Who should chair the peer review committee?
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the webinar “Benchmarking Your Peer Review Program: Applying Best Practices and Removing Barriers to Success.” During this webinar, speaker Robert J. Marder, MD, gave best practices for moving to a multispecialty model of peer review and improving the overall culture regarding peer review.
Do you recommend the vice chief of staff automatically chair the peer review committee to gain experience?
That is interesting. It is common to say, “Let’s train someone by having them do something they have never done before so they get experience.” I guess we come from this background of “see one, do one, teach one,” so if we jump and throw them in, they will learn that way.
Actually, this is such a critical committee, and you will see from the two case studies we discussed and numerous other case studies how critical the chair of that committee can be. You do not want the committee chair turning over every year or two, depending on the vice chief of staff’s term, and now you have a new committee chair and you have lost all of that understanding and credibility. It is like the credentials committee—when you train someone how to run that committee, you want them to do it for a while.
I recommend that the chair of the committee be appointed from the existing members of the committee, and that it be someone who has been on the committee for at least one year. The chair should have a multiyear term or even an indefinite term as long as they are a member of the committee and as long as they are doing a good job.
I don’t recommend it be assigned by position. Now, if the vice chief of staff is the right person to chair the committee, and they want to do it to get things started and then afterward appoint someone to be chair, that is fine. I can see that because the vice chief of staff may have been very much involved in the creation of the committee. But not as a person to automatically pop in to the role just so you can train them.
What I have seen in a number of instances is where a former chief of staff chairs the committee. In one hospital, the chief of staff was ending his term just as the committee was getting started, and he took on the role of chairing the committee because he wanted to make sure this was part of his legacy and got off to the right start. But he did it not because he was former chief of staff, but because he was the right person to chair that committee.
I very much agree with having key medical staff leaders and former medical staff leaders be chair of this critical committee, just like you often have former chiefs of staffs chairing the credentials committee. But I don’t advocate the chair be automatically by position someone who turns over every two years just so they can learn how to do it.