Blind voting at peer review committee meetings

Bias is a common stumbling block to effective peer review. Bias can take a well-meaning committee that is truly focused on improvement and make it appear as if it is practicing sham peer review. At St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood, Colorado the professional review committee is a multidisciplinary committee that represents the most active specialties of the medical staff; it also has representation from internal medicine and primary care. Over the years, changes to committee scoring have been implemented to help score more fairly and with less bias.

In 2013, one of the committee members suggested blind voting to increase members' ability to vote with their conscience without the pressure of a show of hands. Initially this was done with a voting sheet, and the scores were tallied and reported during the meeting, but this method proved too onerous. The committee then started utilizing an audience response system to allow the members to vote privately. The voting results are displayed immediately so that the members are aware of the case level assessment.

Voting now truly reflects the opinions of the committee members. Previously a show of hands would be unanimous; it would be difficult to say that members were voting according to their conscience. Group pressure would prevail, and hands would go up as members looked around the table. With an audience response system, the results are more telling—rarely is there a unanimous vote. 

Source: News and Analysis

Found in Categories: 
Peer Review, OPPE, and FPPE