Assessing Physician Competency: An Update on the Joint Commission Requirement for Ongoing and Focused Professional Practice Evaluation

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In 2008, the Joint Commission created 2 new hospital standards that revolve around competency assessment of credentialed and privileged healthcare practitioners. These are called Ongoing Professional Practice Evaluation (OPPE) and Focused Professional Practice Evaluation (FPPE). As many pathologists work as members of a hospital medical staff, either through primary employment or contract relationships, pathology departments and groups need to have OPPE and FPPE policies in place and should be using them to evaluate physicians for competency as part of a regular cycle. There are many subtleties in the standards, and careful attention to the details of the policies will be essential. Furthermore, as credentialing and privileging decisions may be made based upon the assessments that are carried out in OPPE and FPPE, it is quite important to follow internal policies consistently. This review describes OPPE and FPPE in detail, with an analysis of the Standards and the Elements of Performance. It also provides scenarios to illustrate the concepts and charts that can be used to create OPPE and FPPE documents for a practice.

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