Medical Staff

Tip of the week: Reduce bias in peer review by understanding where it stems from

Medical Staff Leader Insider, August 5, 2010

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Medical staffs know that the peer review process is not free of bias, but what they might not know is that bias goes far beyond being a partner or competitor to the physician being reviewed. There are many sources of bias, including:

  • Fear of retribution from a colleague, either personally, professionally, or economically
  • Fear that an adverse peer review judgment will have a negative effect on a colleague’s professional and personal life
  • Anger toward a competitor or colleague for a perceived wrong that deserves retribution
  • Desire to protect or shield a colleague, partner, employer, and/or employee from potential damage to his or her reputation or standing
  • Desire to protect or shield a group of individuals (e.g., department, division, private enterprise) from potential damage to reputation or standing)
  • Certainty regarding analysis despite subsequent evidence to the contrary
  • Selective elimination of information that does not confirm an initial analysis or impression
  • A tendency to base judgments on information that is readily available, most recent, or that contains
  • Strong emotional content
  • Inadvertently linking current circumstances to patterns or perceptions established in the past
  • Maintaining an irrational commitment toward an issue, despite mounting evidence to the contrary
  • Inappropriately ascribing a pattern to random events
  • Inappropriately surmising a decision or action based on retrospective analysis
  • Overestimating one’s ability to judge and analyze a situation correctly, despite evidence to the contrary
     

This week’s tip is adapted from Peer Review Best Practices: Case Studies and Lessons Learned by Robert J. Marder, MD, CMSL, and Jonathan H. Burroughs, MD, FACPE, CPE, FACEP, CMSL, published by HCPro.

 



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