Nov 20, 2023

Tips for Doctors Navigating Medical Peer Review

So, you've been selected to either conduct or be reviewed by a peer at your hospital. Here is what you need to know.

Medical peer review is an essential safety process that evaluates the care compliance of doctors and nurses. However, it can be an extremely confusing and stressful process for providers both conducting and under review. Studies show increased rates of burnout in hospital staff undergoing review. So, what can you expect, and what strategies reduce friction in the process?


If you are reviewing a peer:

There are some simple steps to make this process easier and better for everyone. Remember that peer reviewers generally have confidentiality, but these reviews could significantly affect your colleague's career. Consult your state law for more info on review confidentiality.

  • Don't be afraid to lead the review discussion.
  • Prepare for the meeting by taking notes and thoroughly checking the medical records.
  • Think about the setting where the care was given and what resources were available.
  • Notice if there's any missing information that could change your view of the case.
  • Explain to the person being reviewed what you see in the case.
  • Figure out what the person who might be suing (if there is a lawsuit) might focus on.

Lastly, make a fair decision about whether the person being reviewed followed best practices, and be honest.


If you are being reviewed by a peer:

Getting feedback on your work can be uncomfortable. However, peer review can be a powerful learning opportunity to improve your care. Engaging in these reviews allows healthcare professionals to gain insights into different cases, treatments, and best practices. It encourages knowledge sharing and the development of expertise within the medical community. Those being reviewed can use feedback as a chance to enhance their skills and provide better care in the future. By embracing the learning aspect of peer review, healthcare providers can contribute to the overall culture of safety.


Regardless of the review’s findings, maintaining professionalism is paramount. Reviewers should approach the review with objectivity, empathy and commitment to improving care, but the reviewees, in turn, must take the feedback with a level head. It may help to focus on the facts and evidence presented. By staying professional, the integrity of the peer review process is preserved, and trust among colleagues is maintained.


In some rare circumstances, hospitals use peer review to penalize staff due to workplace politics or competitive reasons. Some estimates place peer review fraud as high at 10%. Get an attorney if you suspect there is peer review fraud.

Most medical professionals face peer review at some point in their career. By following best practices, staying professional, and keeping an open mind, you will be able to navigate the process seamlessly.


Ready to learn more about medical peer review? Read our new guide, Everything You Need to Know About Improving Medical Peer Review, or fill out the form below to get started with Medplace.

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Adrienne Fugett, RN

Adrienne leads the Medplace clinical operations team and oversees the recruitment, onboarding, and training of the network. She holds over 30 years of experience in Medical ICU, Quality & Risk and Medical Malpractice Defense work.

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