Improving Health Care Quality and Patient Safety Through Peer-to-Peer Assessment: Demonstration Project in Two Academic Medical Centers

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Despite decades of investment in patient safety, unintentional patient harm remains a major challenge in the health care industry. Peer-to-peer assessment in the nuclear industry has been shown to reduce harm. The study team’s goal was to pilot and assess the feasibility of this approach in health care. The team developed tools and piloted a peer-to-peer assessment at 2 academic hospitals: Massachusetts General Hospital and Johns Hopkins Hospital. The assessment evaluated both the institutions’ organizational approach to quality and safety as well as their approach to reducing 2 specific areas of patient harm. Site visits were completed and consisted of semistructured interviews with institutional leaders and clinical staff as well as direct patient observations using audit tools. Reports with recommendations were well received and each institution has developed improvement plans. The study team believes that peer-to-peer assessment in health care has promise and warrants consideration for wider adoption.

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