Effective Peer Review for Risk Management

Peer Review is intended to improve quality of treatment and patient safety by allowing medical professionals to learn from past performance and errors.  This process is increasingly used for learning, evaluation, certification purposes, and is an essential element of any risk management strategy. Still, many organization struggle with processes that are reactive, punitive, and lack transparency. Learn how a few simple changes can lead to collegial, collaborative, and effective peer review program.

Change From Reactive to Proactive

In many organizations, the peer review process is only set into action reactively, in regards to a particular complaint, patient claim, or negative outcome. This leaves hospitals and medical facilities vulnerable by failing to identify patterns of error or poor performance.  When used proactively, peer review is a valuable tool. Regular reviews, without the prompting of an issue, will naturally identify cases where the provider’s performance is good lending to a more collaborative review and a program that providers will want to be a part of.  Additionally, your peer review program will be a strong foundation for fulfilling standards such as Ongoing Professional Practice Evaluations (OPPE).

Move From Punitive to Performance Improvement

Peer Review processes can have a punitive or disciplinary connotation, which detracts from its ability to provide constructive criticism or feedback intended to improve performance. It’s important to teach your providers how to identify potential issues before they happen and to learn from the mistakes that do happen.  Moving to a process where the goal is to help providers improve their craft will naturally improve both provider and patient satisfaction.

Shift from Silo to Collective

Oftentimes, the review and recommendation of a provider’s performance is done by a small set of providers and is performed in a ‘silo’.  Shifting to more of a collective peer review process may add insight that otherwise would’ve been overlooked.  For example, let’s say that you have five cardiac surgeons who perform the same procedures for a month, but one of those surgeons has really high readmission rates comparatively.  Getting the group of five surgeons together to brainstorm on what the outlier is, uncovers that it’s the antibiotic being prescribed.  The surgeon begins using a different antibiotic and his readmission rates are now in line with the others.

To successfully leverage peer review for risk management purposes, the process must be proactive and systematic. Having an automated solution that forces the process to be proactive is a must! The system should allow for internal reviews, regular performance monitoring and assessment of high-risk specialties, clear bench marking and measurement, and identification of specific areas of risk. Use of a peer review platform (such as symplr) will increase organization transparency, improve patient safety and quality of care, while reducing your liability and exposure to risk, and mitigating financial loss.

To learn more about how symplr can help your organization mitigate risk through the ongoing evaluation of practitioner performance, contact us today. We help hospitals and other medical facilities proactively address risk, by streamlining their peer review process and establishing efficient, cost-effective procedures for practitioner evaluation. Simplify your peer review process with symplr, and you'll reduce risk, increase your bottom line, and free up more time to do what you do best – protect the health and well-being of your patients.

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Tracey Meyer

About the Author
Tracey Meyer

Tracey Meyer is responsible for all symplr software product management, and was in the Cactus Software product development group for 2 years before being selected to helm the product management team for symplr. She brings 20 years of business and technical software experience building products to simplify and enhance the user experience for her clients.

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