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Why Manual Case Preparation for Peer Review Is Hurting Your Clinic

A growing number of centers understand that simply reviewing screenshots of the plan within a report is an insufficient method to detect all potential plan issues. Unfortunately, while striving for better peer review, these centers still struggle to identify, organize, and display the plan data in their treatment planning system and the demographic information stored in the oncology information system or electronic medical record. Both sets of data are clearly necessary to perform a robust peer review.

In many instances, the tedious preparation duty within these systems falls upon the shoulders of one or a few team members who have to stay in the clinic late or come in early to make sure the peer review meeting runs smoothly. Largely, their work is unseen by others. In the age of automation, is this manual preparation necessary? What downstream effects occur because of this manual preparation? Finally, how can the preparation for peer review be improved for everyone? Let’s dive in.

Building a Case List

First in the preparation process is the task of identifying which cases will be reviewed in that week’s peer review meeting. Some centers have only one weekly peer review meeting. Others, especially larger centers, have more than one weekly peer review meeting. Some simply do not want to conduct peer review in a meeting at all. Instead, they would rather perform peer review offline between two physicians.

In the scenario where the center has multiple weekly peer review meetings, how simple is it to split these cases up and ensure the correct physician is present to introduce their case? If the goal is to conduct offline peer review, how simple is it to organize reviews so that a single physician is not always reviewing the same physician’s plans?

The common feedback provided by those responsible for preparing for these peer review activities is that building a case list is not efficient or straightforward. Also, it must be kept in mind that cases are usually added to the meeting last minute. While most centers have a process in place that allows them to have a peer review meeting, is keeping the staff in the clinic late or taking them away from other clinical duties an ideal answer for productivity and employee satisfaction? Certainly not.

You’ve Reached Your Limit

Next up in the preparation process is setting up all cases for a consistent peer review. Many centers have identified a process to pull this off. However, all of the proposed solutions have potential issues downstream.

First, treatment planning systems can only open a certain number of cases before the machine runs out of memory. Usually, that limit is less than the number of cases that need to be reviewed in the weekly peer review meeting. To avoid this issue, some centers, at the expense of other vital clinical duties, will preload as many cases as possible ahead of the meeting.

For these cases, the team member responsible for preparation has the opportunity to adjust layouts and ensure all plan data is present. The reviews of these cases are usually optimal. However, if cases need to be loaded during the meeting, then layouts need to be adjusted, data is sometimes missing, and momentum is lost. From that point forward, the meeting begins to fall apart. Both the time available for the remaining reviews and the quality of review for those non-preloaded cases suffer. For centers that do not preload any cases, the need to adjust layouts and find missing data on-the-fly is an all too common problem as well.

Some centers have decided the best way to avoid the aforementioned issues is to have another colleague help out during the meeting. While one team member is controlling the mouse for the current case, a colleague in the background prepares the next case, and then the roles switch. As seen with the case list example above, taking a team member away from other clinical duties, such as planning, is not an adequate solution. Adding another resource to help facilitate the peer review meeting only serves to keep things moving, but does not address the underlying problems. In short, this is an expensive workaround.

Find Systems That Automate Case Preparation

The automation of case preparation for peer review meetings or offline review is the best way to solve the problems outlined above. The current systems in place for peer review do not help your bottom line and hinder employee satisfaction. Thankfully, there are solutions dedicated to peer review available.

Centers are rolling out MIM Harmony® to first automate the assignment of cases for peer review meeting(s) and for offline review. Second, the platform automatically applies a standardized layout and ensures both the plan data and demographic information are already present for a robust, three-dimensional review. With MIM Harmony, the time required to prepare for peer review activities is greatly reduced, and only one team member is needed to facilitate a meeting. By leveraging available technology, your staff can spend more time on tasks that improve the quality of care, and your patients will reap the benefit of a higher quality peer review.

Jeff Kuhn
Written by Jeff Kuhn

Jeff Kuhn is a Senior Account Executive at MIM Software. Jeff works hand-in-hand with centers across the country to revamp and improve their current peer review processes to improve patient care. He has been a key contributor to the development of MIM Harmony.

You can visit him online at

MIM Software Inc.

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