It is expected that every month the providers in my practice participate in a peer review process. Each provider is assigned four patient randomly selected patient names for review. During the month, every clinician must complete a form for each patient that includes information related to treatment, diagnosis, plan, follow-up and health maintenance needs addressed during the visit. The goal of the peer reviewers is to determine if patients received acceptable medical care.

I value the process of peer review. In fact, as a recent graduate, it is a process that I find comforting. I’ve become used to evaluation as part of my education, and enjoy hearing the opinion of other professionals as to whether or not I had chosen the right diagnosis or plan of care.

If executed properly, peer-review exercises can lead to improvements in patient care and prevent adverse patient outcomes. As health-care providers, we should never underestimate the power of collaboration — it is such an integral aspect of medicine that it is unlikely that quality health care can be delivered without it.

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The peer review process fosters collaboration between physician assistants, nurse practitioners and physicians, enabling us to exchange our knowledge and experience, and grow as health-care providers. Peer review is also an avenue for providers to seek support and discuss difficult patient encounters in a profession that rarely permits this.

As the shortage of primary care providers improves with more midlevel clinicians entering the field, participating in a peer review process will become increasingly important and essential to both patient and provider satisfaction.

Leigh Montejo, MSN, FNP-BC, provides health care to underserved populations at the Metropolitan Community Health Service’s Agape Clinic in Washington, North Carolina.