QOF achievement day is several weeks away, but don’t delay stepping up efforts to achieve the maximum quality points. Spread out the work around the your team to make the most of the time available.
Avoiding procrastination over this year’s work is advisable because the QOF is to change significantly in 2013/14. Getting ahead with preparing for the new elements will be time better spent than last minute chasing of this year’s points.
Review how far away you are from the targets as soon as possible so that you can put into action sensible strategies for beefing up your scores as much as possible by achievement day.
Incorrect coding can lose you valuable points, so start by checking for errors in logging QOF work already done. Watch out for slip-ups like failing to code secondary diagnoses such as hypertension in stroke patients and diagnostic ‘miscodes’, for example, with cancer indicators and type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
List the indicators where the practice has fallen behind and prioritise the most important to tackle in terms of patient care, points they score, and so on.
Go for easy wins where you can catch up quickly by taking prompt action but don’t waste too much time on indicators with higher thresholds the practice is unlikely to meet.
Higher achievement thresholds a problem? For example some practices are struggling with the raised thresholds - now 45 to 80% (from 40 to 70% in 2011/12) for the BP5 indicator where the last blood pressure (measured in the preceding 9 months) is 150/90 or less. This attracts 55 points and may involve a large group of patients. How much work will getting these points involve?
When inviting patients for reviews, bear in mind that a letter may need to be followed up once or twice and you need to allow time for this. Consider phoning and texting reminders to patients instead to encourage them to book appointments.
The aim with catch-up work is to do it early, but there are some indicators that need to be left until the last minute. For example, with monitoring lithium for mental health patients, there needs to be a record of lithium levels in the preceding four months.
Take care with exception reporting. Although by and large this is straight forward, coding of certain exceptions can be confusing. An example is cervical cytology and whether a hysterectomy was total when one code applies or partial, for which there is a different code.