Associate Dean Oakley receives Pitt Innovation Award

Dr. Marnie Oakley, Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at the School of Dental Medicine, is a 2016 recipient of the Pitt Innovation Award from the University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute. The award recognizes activities that promote and foster innovation and entrepreneurship on campus and throughout the Pittsburgh region. The Institute is built on a foundation supported by education, collaboration, communication, and economic development. Identified in the recognition is Dr. Oakley’s work with designing and creating Credential Keeper; a software that manages School of Dental Medicine employee clinical and employment credentials.

“It is wonderful to be recognized by the University--which has always been a strong supporter of research and innovation. It’s this level of promotion that makes me a proud alumna and employee of what I believe is one of the finest academic institutions in the country.” 

Credential Keeper was developed in 2012 by Dr. Marnie Oakley and Dr. Heiko Spallek in response to the management of an overwhelming number of school-wide credentials: Credentialing requirements for a typical dental school include coordinating a multitude of federal regulations, state regulations, parent institution guidelines and policies, dental school guidelines and policies, and commission on dental accreditation requirements. This can be an overwhelming total of more than 15,000 documents for the school to manage.

Paper credentialling was far too difficult to manage. The school needed an electronic resource. A review of off-the-shelf credentialing software lead them to realize that a custom solution was needed, so they worked with a local software development firm to create the custom software. Dr. Oakley notes that she was simply “looking for a good product that keeps credentials in line and up-to-date.” But that wasn’t available. She adds, “When you are faced with a problem, it can be frustrating to think that it may never get fixed. But, it is exciting to think about solving a problem that can not only help resolve your issues, but also help others facing the same issues.”

Working with a local software firm, Dr. Oakley established a few goals, such as to have all employees know when credentials were about to expire, to have training modules available in once place—and most importantly, to have a system that can house and inventory compliance with assigned credentials for individuals in various roles across the School of Dental Medicine.

“It seems as though everyone dreams of finding that ‘one BIG idea’ that will change your life forever. This may not be that idea that I can hang my hat on, but it is indeed a simple idea that has great application to anyone who needs to be credentialed for the job they perform—and these days, that seems to be everyone.”

Credential Keeper was used at the School of Dental Medicine for 3 years when it was purchased by entrepreneur Dan Grant, CEO of CE Agent, a smart phone app developed at by two UPMC nurses to help nurses manage their individual credentials.

Mr. Grant plans to merge Credential Keeper and CE Agent, as each addresses one half of the credential management issue: administrative and individual. The new product would not be limited to a dental or medical use so it potentially can be marketed to other dental/medical schools, or any non-medical organization that has credentialling requirements.