How Many Doctors Will Tell About The Incompetence Of Colleagues – Part 3 of 3
Although the study authors stated that “peer monitoring and reporting are the prime mechanisms for identifying physicians whose knowledge, skills, or attitudes are compromised,” the author of an accompanying column pointed out that there are other checks in place and that the situation may not be so dire. “The hope that doctors will turn each other in for poor quality care is just one of the ways that we track quality,” said Dr Matthew K. Wynia, gaffer of the AMA’s Institute for Ethics, who stressed that he wasn’t defending the doctors who haven’t reported impaired colleagues. “Professionalism doesn’t work perfectly but this isn’t the only way in which we track modest quality. We’ve got a lot of other things we’re doing these days”.
For instance, doctors have to take tests to demonstrate competency every 10 years and maintain their certification process. Decades ago, before such checks were in place, “this muse about would have been a lot more concerning”.
Nor should “we turn our backs on professionalism,” Wynia said, given that there are other means of keeping track of how colleagues are performing, such as relying on patient reports. “Medical care is very complicated and this shows there are weaknesses which in one admire are startling and disturbing, but in other respects show that doctors are human beings. We should know that and we should build in redundancies to our systems for quality monitoring and that’s what we’re doing”. Wynia stated that he was not speaking on behalf of the AMA.