The Influence of Relationship-Centered Coaching on Physician Perceptions of Peer Review in the Context of Mandated Regulatory Practices

Sherylyn Arabsky, Nadya Castro, Michael Murray, Ioana Bisca, Kevin W Eva
Academic Medicine 2020 August 4

PURPOSE: Medical regulatory authorities are legally mandated to protect patients by monitoring the practice of medicine. While principally a matter of public safety, many pursue this mission by establishing quality improvement initiatives that prioritize professional development for all rather than identification of substandard performers. Engaging practitioners in directed learning opportunities, however, is rife with challenge given inherent social complexities. This study was run to explore whether relationship-centered coaching could improve physicians' perceptions of the value of engaging with College-mandated peer review.

METHOD: A quasi-experimental analysis was performed on physician ratings of the effectiveness of peer assessor interactions and assessment processes during three time periods: (1) An historical control (March 2016-December 2016; n = 296); (2) A period after assessors were trained to deliver feedback using relationship-centered coaching (December 2016-March 2017; n = 96); and (3) After physicians were given more capacity to choose patient records for peer review and engage in discussion about multisource feedback results (March 2017-December 2018; n = 448).

RESULTS: Psychometric analyses supported the aggregation of survey items into assessor interaction and assessment process subscores. Training assessors to engage in relationship-centered coaching was related with higher assessor interaction scores (4.64 vs 4.47; P < .05; d = 0.37). Assessment process scores did not increase until after additional program enhancements were made in period 3 (4.33 vs 4.17, P < .05, d = 0.29).

CONCLUSIONS: Despite peer interactions being inherently stressful for physicians when they occur in the context of regulatory authority visits, efforts to establish a quality improvement culture that prioritizes learning can improve physicians' perceptions of peer review.

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