A Literature Review of Peer Review Models in Healthcare

Axel Kaehne, Tom Simcock, Daniel Onochie

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

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NHS England monitors the quality of all specialised commissioned and cancer services in England. The Quality Surveillance Team (QST), as part of the wider Quality Assurance Improvement Framework (QAIF), plays a key part in assessing the quality of those services.QST uses peer reviews visits of clinical teams as part of its quality assurance processes. At the moment, QST are assessing the effectiveness of its peer review processes and have commissioned the Unit for Evaluation & Policy Analysis at Edge Hill University to conduct a literature review to investigate the evidence base of the current models of peer review.The literature review revealed five domains of peer review programmes as reflected in published academic studies. Four of these domains cover the aims and objectives of peer review (the ‘what’); the intervention itself (the ‘how’), the theory of intervention (the ‘why should it work’) and the staff involved in the process (the ‘who’). In addition, we summarise the methodological and evaluative evidence of the existing evidence in the ‘research’ category outlining how studies so far have investigated peer review programmes and what the implications are for future studies.The report concludes that the efficacy of peer review processes remain poorly evidenced, mainly due to their complex nature and a lack of clearly articulated logics of intervention.Given the plurality of approaches in the field, a key requirement of future research and evaluation is the development of robust models of change or logics of programme impact which can then be tested and allows programme makers to refine peer review processes.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationOrmskirk, UK
PublisherEdge Hill University
Commissioning bodyNHS England Quality Surveillance Team
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2019


  • QST
  • review processes
  • literature review


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