Practicing peer learning: One radiology department’s experience

Many radiology departments aspire to transition from peer review to peer learning as studies find the latter promotes a constructive, rather than punitive learning environment. An article published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology highlights a radiology department that made the transition, finding the new model promotes the right to learn from mistakes.

The article, published online Jan. 18, was led by Benjamin H. Harvey, MD, in the department of radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, is written on the heels of a study published last week in the American Journal of Roentgenology that offered guidelines for transitioning from peer review to peer learning, as reported in Radiology Business.

Authors of the study detail how its radiology department made the decision to abandon peer review for peer learning.

“Many years ago, our department recognized that traditional radiology peer review approaches were inhibiting our vision for an optimal quality and safety culture,” Harvey and colleagues wrote.

What the department created was called consensus-oriented group review (COGR).

That process includes regular group meetings of radiologists within their subspecialty divisions, during which they select random cases to review in a private conference setting. Rather than assigning scores to the reports, they ask if the report should be changed?

“As a result, discussions went beyond simply identifying a missed finding or incorrect interpretation and addressed other important aspects of peer feedback, such as whether the clinical questions was answered, the clarity of the report, the appropriateness of recommendations and the need for nonroutine communication,” Harvey et al. wrote.

It should be noted, discordance data was recorded, but not provided to hospital administration, and was to be used for future learning purposes. The move was to reassure radiologists the process was nonpunitive, a common description associated with peer review.

“On the basis of our experiences, we can attest that the peer-learning approach to feedback better facilitates a positive and meaningful quality and safety culture compared with traditional peer review,” Harvey et al. wrote.