Improving health care quality and patient safety through peer-to-peer assessment: demonstration project in two academic medical centers.
Patient safety approaches often draw from high reliability industries outside of health care. This implementation study described a peer-to-peer assessment program adapted from the nuclear power industry. Two academic medical centers assessed each other's patient safety performance. Each center examined its peer's prevention of central line–associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI), hand hygiene compliance, and overall safety culture as an organization. Peer-to-peer assessments were conducted via site visits, which involved interviews and direct observation. They resulted in rapid practice changes such as dissemination of unit-specific CLABSI rates and central line procedure audits. The process was widely accepted by leaders and frontline staff at both sites. The authors contend that peer-to-peer assessment is feasible and has potential to improve patient safety.