Peer review processes usually require unique approaches because of the variety of existing resources, preferences and personnel. Assistance is often required at three stages: Initial creation of a whole system or fine tuning of some of its parts; assistance in operating a system; and assistance at the hearing panel stage.

All drafting of process documents proceeds in much the same way as other medical staff documents (click here for more information). Once a system is up and running, however, several needs arise.

Peer review committees and medical staff office professionals often need help on a continuing basis to learn of the system’s features and, to the extent practicable, become self sufficient. They also need periodic advice on a month-to-month basis. A limited retainer arrangement is often the best solution to that enabling process. Once everyone gets a solid foundation, the retainer can be reduced.

Sometimes, because of manpower and resource choices, an entity may want a fully-outsourced management of peer review. Under this choice, the physicians do all the thinking, deciding and conversing with colleagues. We do the rest. (For more information on this comprehensive Peer Review Management Services, click here.)

Either way, we build our peer review assistance around several core ideas:

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• Peer review should be educational and collegial, and punitive only when necessary. This encourages wider participation, greater legitimacy and better care.

• Peer review systems should favor self-improvement and peer assistance.

• All systems should very carefully protect confidentiality for all participants.

• Systems should provide immunity to participants to the full extent of the law.

• Being as fair as possible to a physician is not only the right thing to do; it yields a more accurate outcome.

For examples of work we have done in peer review, click here.