Physician credentialing is a laborious process. A doctor must present credentials to every hospital and health plan that he or she wants to affiliate with. A hospital or health plan committee decides whether to grant privileges based on the documentation.

And, if granted, the credentials must be updated and renewed every two to three years.  Hospitals and health plans might have different credentialing requirements. The Joint Commission for Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations governs rules for hospitals, while the National Committee for Quality Assurance governs managed-care plans.  When doctors tackle the tedious credentialing process themselves, they take on the responsibility of requesting information, managing all communications, and filling out a number of exceedingly long and redundant forms.