Eligible entities that are registered with the NPDB may query the NPDB in one of two ways:
Both One-Time Queries and Continuous Queries can be submitted via the Integrated Querying and Reporting Service (IQRS) on the NPDB website or through an external application.
The Self-Query service is available on the NPDB website for health care practitioners, entities, providers, and suppliers that wish to find out if there is a report on them in the NPDB.
The NPDB's response to a query submitted by an authorized agent on behalf of an entity is based upon two eligibility standards:
Both the entity and the agent must be properly registered with the NPDB prior to the authorized agent's query submission.
Before an authorized agent submits queries on behalf of an eligible entity, the entity must designate the agent by completing an online Authorized Agent Designation form. The eligible entity must indicate whether it would prefer the NPDB to send query responses to the entity, to the authorized agent, or to both. An eligible querier that has designated an authorized agent also is permitted to query the NPDB directly. Responses to queries submitted by the entity will be returned to the entity, regardless of the routing designated for queries submitted by their agent.
Authorized agents cannot use a query response on behalf of more than one entity. NPDB regulations specify that information received from the NPDB must be used solely for the purpose for which it was provided. If two different entities designate the same authorized agent to query the NPDB on their behalf, and both entities wish to request information on the same subject, the authorized agent must query the NPDB separately on behalf of each entity. The response to a query submitted for one entity cannot be disclosed to the other entity. Such a disclosure would be a violation of the NPDB confidentiality restrictions.
However, if a health care system uses an authorized agent and conducts its credentialing centrally, has a centralized peer review process, and has one decision-making body, the health care system may query the NPDB once on each practitioner during the professional review process, regardless of whether the practitioner provides health care services in one or multiple entities.
When submitting a query or enrolling a practitioner in Continuous Query, the entity is required to provide certain information regarding the subject of the query. The NPDB system requires queries to include information in all mandatory fields. An entity's lack of mandatory information does not relieve the entity of its querying requirements as mandated by law.