Peer Review of Radiologic Studies: Multicare Health System’s Success


Radiologists overseeing the peer review process.When it comes to peer review, MultiCare Health System in Tacoma, Washington, is way ahead of the curve. Last year, MultiCare was ranked No. 10 on the national list of top 100 integrated health care systems — the top-ranked health care system in the state, reports Becker’s Hospital Review.

This focus on patient care and coordination of health care services is reflected in their efforts to participate in a state-of-the-art peer review process.

Along with four acute-care facilities with 868 beds, seven ambulatory surgical centers, seven urgent care centers, MultiCare has 20 sites of care for medical imaging services.  Within these sites, radiologists in two different radiology groups are participating in a peer review initiative that is designed to bring continuous performance improvement into their quality care system.

Track and Analyze With User-friendly Peer Review Technology                                                                               

MultiCare needed a quality assurance peer review process that all radiologists could be engaged with. They wanted a core system that would perform, track and analyze peer review of radiologic studies and chose PeerVue, who met all of their technology requirements, in November 2009.

In an interview focused on medical peer review earlier this year, Healthcare Informatics (HCI) Editor-in-Chief, Mark Hagland, spoke with Jim Sapienza, MultiCare Health System’s administrator for medical imaging services and Andrew Levine, MD, Medical Director of South King County Diagnostic Imaging Services.

Levine indicated that their peer review was initiated previously only if a problem or mistake arose in a radiologic interpretation. After reviewing the case, a medical director would speak with the radiologist involved and that would be the end of the discussion.

“It would pretty much stop there; and there would be no follow-up or analysis examining why the same individual was making the same mistakes, or multiple people were making the same mistakes,” Levine said.

Their paper-based system was cumbersome and time-consuming. With peer review technology in place, now they know that every week a certain number of cases are reviewed. A follow-up tech QA ensures they no longer miss significant issues.

“It was our Quality Committee for Diagnostic Procedure Specialties: cardiology, radiology, some others, feeling there wasn’t a close enough review by the radiologists of the exams they were reading. And ultimately, any study review goes to a committee if there’s an escalation of any concerns or issues that come out of any study that was read,” Sapienza added.

PeerVue Delivers Automated Quality Assurance

Searching for automated quality assurance peer review technology, Levine found PeerVue. Peer review with peerVue technology allows radiologists to handle a case within minutes, enabling them to provide their partners with any needed information quickly.

“PeerVue has really improved what we do. When we first started with PeerVue, one of the things that was lacking was that closed feedback loop, to get the feedback to the individual; and this has resolved that,” Levine marveled.

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