Advocacy & Health Policy: Reducing Medical Errors and Improving Patient Outcomes: ACOG’s VRQC & SCOPE Can Help

Physicians and patients both benefit if medical errors can be reduced and patient outcomes improved. With that as a foundational guiding principal, ACOG’s Health Policy division develops and implements patient safety and quality of care information, tools and programs to help ob-gyns in their practices, including the following cornerstone programs:

  • Voluntary Review of Quality of Care (VRQC)
  • Safety Certification in Outpatient Practice Excellence (SCOPE) for Women’s Health Programs

VRQC and SCOPE Overview

The VRQC and SCOPE programs help institutions and providers achieve the highest standard of quality in care delivery by offering reviews, guidance, tools and pearls of wisdom gleaned from years of experience. Reviewers for both programs are composed of highly experienced ACOG Fellows with skills in peer review and quality assessment techniques. They are also board-certified physicians in other specialties that are critical to effective reviews and analyses (i.e., nurses, family physicians, certified nurse-midwives). Most of these reviewers have over fifteen years of quality review experience and are currently practicing medicine which allows them to recognize and address current trends, challenges and changes in the practice of medicine.

More about SCOPE


SCOPE is a voluntary comprehensive patient safety review program available to all medical practices that provide obstetrics and/or gynecology services. The SCOPE review and certification focuses on a single office location; this is done because individual offices, even within the same practice or system, have unique cultures and may provide different services. The SCOPE review includes participation by both clinical and non-clinical staff and certification is based on the assessment of the use of patient safety concepts and techniques in an individual office setting. Successful certification requires a self-assessment and application submission, site visit following the submission of the application along with supporting documentation and provides an in-depth and thorough review of safety as it pertains to procedures done in an office setting.


To learn more about SCOPE, visit the website at or send an email to


More about VRQC


The VRQC program has completed more than 315 reviews since its inception in 1986, providing a comprehensive peer review consultation that focuses on the quality of care being provided in the hospital setting. To complete the review, customized ob-gyn clinical teams conduct a site visit and use various quality assessment techniques; this includes an evaluation based on the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (the College) guidelines. The four-day VRQC site visit includes chart reviews, staff interviews, educational presentations and a facilities tour. At the end of the review, the team prepares a report that includes observations and chart review findings and recommendations for improvement based on ACOG guidance. The report, along with helpful references, and a table of recommendations are provided to the hospital as a sample workplan. This is an important program to consider as hospitals and providers deal with pay for performance issues, as well as investigate further collaborations in light of some payers moving to bundled payment for specific services.


To learn more about VRQC, visit the section of the ACOG website dedicated to VRQC or contact  to request more information.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th Street SW, Washington, DC  20024-2188
Mailing Address: PO Box 96920, Washington, DC 20024-9998