The Ethics of External Peer Review
William R. Oliver MD MS MPA
ABSTRACT: External peer review can be useful part of a quality improvement program. However, it can also be used for political and punitive purposes. The distinction between potentially useful and damaging review is largely an issue of the ethics of how it is done. The ethics of external peer review lie not only in the process itself, but also in the role of the pathologists performing the review. While there are many ethical issues involved in the external peer review, the most important may be a dedication to due process, allowing the pathologist under review to respond to allegations, and a insistence on complete information prior to drawing conclusions. Well established criteria for external of negligence or incompetence, but also for the reviewers against accusations of bad faith.