Does Clinical Peer Review Really Improve the Quality and Safety of Medical Care?

7/15/2009 – Susan Quinn, VP Education & Development of the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE) and Marc T. Edwards, MD MBA, President & CEO of QA to QI Consulting announced today a collaborative effort to advance research on clinical peer review practices. The project will look at the association of peer review practices with objective quality and safety measures using data from CMS Hospital Compare and other sources. Despite the overall importance of the peer review process to the profession of medicine, such an analysis has never been reported. The survey period is expected to begin in early August.

About 18 months ago, ACPE co-sponsored a national survey of hospital medical staff peer review practices initiated by Dr. Edwards. That study identified a set of practices strongly associated with the perception that a program has a significant ongoing impact on quality and safety of care. Dr. Edwards terms this "the emerging QI Model for peer review." The full results of this landmark study will be of great interest to physician leaders and should appear in the Journal of Clinical Outcomes Management late this summer. Two companion pieces for the Physician Executive, which focus on the practical application of the results, are due for publication this fall.

Ms. Quinn observed, "This project fits well with our mission. As an organization, we are committed to original research in the field of medical management. We believe that this follow up study will provide highly useful information for physician leaders." Dr. Edwards expects to present preliminary results from the survey to participants in the ACPE Milestones program. His session "Peer Review: A New Frontier for Quality Improvement," will also cover findings from the primary study, together with exercises in self-assessment and best practice identification. The Milestone Program is one of many educational offerings at the annual ACPE Fall Institute in Tucson, this November.

The ACPE (Tampa, FL;  now the American Association for Physician Leaders, the premier membership association for physician leaders) is dedicated to education and professional development.  QA to QI LLC (West Hartford, CT; is a boutique consulting firm specializing in healthcare improvement.