A Medical Staff Peer Review System in a Public Teaching Hospital—An Internal Quality Improvement Tool

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Abstract

Peer review of the quality of care of the medical staff in a healthcare delivery system, properly executed and utilized, can bring about changes that improve the quality and safety of patient care, enhance clinical performance, and augment physician education. Although all healthcare facilities are mandated to conduct peer reviews, the process of how it is conducted, reported, and utilized varies widely. In 2007, our institution, a large public teaching acute care facility, developed and implemented an electronic Medical Staff Peer Review System (MS-PRS) that replaced the existing paper-based system and created a centralized database for all peer review activities. Despite limited resources and mounting known challenges, we have developed and implemented a system that includes 100% mortality reviews, an ongoing random review for reappointment and operative procedures, and morbidity peer reviews. Parallel to the 4-year implementation of the system, we observed a steady, significant downward trend in the medical malpractice claim rate, which can be attributable in part to the implementation of MS-PRS. In this paper, we share our experiences in the development, outcomes, challenges encountered, and lessons learned from MS-PRS and provide our recommendations to similar institutions for the development of such a system.

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