Peer review is pervasive. Every physician does it almost every day. Informal peer review activities include discussion of patients among partners, discussion of cases at conferences, and discussions of patients with consultants. Formal peer review activities are less common. Formal peer review activities are those scheduled activities in which review of other physicians’ performance is the principal agenda item. Most physicians participate in them from once a week to once a month. Formal peer review activities include hospital death, tissue, and utilization review and medical audit as well as nursing home utilization review. Certification processes involving peer review include licensure to practice medicine and licensure revocation, specialty certification, educational program (residency training programs) certification, and sometimes hospital and nursing home facility certification. Currently, very little formal peer review occurs outside of inpatient settings except in certain group practices. Because the family physician’s practice is usually predominantly ambulatory, he/ she is less at risk of participating in formal peer review activities than more hospital-oriented colleagues.
KeywordsQuality Assurance Family Physician Cost Containment Utilization Review Quality Assurance Activity
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