Mastering Primary Source Verification: Solutions for Healthcare Organizations

Sarah Jones
A healthcare professional sits at a desk with a computer. She is smiling and wearing a white lab coat. She is holding a pen in her hand as well.

Patients trust their healthcare providers to take care of them when they’re vulnerable, which means failing to provide quality care can have serious consequences. Vetting new employees is the first step in maintaining patient safety and earning their confidence.

By hiring qualified, ethical employees, healthcare organizations can improve patient safety, reduce the risk of liability, and maintain the trust of their patients and the community. Healthcare providers accomplish this level of screening with primary source verification.

What Is Primary Source Verification?

In short, primary source verification (PSV) is a process in healthcare to confirm the accuracy of a provider’s credentials and qualifications. This process involves verifying education, training, licensure, certification, work history, and other relevant information directly from the primary source, such as the issuing institution or organization.

What Types of Credentials Require PSV?

The specific requirements for PSV may vary depending on the organization, jurisdiction, and type of healthcare service provided, but generally, the following types of credentials and qualifications require PSV:

  • Licensure
  • Certifications
  • Education
  • Work experience

It’s a critical process for healthcare organizations to ensure that their providers are qualified, competent, and trustworthy. By verifying the authenticity and accuracy of a provider’s credentials and qualifications, healthcare organizations can ensure high-quality care for their patients and maintain the trust and confidence of the community.

Methods for Completing a Provider’s PSV

When verifying a new hire’s credentials, there are several ways to collect the information. It comes down to how much time and resources you’re able to dedicate to PSV. Here are some different ways to properly verify credentials:

Direct Contact

One of the most common methods for completing PSV is direct contact with the issuing institution or organization, such as a medical school, licensing board, or certification organization. This involves verifying the provider’s credentials and qualifications directly with the organization — usually by phone, email, or online.

Digital Verification

Another method for completing PSV is through digital verification platforms, which provide access to verified provider information and credentials from multiple sources. These platforms typically use artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to verify provider information and ensure accuracy.

Third-Party Verification Services

Some healthcare organizations use third-party verification services to conduct PSV. These services typically have access to primary source data and can verify provider information quickly and efficiently. MedTrainer is an example of a third-party service that handles PSV from start to finish.

In-House Verification

Many healthcare organizations conduct PSV in-house, using their staff to verify provider information and credentials. This method uses internal resources and PSV software or platforms to manage the process in-house.

Overcoming Delays in the Verification Process

PSV is a critical process for healthcare organizations to ensure the accuracy and authenticity of a provider’s credentials and qualifications. However, several issues can arise during the PSV process. Here are some of the common problems with PSV:

    • Time-Consuming. Collecting and verifying the necessary information can take several weeks or months, which can delay the onboarding of new providers and impact the organization’s operational efficiency.
    • Inconsistent Standards. Different organizations and jurisdictions may have varying standards and requirements for PSV, making the process more complex and time-consuming. This can lead to errors or inconsistencies in the information collected, affecting the accuracy and reliability of the PSV process.
    • Credentialing Errors. Errors or inaccuracies can be due to mistakes made by the provider or the issuing institution or due to incomplete or outdated records. Such errors can lead to delays in provider onboarding, potential liability issues, and other operational inefficiencies.
    • Compliance Risks. Failure to complete PSV or inaccuracies in the verification process can lead to compliance risks for healthcare organizations. This can result in fines, legal liability, and damage to the organization’s reputation.
    • Cost. PSV can be expensive, especially for organizations that have a large number of providers to verify. This can be due to the time and resources required to collect and verify the necessary information and the fees charged by credentialing and verification organizations.


WEBINAR: Internal Credentialing: Best Practices To Keep Pace

Why Is Primary Source Verification Important for Healthcare?

With all the obstacles, it may seem like PSV isn’t worth the effort. However, by ensuring that healthcare providers have the proper qualifications and experience, you’re letting the world know that your facility’s physicians meet the highest standards of professionalism and integrity.

There’s great importance to the primary source verification process for the following reasons:

  • Ensuring patient safety by reducing or eliminating errors
  • Mitigating liability risks and financial losses associated with non-compliance
  • Compliance with CMS and Joint Commission standards
  • Improving operational efficiency by streamlining the provider onboarding process
  • Reducing delays and errors, to minimize the need for re-verification
  • Saving money by reducing liability costs that are greater than the cost of PSV

Get ideas to master primary source verification.

MedTrainer: A Proactive Approach to Healthcare Verification

MedTrainer’s software and service offerings can help streamline the PSV process. We make it smoother by providing a centralized platform for collecting and verifying provider information.

Our software allows providers to upload their documents directly into the platform, which then tracks the progress of the verification process and provides real-time updates on the status of each provider. Our service offering provides credentialing specialists, who can handle the entire PSV process, freeing your staff to focus on other tasks.

By using a platform like MedTrainer, healthcare organizations can reduce the administrative burden of the PSV process, improve accuracy and consistency in verifying provider information, and accelerate the onboarding of new providers. This can result in improved operational efficiency, reduced risk of liability, and a more positive experience for providers and patients.