Chaos, the bitter enemy of credentialing staff everywhere, has finally met its match. Web-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers have disorder corralled with offerings capable of electronically connecting HCO administrators with those organizations dedicated to centralizing provider information. With services ranging from self-serve document management to full outsourcing of the credentialing duties, practices can select the plan that renders the most ROI. The beauty of credentialing SaaS lies in its cost-effective feature flexibility and subscription scalability.
ROI comes out of the labor savings from greater document organization, easier access to the UPD and automation. When a process that formerly required weeks and several sets of hands to accomplish now takes one-tenth of the time and half the number of hands, your burgeoning administrative costs deflate to a level you can sustain. However, not all credentialing software partners are created equal. When weighing the costs and benefits of the many options, you should keep in mind the value of customer support with your credentialing software.
Economy versus Economic Benefit
The old maxim promises that we always get what we pay for. Fortunately, as competition rises, SaaS costs come down. However, products with price points well below the average may end up costing you more in the long run. If you encounter problems with the application and cannot find adequate customer support with your credentialing software in a suitable timeframe, eventually your staff may spend too much time, effort and frustration attempting to work around the software. In that situation, you’re not only paying for the software subscription, you’re back to credentialing the hard way.
Can You Find Their Support Portal?
While testing your selected candidates’ software services, be sure to look for the link to their support. If it isn’t displayed prominently, what might that tell you? If you have to search diligently to find a tiny menu item in the footer section, how dedicated to support will their team be?
Do They Have a Useful Knowledge Base?
When bumping against a problem with the application, users often prefer to search a help topic database before having to contact a live human. A good knowledge base will provide an easy-to-find answer, and your user can quickly return to productivity. But inadequate or missing help topics indicate the developers of the software either built the absolutely perfect product, or they may not be tracking support requests and responding in a meaningful way.
Can You Get Live Help?
Most credentialing partners offer online help of some sort. After all, their product works by web connectivity. Yet, a basic service level plan may not provide a live representative should your difficulty prove too complex for the available solutions. Credentialing is too important to your organization to leave you without human contact when your own efforts to correct an application problem fails.
Whose Business Hours, Yours or Theirs?
After initial training and as your staff continues to learn the features of your credentialing software, they may need live help a little more frequently. Does the customer support with your credentialing software offer live support according to your business hours? Since your location could be several time zones away from the source of help, you’ll need access during your business hours, not necessarily theirs.
Free or Paid Support?
Some application developers can become overwhelmed with support requests from users who simply refuse to absorb training or who have too little patience to find answers from the available documented topics. For this reason, they will offer support for a fee. This seems reasonable. However, if their software features are anything but intuitive and the knowledge base inadequate, paid support can appear gratuitous. If you must pay to learn their system, you probably won’t gain the value you expected.
Finding a great SaaS application unquestionably can accelerate and organize your credentialing workflow. As long as your credentialing partner commits to a reliable customer support system, you’ll increase your returns with reduced staff and shorter provider onboarding times.