Ethics are a very important component of a plastic surgery peer review. It is important that the physician provides an objective opinion based off medical evidence and impartial to the desires of the party requesting the peer review. Dr. Zaydon, who is experienced at writing plastic surgery peer reviews, takes the subject of ethics very seriously. Read more about the importance of ethics.
A plastic surgery peer review is usually requested when someone is not sure – or does not agree with – a medical opinion. There are several situations in which this may occur. One example is when an insurance company is not sure if the treating physician’s diagnosis or recommendations are accurate. In this scenario, they may request a peer review to see if another (independent) physician agrees or not. Another example is in Workers’ Compensation cases, usually with regards to liability. The typical question is: “What was the major contributing cause of the patient’s condition?” The doctor conducting the peer review would then review the medical records and decide if the major contributing cause was the work-related accident or other factors.
The main difference between a plastic surgery peer review and a plastic surgery Independent Medical Examination (IME) is that for a peer review the doctor is not required to see the patient. In other words, there is no in-person medical examination of the patient. The review is based purely on the patient’s medical records.
As mentioned above, peer reviews are very common in workers’ compensation cases, most often to determine liability. They may be requested by both the defense (employer / insurance carrier) and the plaintiff (patient). In some cases, when the opinions of the treating physician and the physician conducting the peer review are at odds, other opinions may be requested, usually in the form of an Independent Medical Evaluation or the opinion of an Expert Medical Advisor.
A good plastic surgery peer review will answer all the questions provided by the party ordering the peer review. Importantly, it should only answer these questions and not answer other questions (which may create unnecessary confusion). Furthermore, the physician should make it clear, in a logical manner, how he/she has come to his/her conclusions. It is also good practice for the physician to state his/her experience and qualifications in the area of medicine in question.