This article is a continuation from our initial article discussing the complexities of Peer Review.
Navigating Peer Review’s never ending barrage of requirements, mandates and standards often creates an environment of uncertainty and confusion. Those responsible for managing Peer Review, Quality and Medical Staff Services can easily become overwhelmed. In order to help your organization avoid similar pitfalls, simple changes can be implemented to ensure your Peer Review Program is timely, efficient and delivers upon its original intent of improving outcomes.
Common criticisms of Peer Review by healthcare providers include the feeling that the process is punitive and too time consuming. Many facilities we’ve worked with presume that to comply with standards and to feel confident that the providers are functioning within appropriate guidelines can only be met when every standard, rule, and regulation is followed and reported upon monthly. Not only is this task nearly impossible, but the concept itself is often the root of redundancy, time consumption and grievance.
Simplification of Requirements
Breaking down requirements into components and utilizing different methods to monitor and report will streamline results and create organization. Develop a table from the standards that includes the following:
Item to be monitored
Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) owner, if applicable
Decrease the number of committees and frequency of meetings
Look for redundancy in the current committee structure and streamline by determining if there are:
Similar reports utilized in different meetings?
Multiple meetings with the same attendees?
Meetings that have lost their usefulness?
Meetings where attendees are only showing up for the breakfast or lunch provided?
Morning meetings that would have better attendance if scheduled in the afternoon?
Simplify processes by reviewing by-law and policy requirements that are restrictive
There’s a reason certain standards require intermittent review of policies, procedures and by-laws. ‘Rubber Stamping’ old, traditional specifications may initially appear easier than the frequent reviews required; however over-time, those same guidelines may bind the facility with outdated processes. Archaic processes may no longer serve the institution and can possibly create complications and miscommunications that can be harmful to patients, staff, and the organization.
Organize Peer Review in a simple, straightforward format
The program should be presented in a simple flow chart or bullet point outline that is clear and easy to follow. Unfortunately, some facilities correlate the importance of the standard to the complexity of the process when actually the opposite is true. Surveyors know one sign of a well-run facility is simplicity. Simple processes allow ease of compliance, decrease performance stress, and create efficiency. Together, meeting these objectives will equate to safer, better care for patients and improved satisfaction for all involved.
Leverage technology to improve work flow and reporting
Paper Peer Review is ineffective and leaves room for error. Leveraging technology to automate reporting for Peer Review will save cherished time, money and reduce operational risk. Your software should automatically kick off peer review at scheduled dates/times or based on specific triggers which ensures consistency and confirms required timeframes are met. Couple this with a system capable of providing near/real time statistics without bias and it will increase performance as providers welcome accurate results and the associated statistics.
Meaningful Peer Review
It is possible to implement meaningful and effective change in Peer Review. Doing so will make it the constructive and supportive process it was intended to be. Technology, creative ideas, simplification of processes and a willingness to allow fresh eyes to review existing programs are keys to transitioning from a well-meant but cumbersome program to a useful, collegiate and efficient program. Stayed tuned for the next article in our Peer Review series where we’ll examine the staff’s feelings on the relevance of peer review in patient care, as well as acquiring physician buy-in.