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|Certifying a Team|
Even though Dr. Vincent Barba teaches patient safety to all levels of medical students and to his hospital’s residents, he still felt he should challenge himself to become certified in patient safety.
In nearly 20 years as a physician in academic medicine, Vincent Barba, MD, FACP, FHM, CPPS, CQO, has served in many roles. A board-certified internist, he joined the faculty of New Jersey Medical School and became an attending physician at University Hospital in 1999. “University Hospital is pretty much the safety net hospital,” he says. “We’re the only public acute care hospital in New Jersey.”
Yet practicing medicine has been only a part of his career. Dr. Barba was charged with starting the academic Hospital Medicine section within the Department of Medicine. He took on oversight of quality improvement initiatives for the department, then utilization activities. When the hospital and medical school looked for physician leadership in quality and safety, Dr. Barba was tapped to become chief quality officer.
But even though he teaches patient safety to all levels of medical students and to the hospital’s residents, he still felt he should challenge himself to become certified in patient safety. Just months after the Certified Professional in Patient Safety credential began being offered, he signed up to sit for the exam.
“I think physicians who are involved in quality improvement, patient safety activities, administrative medicine—this is something they definitely should have an understanding and knowledge base around,” he says. “If they’re going to be asked to lead these missions at different hospitals, they ought to demonstrate that they have competency in this area. And this [certification] is the perfect way to do it.”
This credential helps set the table for who are going to be authorities on this across the country. I think it adds some objective criteria to what it is we do every day.”
But he didn’t stop there. Dr. Barba is kind of an evangelist about patient safety, and he urged the entire Quality Improvement staff to also become certified. “We have two patient safety analysts, a quality manager, and me who have been certified,” he says. Several others are “in the queue,” taking additional time to study before taking the exam.
“We like to move things,” Dr. Barba added. “I thought it was a good idea, we talked it over, people signed up, and they passed their exams.”
As a physician, Dr. Barba views certification in patient safety as a needed evolution of the field. “Patient Safety for years has suffered from [the questions] ‘What is it? What is the science behind it? What are the metrics around it? How do you measure it?’ It’s one of those things where [people say] ‘I’ll know it if I see it,’” he says. “For people who want to take a leadership position in patient safety, this credential helps set the table for who are going to be authorities on this across the country. I think it adds some objective criteria to what it is we do every day.”