Richard R. Babb, MD
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Babb RR. Pseudoaccountability. Ann Intern Med. 2002;136:631. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-136-8-200204160-00015
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2002;136(8):631.
TO THE EDITOR:
Kassirer (1) writes that efforts by the medical profession to self-regulate its practices have been poor and uneven; he suggests turning the job over to an independent, disinterested, and outside group. Our experience with self-regulation leads us to a different conclusion.
The Palo Alto Medical Clinic is a multispecialty clinic with 240 physicians. To assure ourselves and the public that we provide the highest possible quality of care, we have established the following committees. Department heads and the professional affairs committee examine the work of each physician every 1 to 2 years by reviewing charts and questioning colleagues. Complaint files and incident reports are surveyed monthly. Each clinic physician meets with the chairperson of the professional affairs committee every 2 years, or more often if necessary after the annual or biannual review is concluded. The care review committee collects and disseminates information about medical errors in diagnosis, treatment, or preventive care. Reviewers meet with the involved physician in open discussion. Teaching points are then distributed throughout the clinic by e-mail and other presentations. The physician well-being committee monitors the emotional and physical health of all physicians. Anonymous concerns about burnout, drug or alcohol abuse, or any other illnesses are dealt with immediately. A full-time, nonphysician employee works closely with the above committee and is responsible for quality assurance throughout the clinic. He reports directly to the executive board.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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