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The Importance of Credentials for Health Care Professionals

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  • 0:00 Credentialing in Health Care
  • 0:40 What is Credentialing?
  • 1:55 Why Credentialing is…
  • 4:04 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

What is credentialing? Why bother with credentials? What is checked during a credentialing process in the health care field? This lesson answers these questions!

Credentialing in Health Care

'May I see some identification, officer?' While most people accept a uniformed police officer as being just that, a police officer, some ask for credentials. They have every right to, as credentials verify that a person is who he says he is and offers up proof of professional expertise. In the medical field, most would assume someone wearing a white coat is a health care professional. Even so, we also credential health care professionals for many reasons, in order to ensure that our assumptions are in line with reality. Let's go over the many important reasons for the credentialing of health care professionals.

What is Credentialing?

What is credentialing, anyways? Credentialing is a rigorous, thorough, and systematic approach to collecting and verifying a health care professional's qualifications. What qualifications? Well, let's meet Dr. Joe. Dr. Joe has a white coat on, a stethoscope, and seems to speak and act like a doctor. How do we know he's not just an imposter? Well, prior to hiring Dr. Joe, we checked his qualifications and, thus, his credentials. While the exact qualifications we check for varies by health care professional, usually a combination of the following is a credentialing requirement:

  • Has Dr. Joe graduated from an accredited or approved medical school?
  • Has Dr. Joe passed his medical licensing exam?
  • Where did Dr. Joe complete his residency or some other postgraduate training program?
  • What is Dr. Joe's relevant professional training, experience, and work history?
  • What licenses to practice in his particular field has Dr. Joe obtained, and where?
  • Has Dr. Joe complied with any and all continuing medical education requirements?

Again, these are just some core examples of qualifications checked during a credentialing process.

Why Credentialing is Important

So, why do we do all of this? Well, Dr. Joe may not even be an M.D. He may just have a PhD in history and is using the 'Dr.' in front of his name to fool people into thinking he's a medical practitioner. We wouldn't want Dr. Joe, a history PhD, to be performing surgery, now, would we? This is why we check Dr. Joe's educational history. We also need to make sure the school he graduated from is accredited for his line of work. I mean, we wouldn't want Dr. Joe's medical education to be from 'Zeblabia', a country known for poor medical standards, now, would we? So, we make sure he got a quality education and, by many standards, such an education occurs only at accredited or approved schools.

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