By Kelly Swanson, Manager, Connectivity, Quanum Enterprise Content Solutions
In 1952, The Joint Commission (JTC – formerly the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Hospitals), a United States-based nonprofit organization that accredits more than 21,000 US health care organizations and programs, began requiring hospitals to conduct peer reviews to retain accreditation.
Peer review is a process in which an identified medical staff member is reviewed—through oral discussions, patient interviews, and supporting documents—to identify opportunities for improvement. For providers, the process is called a competency assessment. Despite being mandated by JTC, these physicians are typically identified through a hospital’s proprietary peer review system, but the manner in which peer reviews are conducted, analyzed, and utilized varies widely across institutions.
One of the biggest challenges of a peer review system is the ability to manage all of the data associated with a physician’s case. That can include testimonies, paperwork, and medical records, which, if not managed properly, can cause an unfair result for the patient or physician.
Recently, a large children’s hospital needed assistance transitioning to a more effective peer review document management system. This hospital’s peer review team had a need for a system to manage data and documents with reporting capabilities. While a seemingly simple request, the team struggled with an existing system that was slow, didn’t allow for editing, and ultimately didn’t meet their needs. With the help of the hospital’s IT team, a database was constructed to serve as an interim solution.
As the hospital’s peer review team set out to find the right solution, they found that a lot of vendors they were reviewing required drastic workflow changes. The hospital’s peer review process is complex, so that option was not going to work. That’s when the hospital’s team looked to the Quanum Enterprise Content Solutions (formerly ChartMaxx) from Quest Diagnostics.
The implementation of the new peer review solution started with a proof of concept design and demonstration from the Quanum Enterprise Content Solutions team. The hospital’s peer review team was put at ease when they saw that the solution could really be customized for their hospital’s unique needs.
The solution “go live” was a smooth and successful transition, and user feedback has been incredibly positive. The peer review application designed by Quanum Enterprise Content Solutions has brought stability to the peer review process, aided in consistency and standardization of documentation, and eliminated errors in the process through configurable drop-down menus that limit options to only those appropriate for the case or disposition.
As hospitals embrace efforts to improve their practice workflow, they must also look to implement ways to standardize their peer review processes that allow for fair evaluation of individual standards and quality-of-care issues. One of the most important ways to do this is by implementing a system that allows these hospitals to effectively and fairly manage documentation associated with the process.