are continually being monitored. Administrative staff would be able to access the system quickly, allowing them to refer a provider’s licensing information as necessary and flag any practitioners who appear to be out of compliance.
Tools such as document tracking, field mapping, and predictive analytics are available to develop an efficient internal certification tracking system. Document tracking services, such as the electronic tracking of credentials and other essential information, can help simplify the process of confirming credentials and verification of applications. Field mapping tools can provide an interactive, geographical map of a specific certification program and locate practitioners who are certified by a certain program. Advanced analytics can also be employed to predict the expiration of certifications and anticipate licensing renewals.
The use of such certification tracking systems for telemedicine is still relatively new, and each state may have its own operating parameters and regulations. However, with the growing demand for and availability of telemedicine, such systems may become increasingly important and necessary to help ensure the quality and safety of health care services offered in this highly specialized field.