Vendor Credential Standards Are a Driving Force in the Healthcare Industry’s Digital Transformation Today, Says C4UHC Director

C4UHC Executive Director Nancy Pakieser kicking off the 2024 C4UHC Symposium

“Standardizing vendor credentialing is a key component in the overall digital transformation currently taking place in the healthcare industry.”

With that declaration, C4UHC Executive Director Nancy Pakieser kicked off the organization’s 2024 Symposium in early June at the Margaritaville Resort Orlando for credentialing professionals in the medical field.

She said she has long been aware of the opportunities around digitally driven vendor credentialing in her healthcare career, having heard C4UHC Founder Rhett Suhre and others discuss it years ago at the Strategic Marketplace Initiative (SMI).

“This shift toward a more digitally enabled healthcare system has been discussed in the media, served as themes for industry conferences, and integrated into actual working initiatives for years now,” she said.

For example, Pakieser said, the FDA Amendments Act was signed into law in 2007, directing the agency to publish regulations establishing a unique device identification system for medical devices. The FDA went further in 2013, publishing a final rule (The UDI Rule) as part of that process, highlighting the importance of data standardization in advancing the digital fingerprints of healthcare delivery.

However, she said, implementing a fully realized solution has been hampered by various interpretations of the guidance and a need for standardized data inputs.

Another critical step in elevating care delivery through data and technology was Congress’s passage of the HITECH Act in 2009, which initiated and funded the implementation of electronic health record systems nationwide.

Despite the Office of the National Coordinator’s (ONC) pushes for data structure and standardization since then, its continued guidance and rulings on interoperability indicate that the necessary aligned data streams across the continuum of care—are still not fully in place.

Vendor Credentialing’s “Groundhog Day” Could Soon Be Ending

Pakieser continued that vendor credentialing began to emerge as a policy in the 20-teens, confirming the industry’s initial interest and steps into digitizing the important processes.

“But we are experiencing Groundhog Day—multiple variations in policies that generate inefficient and cumbersome workflows that can negatively impact care delivery.”

She added that optimizing the quality of patient care and enhancing access to the needed products and technology depend on the daily work of the symposium attendees.

“Standardization of hospital access for vendor reps enables the timely delivery of your organization’s exceptional products into the hands of exceptional clinicians to provide exceptional outcomes for your mother, your grandfather, your cousin, or your child.”

C4UHC’s efforts to advance universal vendor credentialing are essential steps on the journey to the overall digitally enabled healthcare vision.

Pakieser acknowledged there have been challenges, noting that the industry has been working on implementing UDI for nearly 20 years.

“But by coming together to collaborate and have challenging conversations here, we are working toward a solution that addresses many needs. Enhancing and advancing the adoption of the ANSI standards is a crucial contribution to the digital healthcare transformation that will yield tremendous benefits for our family members now and well into the future.”