Reduce bias in peer review by understanding where it stems from

Medical staffs know that the peer review process is not free of bias, but what they might not know is that bias goes far beyond being a partner or competitor to the physician being reviewed. There are many sources of bias, including:

  • Fear of retribution from a colleague, either personally, professionally, or economically
  • Fear that an adverse peer review judgment will have a negative effect on a colleague’s professional and personal life
  • Anger toward a competitor or colleague for a perceived wrong that deserves retribution
  • Desire to protect or shield a colleague, partner, employer, and/or employee from potential damage to his or her reputation or standing
  • Desire to protect or shield a group of individuals (e.g., department, division, private enterprise) from potential damage to reputation or standing)
  • Certainty regarding analysis despite subsequent evidence to the contrary
  • Selective elimination of information that does not confirm an initial analysis or impression
  • A tendency to base judgments on information that is readily available, most recent, or that contains
  • Strong emotional content
  • Inadvertently linking current circumstances to patterns or perceptions established in the past
  • Maintaining an irrational commitment toward an issue, despite mounting evidence to the contrary
  • Inappropriately ascribing a pattern to random events
  • Inappropriately surmising a decision or action based on retrospective analysis
  • Overestimating one’s ability to judge and analyze a situation correctly, despite evidence to the contrary


Found in Categories: 
Peer Review, OPPE, and FPPE