Behind the Scenes with Medical Staff Services
If you’re like most people, when you think of a hospital, you probably think about doctors and nurses. Whether you're drawing from personal experience or from watching TV shows, these clinical professionals are the people we tend to focus on. However, for a large healthcare organization like Orlando Health to run efficiently, there are a lot of dedicated people working behind the scenes to make it all possible.
Medical services professionals, also known as MSPs, are an essential part of any well-run healthcare organization because they are responsible for the administrative and medical-legal structure of the medical staff. As the interim director of medical staff services at Orlando Health, I am involved in managing more than 20 people who assist the medical staff by managing compliance with federal, state and medical staff requirements. Included among the positions in the department are credentialing specialists, medical staff liaisons, department information systems (IS) consultants and managers.
Some of the most important responsibilities of MSPs include:
- Credentialing and re-credentialing all physicians and advanced practice providers (APPs)
- Maintaining information data banks on all physicians, including education, training, experience and licensure
- Assisting in the development of continuing medical education programs for the medical staff
- Reviewing and implementing federal rulings and accrediting body standards related to the functions of the medical staff and APPs
- Establishing systems for planning and organizing meetings and communication between physicians, both within and outside their specialties, as well as with hospital administration and departments
- Developing, establishing and enforcing medical staff bylaws, rules and regulations, and policies that govern the activities of the medical staff
To accomplish all this, we collaborate with many departments, manage a wide range of essential functions (such as coordinating medical staff leadership and medical staff department meetings), and facilitate continuing medical education and medical staff communication. We also support the Chief of Staff, the Chief Elect and department chairs and vice chairs; handle provider onboarding, information systems set-ups and training sessions; and organize both on-site and off-site meetings.
One of the most interesting aspects about working in this field is seeing the hospital run smoothly and provide outstanding patient care, thanks to the work we do. In so many ways, our job is to make it possible for the medical staff to focus their efforts solely on providing care.
Every day, we are involved in medical staff meetings that start as early as 6:00 am or as late as the evening hours. Our role in these meetings is to make sure the medical staff leadership is informed of their responsibilities. We collaborate in developing medical staff policies and procedures, and create clinical privilege descriptions that cover what a practitioner can do in a facility. We also manage the database that houses the provider information used for the hospital’s downstream systems.
Overall, it’s highly rewarding to work with the team and physicians, as well as with our partners in administration and other departments, to make sure the information and procedures are accurate and relevant to their day-to-day duties. The work we do not only helps the hospital run more efficiently, but also serves the interests of our patients by ensuring they receive proper care. And that’s a great reason to come to work every day!
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