June 5, 2014

Question:        How many people would be ideal to participate in a collegial intervention and do you recommend that an administrative staff person sit in to take notes in order to prepare the follow-up paperwork?

ANSWER:        While there is no hard and fast rule, it generally is a good idea to have more than one person.  Two or three are usually best.  If there are more than three, it can put the person who is being “intervened upon” in a very defensive posture and is likely not to be helpful.

The same applies to having a person sit in to take notes.  When the whole tenor of the conversation is that this is a confidential discussion among colleagues, it can seem disingenuous and be disconcerting to have someone sit in to take notes.  However, often the support person has more experience in participating in collegial interventions than the leaders do because they rotate in and out of leadership positions, so sometimes it may be helpful.

It is not always possible, but we recommend drafting the follow-up letter that will be sent after the collegial intervention BEFORE the intervention takes place.  The process of writing the letter can help leaders plan for the intervention, determine their talking points and outline the changes in practice or behavior they would like to see going forward.  Of course, the letter should be modified to reflect the actual conversation before it is sent.

If you missed our webinar, Collegial Intervention:  Awkward and Uncomfortable – but Effective!, you can still obtain a recording of the webinar and all of its supporting documents, including:

  • Collegial intervention checklist to track the major issues that must be addressed in any effective collegial intervention, from planning to follow-up;
  •  Template follow-up letter to collegial intervention that ensures the meeting is documented in a way that helps the physician under review, facilitates future interventions if they are necessary, and also protects the physician leader if the need arises;
  • Policy on Practitioner Access to Confidential Files that grants Medical Staff members access to the various different types of information about them in their files – but in an appropriate manner;
  • Confidentiality and Non-Retaliation Agreement that helps to preserve the peer review privilege for confidential information and files – and prevent retaliation against individuals who may have reported a concern; and
  • Slides used during the webinar.