Peer reviews for health professionals

As part of each College’s quality assurance mandate, Colleges often require their members to undergo peer reviews. A peer review can be stressful, but with the right preparation, professionals can put themselves in a position to avoid this leading to further proceedings.   In this video, Elyse Sunshine offers tips for professionals facing peer reviews.



Toronto Health Lawyer, Elyse Sunshine, says there are proactive steps that can be taken when a health professional is subject to a peer review. Well Elyse, it may seem obvious but what is a peer review?

A peer review is one mechanism that is used by the quality assurance committee of a heath regulatory college to ensure that its professionals are maintaining their professional standards are current and competent.

What mechanics are involved in this?

Typically what is done is, an assessor is assigned and sent out to the health professional’s office. They do a tour of the office. They will do an interview of the health professional to get some background and a bit of understanding of the nature of their practice and then a chart review with interactive discussion between the inspector and the health professional.

Well what sparks this? Does everyone go through this at some point?

It’s likely that most [health] professionals will be subject to some type of this auditing system during the course of their career. Each College or each regulatory health college has a quota that they like to do each year to assess the health professionals. But, you can also be subject to this type of review because of an involvement with a report that’s been made against you or a complaint.

Are there sanctions at the end of it?

Generally speaking, no. It’s supposed to be an educative process. There will always be recommendations that come out of it. But, the committee does have significant powers in that if things don’t go well they can refer you to undertake an enhancement or educative program, and if those things don’t go well, they can actually place terms, conditions and limitations on your license or even suspend you until you get your house in order.

So then what is the goal?

The goal is to make sure that our health professionals are practicing up to a current level. That they are safe and effective.

Do you have some advice for health professionals?

Yes. Once that you learn that you are subject to a review, in an ideal world, our charts would be current and beautiful and you could open the doors to the regulator at any time. But, once you know that they are coming, although you cannot go back and change your charts, certainly that any improvements that you may make from the time that you are notifies about the assessment until the time that the assessor comes may be taken into consideration. There are also some physical things you can do. You obviously want to make sure your office looks good, it’s professional and presentable and that you have things like emergency equipment etc.

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