1. TAKE IT SERIOUSLY
Don’t marginalize these important duties. Dedicate your attention to the medicine, determine the truth, and do all possible to reach the correct result.
2. KNOW THE BYLAWS
Be familiar with the bylaws so as to ensure that they are followed in letter and in spirit.
3. DEMAND FUNDAMENTAL FAIRNESS
Step back and also make sure the physician receives fundamental fairness in all aspects of the peer review.
4. RECUSE YOURSELF AS NECESSARY
If there is an actual or perceived conflict (competitive, personal, or other reason), explain the grounds and recuse yourself. If an outside review is necessary, urge it be done.
5. DO NOT “RUBBER STAMP”
Do not pre-judge. View decisions of prior persons or committees with a skeptical eye. Make sure that you’re making an independent judgment based on the facts.
6. EVALUATE THE PHYSICIAN’S RECORD
If information on the physician’s statistics and/or trends exists, consider it.
7. UNDERSTAND THE MEDICINE
Make sure you review the medical records (including x-rays, films, etc.). If not your sub-specialty, only rely on sound medical opinion or those with expertise.
8. MEDICAL OPINION DIFFER
Remember that a difference of opinion does not mean that the standard of care has been violated.
9. LOOK FOR PROPORTIONALITY
Summary suspensions should be used to prevent danger to patients. Terminations should be used only when retraining, proctoring, or other remedial efforts fail.
10. REALIZE THE CONSEQUENCES
A negative peer review action at one hospital can have a severe effect on a physician’s ability to practice medicine or hold a license anywhere. Keep in mind the impact your decision can have on the physician’s entire career and livelihood.