Credentialing: 2 Ways To Keep Track of Your Paperwork

September 07, 2010

A common theme of our career path in medicine is that we tend to work hard to reach one level, and then find ourselves having to apply and compete to make it to the next one. We work hard in college and apply to med school and then we repeat the process in our 4th year of med school when it comes to applying for a residency. One element of this process you may recall is the frantic search for documents, dates of attendance and graduation from a given school, test scores, etc.

Well, it may not be a shock to you then that all of this will come up again when you apply for a job or fellowship. Now that you are a part of the physician profession, you will need to worry about credentialing when you move on to the next level, whether it be as a fellow or a practicing urologist. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as just sending in a photocopy of your diplomas from medical school and residency; the list of documentation is extensive.

Plan Ahead

I remember watching some chiefs in the past having to spend considerable time tracking down documents and reports to submit for credentialing. One chief plainly told me to get started on it now and make sure that I know where all of these documents are and to store them in one place so as to avoid the stress they were going through at that time. I have put stuff in my filing cabinet and framed some things, like my diploma from internship, with the thought that something framed is less likely to walk off and get lost, but this is probably not the ideal manner for document and information storage.

Two Options for Keeping It Organized

One service to look at along these lines is the FCVS that was created by the Federation of State Medical Boards. Their goal was to create a centralized repository of test scores and other verified information needed for state licensure. This service requires an associated $50 application fee. Learn more about FCVS.

Another useful resource of which I have recently become aware is ProviderTrust, a company that focuses its business on credentialing. They have a free product for physicians called “Provider Passport”, which allows you to securely upload and store all of your important information and documents. It also helps you keep track of licensing and expiration dates for various certifications before they sneak up on you. When it comes time to submit all of this info to future or potential employers, you can do so with the click of a button. This will be useful when it comes to the job interview process. Learn more about ProviderTrust.

In short, starting this process now will save you some stress down the road. You also need to start thinking about applying for a medical license in whichever state you plan on practicing. You should have all the information submitted to the state medical board at least 6 months before you anticipate needing the license; you don’t want to find yourself not able to work simply because you didn’t get your paper work done.