Before obtaining or making a software purchase, compare the list of plans in your area with the list of applications the software includes.

Also ask about the ability to add new forms. Some software companies allow users to fax new application forms to them, and they add them to the database.  By the middle of this year, the Coalition for Affordable Quality Healthcare (CAQH), a group of 26 health plans, hopes to offer an online database that links practices and plans. CIGNA, Aetna, FirstHealth, Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company, and a number of Blues plans are already involved. Practices will complete a registration application and fax copies of licenses and other credentials to a secure data center. Authorized plans can access the database for both credentialing and recredentialing purposes. Physicians can expect to pay about $5,000 or more for credentialing software, or a subscription fee for Web-based applications and CAQH’s service.