It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted an interview with an interesting person in healthcare, but I recently had an opportunity to chat with my long-time friend Vicki Searcy, and wanted to share some of her fascinating professional experience with you.
Vicki is a Certified Professional in Medical Services Management and a past-president of the National Association Medical Staff Services (NAMSS). She currently serves on the NAMSS Past-President’s Council, and works as a consultant in the field of medical staff services.
Now I don’t want to say that Vicki is my “old” friend, but both she and I started working in the field of medical staff administration at a time when desktop computers were not yet common in hospitals. She however, holds an accolade that I do not; Vicki had the FIRST personal computer in her hospital, and was sent to IBM programing school to learn how to write basic programs for its use. An original “propeller head!”
Vicki recently joined forces with the Morrisey Company; heading up their new medical staff consulting service, as well as providing content guidance for enhancements to the popular Morrisey credentialing and privileging software package used by hospitals around the country. Vicki explained that she is developing criteria for both clustered and stand-alone privileges, as well as working with the programmers to incorporate tracking methodologies for both OPPE and FPPE. (Ongoing professional performance evaluation and focused professional performance evaluation for those who do not “speak credential.”)
Vicki and I talked about the profession of medical staff services/administration; its history, where it stands today, and where we believe it’s heading. Forty years ago hospitals hired medical staff secretaries, who often functioned far beyond the normal scope of a secretarial role, and who in general learned to be “the woman behind the doctor.” It’s been a learning process over the years to change that perception, both internally and externally.
Individuals attracted to this field are often highly organized, utilize excellent project management skills, are politically savvy, and exhibit a high degree of emotional intelligence. Those traits provide a solid foundation for the work of today’s Medical/Professional Staff Department, which often functions as a central communication hub for the organization. Credentialing professionals work with senior leadership to ensure that only competent, safe practitioners are permitted to provide patient care. And that determination is ongoing; there is no such thing as “once privileged always privileged” in healthcare.
Because the rules and standards that apply to the work of medical staff service professionals are in a continual state of flux, ongoing education is a necessity. To that end Vicki shared with me yet another of her many concurrent projects. (I began to wonder when she finds time to sleep!) She is partnering with Hugh Greeley and HG Health Consultants to provide an upcoming education program called The Credentials Experience, which will be held in Chicago on April 2-3, 2009. I asked why MSSP’s should choose this particular conference, and was told that attendees can expect content that is on point and realistic. Presentations are being planned with the goal of offering limited theory and considerable practical application. Vicki and HG Health Consultants hope that teams of physicians and medical staff service professionals will attend together, as they have found that team attendance facilitates both learning and change. An additional benefit is a six-month period of follow-up via eResources, eConsultation and eNewsletter.
If you don’t get the opportunity to attend The Credentials Experience, Vicki will also be speaking at this year’s annual NAMSS Conference being held in Reno, NV in October. Her topics include Criteria Based Privileging and Using Best Practices to Set up a CVO.
If you’d like to contact Vicki, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.