Peer review is a system by which peers with similar areas of expertise and licensure assess the care of a provider, using accepted practice standards and guidelines. Peer review of physical therapist services offers a framework to evaluate the processes, necessity, and, appropriateness of those services. Peer review can:
- Identify the need for performance improvement
- Provide instructive feedback to physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs)
- Identify best practices in documentation, patient and client management, and methods to improve care
- Decrease unwarranted variation in practice
- Improve outcomes through increased patient and client satisfaction
APTA's position is that physical therapists are the preferred peer reviewers of physical therapist services. Peer Review of Physical Therapy Services (HOD P06-04-16-15) states:
"Peer review of physical therapy services is provided only by physical therapists who possess an active license without sanctions to practice physical therapy. ...APTA is opposed to any activities related to peer review that may adversely impact a physical therapist's plan of care or intervention without the involvement of a physical therapist peer reviewer..."
There are basically 2 types of peer review: Internal and external. Internal peer review is a review a physical therapist performs on his or her own service provision or on peers within the same facility or practice. External peer review is a review performed by a physical therapist external to the facility, clinic, or practice of the PT or PTA being reviewed.
The following resources are intended to provide guidance and can help you learn how to perform physical therapy peer review, which will move the profession toward achieving APTA's position.
Become familiar with peer review, include terminology, internal vs external peer review, and the important first step of self-assessment. These resources will help you understand the value of peer review to the profession and to the PT or PTA being reviewed.
Before performing peer review on others, it is important that you perform a self-assessment to reflect on your strengths and areas for improvement. Download APTA's Self-Assessment Form (.doc). You can use this form as you review the peer review resources to determine the areas where you may need to focus.
Online Peer Review Course
This online educational program is developed for physical therapists. It provides an overview of peer review, the components of peer review, and the role of internal peer review in practice. (CEUs: 0.50 (5.0 contact hours/CCUs))