Contributing Clinical Peer Review Process Expertise

1/10/2012 - Marc T. Edwards, MD, MBA, President and CEO of QA to QI (West Hartford, CT) announced that his firm has been approved as a designated Connecticut Patient Safety Organization (PSO) by the Department of Public Health. The Connecticut approval significantly extends the firm's scope of services and creates healthy competition in a marketplace previously divided among only 3 PSOs.

QA to QI has operated as a federally-approved PSO since June, 2010. It is uniquely focused on promoting best practices in clinical peer review by providing expertise and program content to other PSOs and by innovating related tools  to help healthcare providers improve quality and safety. Clinical peer review is the process by which physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals examine clinical care, evaluate each others performance, and initiate actions for improvement. Dr. Edwards has completed 2 national studies of peer review practice and published 6 articles which describe a new approach to peer review that he calls the Quality Improvement or QI Model. The QI Model sharply contrasts with the outmoded and dysfunctional approach that currently prevails in hospitals. He is nearly finished with data collection for a follow-up study of the 470 programs previously examined and will soon be analyzing the results.

According to Dr. Edwards, "The Federal Patient Safety Act and the Connecticut Public Act 04-160 which enabled PSOs are very important pieces of legislation whose impact is just beginning to be felt. The federal and the state statues complement each other in promoting improved patient safety and quality of care by connecting healthcare providers with outside expertise  and by offering a protected environment for the reporting, investigation and analysis of adverse events." The Connecticut program is mandatory for hospitals and outpatient surgical centers. The federal program is voluntary and more detailed, but gives broader protection. They both aim to create an environment in which healthcare professionals can learn from their mistakes without fear of reprisals.

Dr. Edwards adds, " Healthcare is highly complex. Treatment, itself, is not risk-free. Also, errors of diagnosis and treatment will happen even among the best. Thus, many patients will suffer complications from medical care, some of which could have been prevented. We want to be able to learn from these events and improve the process of care so as to minimize their chance of recurrence, but nothing puts a damper on such self-reflective learning more than fear. For a variety of reasons, fear has dominated the healthcare environment for the past 30 years. As a result, healthcare providers have tended to hide their mistakes, which then get repeated. It will take time to change as providers gain trust in the new system. It is definitely a journey worth taking."

Marc T. Edwards

Marc T. Edwards, MD, MBA is President and CEO of QA to QI. He operates a Patient Safety Organization, conducts research in healthcare operations improvement, markets clinical peer review program management software, and assists clients to make improvements in quality, safety and resource use. For additional information, visit or contact him directly:; 860.521.8484.

QA to QI LLC (West Hartford, CT; specializes in the development of evidence-based tools for healthcare improvement through operations research.