How do you stop patient safety issues before they occur? Is there a way to track trends so problems can be discovered and averted early?

One way is through the effective use of physician reviews using the key ingredients of OPPEs, FPPEs, benchmarking, and best practices. That’s a lot of acronyms, so here’s a quick review:

  • As the name suggests, ongoing professional performance evaluations (OPPEs) are ongoing assessments designed to make sure clinicians are meeting the requirements to stay privileged. OPPEs are used to determine if physicians are putting patients at risk. Since OPPE data is collected over time and across all your doctors and other practitioners, OPPEs are critical for noting and following patient safety trends.
  • FPPEs, focused professional performance evaluations, are time-limited and conducted when an OPPE indicates poor performance. It’s important to remember that, just like a false positive on a medical test, sometimes an FPPE can be “triggered” when a clinician is doing things right. That’s why it’s essential that the FPPE process is fair and balanced.
  • Benchmarks are performance standards you can use for comparison.
  • Best practices, the last ingredient, are methods that have been proven to get the best results.

How does this recipe help you uncover a patient safety issue and stop it early?

  1. Set benchmarks for each practitioner specialty as part of the OPPE evaluation. The standards for an orthopedic surgeon, for instance, will be different from those for an OB/GYN.
  2. Use the benchmarks to “trigger” an FPPE. For the OB/GYN, a trigger might be a higher rate of caesarean sections than normal while a higher than average post-op infection rate could serve as a trigger for the orthopedic surgeon.
  3. Through the FPPE process, determine the seriousness of the issue and put a performance improvement plan in place if necessary. FPPEs provide you with a chance to fix patient safety issues before they get worse. These proactive measures can protect both the doctor and your facility from liability. They also help you get your full reimbursements, and most importantly, keep patients safe.

Conducting OPPEs on all your practitioners provide insight into trends affecting your entire facility. For instance, you may notice an increase in post-operative infections. This early warning gives you time to evaluate your policies and put new infection-prevention plans in place. Now is the time to incorporate best practices. Rather than discovering the best method for infection control through trial and error (which could take a long time), follow the lead of successful facilities who have already established effective measures. Best practices work! The sharing of best practices among facilities resulted in a 17% reduction in hospital-acquired conditions over a three-year period.1

Determining benchmarks and best practices can be a challenge. By joining the IntelliCentrics community, gain access to best practices and benchmarking standards from almost 10,000 facilities nationwide. Our community consists of professionals, patients and families, and facilities working together to achieve a safe and healthcare experience for all.

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