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About SCOPE For Women's Health

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (“ACOG”) is committed to helping improve patient safety in all settings in which women’s health care is provided. Patient safety is essential to providing optimal health care for women. Knowledge and implementation of patient safety measures can reduce medical errors and leads to positive patient outcomes.

In 2010, Quality and Safety in Women’s Health Care, Second Edition was published, joining a long line of publications and programs developed by ACOG to inform and assist obstetricians and gynecologists in managing quality improvement programs for inpatient and outpatient settings. This primer also includes the report of the 2008-2009 Presidential Task Force on Patient Safety in the Office Setting appointed by then President, Dr. Douglas H. Kirkpatrick, which provides proposals for creating a culture of patient safety within the office practice.

ACOG has taken the next step in addressing patient safety by creating the Safety Certification in Outpatient Practice Excellence (“SCOPE”) for Women’s Health Program.  SCOPE is a voluntary comprehensive patient safety review program available to medical practices in which obstetrics and/or gynecology services are provided. SCOPE assesses the implementation and use of patient safety concepts and techniques in an individual office setting. This Guidebook provides information for practices interested in having a SCOPE review.

SCOPE review is a multi-step process. To start, an office will sign a SCOPE Participation Agreement, complete a detailed questionnaire and provide documentation to support its responses to the questions (“the Application”), and pay the program fee. The Application collects information about the office and its use of patient safety concepts and techniques.  Applications will be reviewed and if an office meets certain criteria, a site visit will follow. After a site visit, an office will receive a report that will include an analysis of the patient safety concepts and techniques used in the office and suggestions for patient safety improvements. When the criteria for SCOPE certification are met, a three-year SCOPE Certification Certificate will be granted.

SCOPE focuses solely on processes associated with enhancing the safety environment and reducing risk for patients in the office setting.  SCOPE does not evaluate the quality of clinical care provided by an ob-gyn office.

"Adverse events are 10 times more likely to occur in an office setting than in the hospital," said James T. Breeden, MD, ACOG President. "In many ways, the area of office-based surgery is young, and the checks and balances that have existed for years in hospitals have not been as well-established for the office setting. The SCOPE program is ACOG's effort to improve in-office patient safety procedures," Dr. Breeden added.

How Does SCOPE Work?

If you want to review the application which includes all criteria for SCOPE assessment: Click Here

If you would like to review a presentation on SCOPE with your colleagues: Click Here

Or, if you have questions you would like to have our staff address, please contact us at scope@acog.org, or 1-800-266-8043