Tuesday, September 21, 2010

In Summary

In the USA, hospital peer review processes have been given protections and powers that are meant to be used for the patients' safety and best interests.  The problem is that the process is not balanced, and it amounts to considering the physician, once targeted, to be guilty till otherwise .. well, there is not necessarily an "otherwise".  Once the process is initiated, in certain environments, it can certainly eliminate any physician.  The process does not have any guarantees that it will truly identify the good or the bad.  It is mostly a set of rules of an elimination game, allowing someone to be voted out, supposing the medical community in a hospital has no motives other than patients' best interests.  As it turned out, (surprise!) physicians and hospital administrations are humans and can abuse a wonderful tool like this one.  Let me clarify: 

1.  There is no due process.
2.  The law provides strong protection to the members of the peer review committee.

Such a process that tilts heavily against a targeted physician is definitely open to corruption, and exploitation of the process for reasons other than quality improvement.

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