Rationale, aims and objectives: Service provision and clinical outcomes for patients admitted with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease remain unacceptably variable despite guidelines and performance feedback of national audit, data. This study aims to assess the impact of mutual peer review on service improvement. The initial phase of this study was to assess the feasibility and determine the practicalities of delivering such a peer review programme on a large scale.
Methods: All UK acute hospitals were invited to participate in a reciprocal peer review programme administered by a central team from three UK health organizations. Hospitals with the most resources were paired with those with the least (as defined in a baseline survey) and pairs randomized on a 3:2 basis into intervention or control groups. A number of key quality indicators were derived to measure service levels at the beginning and end of the study. Peer review teams included clinicians and managers from acute and primary care organizations and when possible a patient representative. Visits were focussed on four key areas of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease service. Teams were to agree service improvements and submit plans signed off by participants. Monthly change diaries were to be used to record progress towards agreed goals.
Results: A total of 100 hospitals participated in the programme. Overall, 52 of 54 peer review visits took place within a 4-week time frame and all units submitted service improvement plans within an agreed time frame. Secondary care representatives participated in all visits, primary care in 30 but patients in only 17. The mean number of diaries returned was 2, but 94% of units returned initial and final versions.
Conclusions: It is possible to deliver successful large-scale mutual peer review using a limited but focussed programme. Participation of patients and use of change diaries requires further evaluation.
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.