Benefits of a Peer Review

Peer review is an ongoing process that is required by most accrediting organizations and generally involves review of a clinical encounter, either through direct observation of a clinical visit or a review of the health record. The clinical staff or a peer review committee determines the critical questions or quality indicators to measure. A similarly trained clinician rates the peer and provides feedback regarding performance strengths and areas of potential improvement. Ideally, the peer review process should emphasize positive staff development and skill-building, instead of a punitive approach to feedback. 

It can benefit a campus health or wellness center to undergo a review by experts to determine strengths, weaknesses, and areas for change. A campus may find itself at a crossroads due to a leadership change or in need of guidance when updating to its strategic plan. Campus expansions may also necessitate a review of how the campus is meeting    the health needs of its students. Additionally, campuses contemplating outsourcing of services, creating a more collaborative health and wellness service, or a change in the health/wellness center revenue source may wish to seek outside advice to better navigate these transitions while maintaining or enhancing the services for students.  

Even campuses that are not experiencing any of the above can utilize an expert review to determine areas for improvement. As campus demographics and best practices change, health and wellness services need to be prepared to make adjustments, and gaining insight from an external review can ease this process. Some institutions require periodic external review or various campus departments as a matter of course.

Topics commonly addressed in an external review include:

  • Staffing structure
  • Funding and revenue sources
  • Accreditation preparedness
  • Collaborative or integrated delivery systems (health, wellness, counseling, health promotion)
  • Mental health services
  • Leadership structure
  • Management issues
  • General health and wellness services assessment
  • Modernization and technology
  • Facilities design and utilization
  • Student health insurance plans
  • Statistical consultation and custom reports
  • Outsourcing

The American College Health Association offers peer review through its College Health and Wellness program. The consultant team consists of expert college health and wellness center leaders with a range of expertise and from a variety of institutions that align with the diversity of campus size and type. What to Expect: 

A typical consultation through ACHA involves the following:

  • A discovery call to determine specific needs and collect relevant background information. 
  • From there, ACHA provides a consulting proposal that includes the mutually-agreed-upon scope of work and the fee for services. 
  • Depending on your needs, ACHA will arrange for two to three hand-picked consultants to visit your campus for a two-day visit. 
  • Before the site visit the consultants will prepare by reviewing relevant documents (annual reports, budgets, clinic visit totals, staffing plans, campus environmental assessments, etc.).
  • During the site visit, the consultants will tour facilities and interview key stakeholders (including students when applicable). 

Because our consultants are current or former student health center experts at all levels, they understand how delicate these interviews can be and take care to approach them in a sensitive manner. The result is an objective and informed report outlining key findings and recommendations to help you both plan for the future and make immediate changes. Consults are competitively priced.