Credentialing Corner

Importance of Primary Source Verification in Credentialing

People always want their work done by professionals with zero uncertainty level. If it is a case related to their health, they become super conscious about the credibility of the professionals. Therefore, Primary Source Verification is the foremost step when hiring healthcare professionals to confirm their credibility and skills. Primary source verification is critical to maintaining people’s trust in healthcare organizations and their service-providing staff.

Primary source verification, or PSV, is mandatory for every healthcare governing body to verify the candidate before hiring him. It enhances the transparency, efficiency, and regulatory compliance of healthcare organizations. We will learn in this article the processes involved in PSV’s role and the importance of PSV in medical credentialing.

How does Primary Source Verification work?

Primary source verification is confirming a candidate’s credentials and qualifications. These include verification of certifications, work permits, licenses, and work history from the institutions that issued these documents. PSV, in actuality, is getting the confirmation call about a person’s documentation from primary sources like medical schools, hiring organizations, and licensing boards.

This step is crucial to hire the perfect and expert individual for the relevant work. This process helps decrease uncertainty while hiring medical practitioners and other paramedical staff.

Methods for Primary Source Verification

1.    Direct Contact

This method directly contacts the document-issuing institutional body or boards to confirm the candidate’s credentials. This process is made via direct phone calls or emails. This method is reliable and practical but time-consuming.

2.    Digital Contact

Digital methods like artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms are used to verify the candidate’s credentials. These technologies provide information from different sources, which helps verify and check all the information related to the certifications.

3.    Primary source verification services

PSV providing third-party services are available in the market, with access to the primary source data. These third-party services are efficient and fast in their work. Healthcare organizations hire PSV services to verify all the documentation.

Importance of Primary Source Verification in Credentialing

Primary source verification is essential for both the patients and healthcare organizations as they will be confident about the credibility of the healthcare providers. Patients always feel safe by knowing the fact that they are getting treatment from eligible and verified doctors. On the other hand, healthcare organizations also remain satisfied with the credibility and legality of the staff. Here are a few points that define the importance of primary source verification:

  • Qualified and verified healthcare providers are hired.
  • Patients’ safety is ensured.
  • Compliance with US healthcare protocols is done
  • Trust is built between the patients and doctors.
  • Cost reduction due to less uncertainty level while hiring the healthcare providers.
  • Reducing liability costs due to non-compliance is much more than the PSV cost.

How Primary Source Verification Work?

How Primary Source Verification Work?

All the requirements of a primary source verification process must be met to verify the information provided by any individual. This not only makes the dealings with the clients go smoothly but also ensures that the clients being dealt with can be trusted to go through the whole healthcare process swiftly and honestly.

The whole process of primary source verification works something like this:

1.    Identification

First, the healthcare provider, e.g., a hospital, identifies the client’s information for which the PSV will be done. This information can be the educational history of the client, their employment status, any professional or work-related licenses they might have, or any other credentials or certificates that the hospital might see fit.

PSV can be done on all of these information areas at the same time, or it can also be done for one specific area. Determining the correct areas to check is, thus, important as it can allow the authorities to focus only on the area of interest rather than wasting their time on information they are not concerned with.

2.    Consent

The next step is getting the client’s consent to proceed with the primary source verification process. This is essential because it ensures the concerned individuals are kept in the loop about the whole process. The healthcare facility might use release/consent forms or other letters of authorization to have written proof of the consent.

3.    Contacting the Source

Once the healthcare facility has the required consent, they reach out to the source of information about the client or the related company. Depending on the type of information to be verified, these sources can be schools, colleges, business companies, boards, or any other authorities providing any licenses/credentials to the client.

4.    Request for Documentation

Documentations lead to the information that needs to be verified about the client. These documents can be certificates, degrees or diplomas, contracts, licenses, or any other files the healthcare authority might see fit. These documents define the person being verified. Thus, the source of these documents must ensure that they provide all relevant data to the authorities to make the verification process smooth for the client.

5.    Verification

Once the healthcare authority has the documents, it needs to check the validity of the client; they cross-check these documents or information with the information provided by the client. The authority might also check the documents’ validity to check for any discrepancies or signs of fraud/forgery.

6.    Checking the References

Sometimes, the clients might also provide some references with their documentation. The verifying body must also reach out to all references provided and get their word about the documents’ validity and the client’s.

7.    Keeping a Record of the Verification and Reporting

Once the verification is complete, the authority must keep a detailed record of the documents and verification credentials, including names, contacts, references, and discrepancies. Once this is done, the authority can report the findings to the healthcare provider. The verification process is now complete for the client.

Role of Primary Source checks in Medical Qualifications

Role of Primary Source checks in Medical Qualifications

Primary source verification is crucial in providing adequate healthcare to patients and ensuring that they get the best care possible from the best people around. The role of primary source checks in medical qualifications is because they provide:

1.    Quality and Authenticity

By doing the correct PSVs, the healthcare authority can ensure that they choose the best and the most qualified people to take care of the patients. PSVs provide the facility with authentic and professional doctors who meet all the job standards and thus maintain the quality and authenticity of the facility.

2.    Risk Control

By ensuring qualified and up-to-date doctors are selected for the job, PSV eliminates the risk of any fraud/forgery being done by any individual to join the healthcare facility or any risk of wastage of essential resources.

3.    Safety of Patients

Patients deserve the best care they can find. PSVs allow healthcare facilities to choose doctors with the best resources and documentation. These references and qualifications then translate into better care for the patients. By keeping fraudulent or ill-qualified people at bay, PSV ensures that the safety and security of the patients are not being compromised and that they are getting the best treatment from the best doctors around.

4.    Compliance with Standard Procedures

US healthcare standards require that all healthcare providers go through the primary source verification process for their healthcare staff, especially their doctors. This is because the staff has to deal with many critical patients daily, the safety of whom is in their hands. To ensure that the healthcare facility is ensuring this security and fulfillment of compliance procedures, they must go through the whole PSV procedure.

Compliance with the standards set in place by the US healthcare authorities is also essential to avoid legal penalties or surcharges. In some cases, these surcharges might be of minimal value, but when gross violations of the PSV process are found, the penalties can be very severe. The license of the concerned healthcare provider can be revoked, and a hefty fine can be put on the healthcare facility. Thus, to avoid all this hassle, the facility must ensure proper PSV is done for all its staff.


Primary source verification is integral to the hiring process for doctors or healthcare professionals. It allows the healthcare facility to verify the credentials of the doctors they are dealing with and ensure that it gets the most qualified and professional doctors in its patient care teams. All of the attention to detail put into the verification process then translates into better care for the patient so that they can get on with their lives in the best possible way.

In addition to ensuring good care for the patients, primary source verification also allows the healthcare facility to ensure their compliance with the US healthcare protocols, safe costs on non-compliant issues as well as on any uncertainty levels within the verification process, and get the most trust between the patients and the qualified doctors it can produce. Healthcare authorities must complete the verification process thoroughly and without any mishaps or errors to make the most out of their staff, provide the best care to patients, and make the world a better place through their contribution to the healthcare field.