Out-of-hours providers should benchmark clinicians against their peers

Out-of-hours providers should benchmark clinicians' performance and productivity against their peers, the Primary Care Foundation has said.

Giving individuals breakdowns of their performance and productivity would help iron out differences in services and improvement performance over all, it has suggested.

The foundation analysed data from 96 out-of-hours services across England.

It found that demand on services was consistent and predictable and that a small number of services perform consistently well. Other services fall short of meeting quality standards and consistently prioritising cases.

In a report published this week, the foundation argued that some services may be failing to match capacity to demand.

But the authors of the report said they believed variations in the performance of different members of staff was more likely to be an important cause of such failings.

‘The variation between clinical staff is not closely managed, so that the service performs well when some staff are on duty and less well when others are working,’ the report said.

‘Because clinicians want to do a good job, they value comparison with their peers,' it added. 

‘We strongly support the initiative by some software providers to make it much easier for services to feedback productivity information (from a large sample of cases) to individual clinicians (as part of a rounded audit process that also looks in detail at a smaller sample of cases).’

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