Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare | December 2012

By Teri Yates

The field of radiology is known for its rapid innovations in technology. We continually offer up exciting new ways to image the body, but when it comes to improving the accuracy of professional interpretations, little meaningful progress has been made in the last 50 years. This is true in part because current radiology peer review models are insufficient, and in some circumstances, even harmful to quality improvement efforts. To achieve our most important purpose—the provision of safe and high quality healthcare—radiologists must find a new and more effective way to conduct peer review.

Models for Peer Review
Despite the lack of substantive improvement in diagnostic accuracy, all radiology groups are under increasing pressure by hospitals, the Joint Commission and the payor community to participate in some form of peer review. Most commonly, radiologists conduct peer review utilizing the model developed by the American College of Radiology, known as RADPEER™. In the RADPEER model, radiologists evaluate each other’s work through the course of their normal reading activity, in which they compare prior studies to the current study being interpreted. Cases are self-selected, and the participants rate and document their level of agreement with the colleague’s interpretation of the prior study. The results of these reviews are then self-reported to the ACR for aggregation and analysis.