External feedback in general practice: a focus group study of trained peer reviewers of significant event analyses

Mckay, J., Pope, L., Bowie, P. and Lough, M. (2009) External feedback in general practice: a focus group study of trained peer reviewers of significant event analyses. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 15(1), pp. 142-147. (doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2753.2008.00969.x)

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Background and aims  Peer feedback is well placed to play a key role in satisfying educational and governance standards in general practice. Although the participation of general practitioners (GPs) as reviewers of evidence will be crucial to the process, the professional, practical and emotional issues associated with peer review are largely unknown. This study explored the experiences of GP reviewers who make educational judgements on colleagues' significant event analyses (SEAs) in an established peer feedback system. Methods  Focus groups of trained GP peer reviewers in the west of Scotland. Interviews were taped, transcribed and analysed for content. Results  Consensus on the value of feedback in improving SEA attempts by colleagues was apparent, but there was disagreement and discomfort about making a dichotomous `satisfactory' or `unsatisfactory' judgement. Differing views on how peer feedback should be used to compliment the appraisal process were described. Some concern was expressed about professional and legal obligations to colleagues and to patients seriously harmed as a result of significant events. Regular training of peer reviewers using several different educational methods was thought essential in enhancing or maintaining their skills. Involvement of the participants in the development of the feedback instrument and the peer review system was highly valued and motivating. Conclusions  Acting as a peer reviewer is perceived by this group of GPs to be an important professional duty. However, the difficulties, emotions and tensions they experience when making professional judgements on aspects of colleagues' work need to be considered when developing a feasible and rigorous system of educational feedback. This is especially important if peer review is to facilitate the `external verification' of evidence for appraisal and governance.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Pope, Professor Lindsey
Authors: Mckay, J., Pope, L., Bowie, P., and Lough, M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences
Journal Name:Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
Journal Abbr.:J. eval. clin. prac.
ISSN (Online):1365-2753|

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