The Ongoing Professional Practice Evaluation (OPPE) has been part of The Joint Commission’s evaluation standards since January 2008. The challenge of satisfying this mandate can be difficult for any hospital. It is a much more difficult task for an organization with 8,000 physicians in 24 hospitals spread across seven states where consistency in processes is important.
Banner Health has been live with a process for OPPE based on the PhysicianFocus™ Hospital and QualityAdvisor™ apps from Premier, Inc. (NASDAQ: PINC) for 18 months. All of the IDN’s physicians are evaluated every six months. The process is centralized at the corporate level.
One of the first decisions was assigning oversight. Banner used an existing system-level group that includes all chief medical officers and chiefs of staff. Said Jen Brooks, director of peer review support, “We said, ‘Do you support this? Do you support the data?’ They said, ‘Absolutely. Do it.’ This was pivotal. When we hit those bumps and barriers at a facility, we could say, ‘This is supported by your chief,’ or ‘This is supported by your CMO, and this is what we’re going to do.’ That was really helpful.”
Banner actually uses a two-step process. Profiles are built from QualityAdvisor data. “That gives us a 30,000-foot view of physician performance,” said Brooks. “If a physician is performing outside the norm, that’s when our designated reviewers, appointed providers at the hospitals, look at the doctor’s profile in PhysicianFocus for a more exacting review.
When physicians question the data or the process, “we use our physician champions,” said Brooks. If necessary, Banner calls on “super users” to sit down with physicians who question the data or push back. “Most of our CMOs are super users. They are fully integrated with the data and understand it thoroughly.”
One of the biggest successes has come from getting the data directly to doctors, Brooks said. “We cut out the middleman. We don’t have quality personnel looking at the profiles and coming up with opinions and conclusions. All our efforts are focused on helping doctors understand and interpret the data. Once you do that, what doctors do with the data is amazing.”
And there’s very little paper. The process is 100 percent electronic “and that was another strategic decision,” she said. “We push really hard at Banner to be paperless in all we do. With PhysicianFocus at our fingertips, it just seemed silly to hang on to paper.”
Since going live, six hospitals have had Joint Commission accreditation surveys with no OPPE findings related to the electronic profiles in PhysicianFocus. Feedback from surveyors has been positive. “Overall, they have been very receptive to the process and like that idea that the information is at their fingertips,” Brooks said. Banner usually has a doctor sit with a surveyor to demonstrate his profile.
Reaction from physicians has been varied, Brooks noted. “We have over 8,000 providers. Do they all love it? No. But do they all understand it and are they all getting on board? Absolutely.”