Supporting Hospital and Physician Peer Review

The Peer Review Portal

Project Summary

Peer review includes the routine review of patient charts to identify potential quality concerns that can be used to educate and evaluate physician performance. The evaluation is done confidentially, and can be performed by a peer, practicing either within the same,
or an external hospital. The American Medical Association “supports the medical peer review process and recommends that peer review evaluations be based upon appropriateness, medical necessity, and efficiency of services in order to assure quality medical care.”

In Vermont, many of our hospital peer review committees have difficulty finding qualified, informed associates to review the quality of services provided by their medical staff. Smaller Vermont hospitals may only have one or two physicians within a particular specialty on their staff, and sometimes physician “peers” are in the same practice, which may constitute a conflict of interest.

The Vermont Program for Quality in Health Care, as a state designated peer protected organization, facilitates the peer review process by hosting a statewide peer review portal on our website. This portal enables physician to physician connection and represents 64 different specialties. VPQHC provides this peer review protection for hospitals and physicians under Act 26 V.S.A. §1443 of the Vermont Statutes.

VPQHC updates the panel of reviewers every two years. In preparation for these updates, it connects with all Vermont hospitals and with the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and asks them to review their panel. When all hospitals have responded with theirinformation, VPQHC staff updates the portal.

Recommendations and Next Steps

VPQHC continues to encourage hospital leaders to contribute and to use the Peer Review Portal in order to ensure that physician peer reviews are accessible to hospitals throughout the state.