Closing the knowledge gap

10/2/07 -- Wilson-Edwards Consulting and Baystate Medical Center announced today the initiation of a national survey of hospital peer review practices.

Peer Review has long been one of the pivotal activities by which the medical profession has sought to protect the quality of patient care. Hospitals, too, have been wedded to the process in order to mitigate vicarious malpractice liability and comply with regulatory requirements. Even so, according to Marc T. Edwards, MD, MBA, Principal of Wilson-Edwards Consulting, "no normative data has ever been published in the scientific literature regarding peer review program structure, process or governance."

Motivated by experiences with his clients, many of whom are seeking to improve their peer review programs, Dr. Edwards sought a means of closing this significant knowledge gap.  He found the perfect partner in Evan M. Benjamin, MD, FACP, Chief Quality Officer at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts, a teaching hospital affiliated with Tufts University School of Medicine.  "I see significant opportunity to improve peer review nationally," says Dr. Benjamin. "This research is needed to better understand current practice."

Together they have designed an online survey using state-of-the-art technology with the expectation of painting the first picture of the current state of medical staff peer review in hospitals across America.  "I was surprised and delighted," said Dr. Edwards, "when more than a few of our testers spontaneously told us that the survey was an educational experience. That did the most for me to validate the value of our work at this early stage."

Lacking grant-funding or outside financial contributions, they have been able to proceed based on the support provided by organizations that have recognized the importance of the work and have been willing to provide electronic distribution of this survey to their membership.  They include Premier Inc., the University HealthSystem Consortium, the American College of Physician Executives, and various state hospital associations.

The survey period is due to begin on October 25.  The researchers intend to publish their findings as soon as possible.

Wilson-Edwards Consulting became QA to QI Consulting on June 26, 2009.