Healthcare Credentialing | symplr Blog

Advancing OPPE for Allied Health Professionals

Written by Melissa Outlaw | Mar 26, 2014 8:24:00 PM

There seems to be a void in the discussion of the OPPE (Ongoing Professional Practice Evaluation) process relating to AHPs (Allied Health Professionals). Like their sponsoring counterparts, an AHPs OPPE should contain a dynamic process of checks and balances serving to create a system of care that‘s current, data driven, evidence based and controlled. While the AHP OPPE shares many of the same elements as the Physician OPPE, the process of collecting and evaluating data is often captured differently.

From working in several hospitals and now supporting dozens of clients’ need to meet these requirements, I’ve created a list of steps and options you may wish to consider in creating a successful OPPE process for your AHPs.

  • Be sure to describe the process in your by-laws as well as policies and procedures. Surveyors want to ensure processes are well documented and established plans are adhered to.

  • Choose meaningful measures that accurately reflect AHP performance. Taking the time to determine important measures related to your providers may be time consuming on the front end, but once complete the results are worth it.

  • Don’t rely solely on data driven measures. Sponsoring Physicians account for much of the performance of the AHP’s OPPE and the use of narrative in the report is appropriate. The chart review required for maintaining privileges can serve to provide much of the information needed by the Sponsor to complete the OPPE.

  • Include the six core competencies in a way that’s easy to address.

    1. Patient Care: Has the AHP been referenced in the patient satisfaction surveys? Are there any complements or complaints?

    2. Medical/Clinical Knowledge: Has the AHP been reviewed in the Peer Review committee? What does a review of the chosen patient assessment and treatments say about the competency of the AHP?

    3. Practice Based Learning and Improvements: Does a chart review indicate a working knowledge of current scientifically based treatment choices? Is the AHP involved in on-going educational opportunities?

    4. Interpersonal and Communication Skills: This is another area you can address through complements and complaints from staff and patients. How does the AHP function in a team setting? Do they take feedback and direction well?

    5. Systems-Based Practice: This can be ascertained from a chart review and study of the treatment choices and care plans created for patients treated. Is the practitioner able to see past an individual episode of care and evaluate the family, the community the other bodily systems and their contribution to the current state of the patient?

    6. Professionalism: This area can be assessed by evaluating the overall impression made by this practitioner in all other competency areas. It’s the sum of all other parts reviewed.

  • While all OPPE’s should contain the 6 core competencies, an evaluation should also include a minimum of two “hospital specific” and two “department specific” monitors. These can be the same for AHP’s as well as Physicians to simplify the processes.

  • Although the main review for AHPs will likely be manual and narrative, it doesn’t have to be cumbersome. When documenting answers to competency questions, simply have the Sponsor check “MET” or “NOT MET” with a column to check whether a PIP (Performance Improvement Plan) was or should be initiated. This type of format allows the medical staff to satisfy two standards, Sponsor Review of Charts and OPPE Report Submission, that often cause issues during surveys.

In today’s healthcare delivery model, the eyes of our patients see a thinning line between Doctor and Allied Health Professional. That same line is thinning in the eyes of those writing and enforcing the quality requirements healthcare organizations are judged and reimbursed by. Although the work required to create and manage effective OPPE programs for AHPs can be challenging, the results of improved patient care and helping every practitioner be the best they can be are worth it, even without the requirements.