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A Standardized Peer Review Program Improves Assessment and Documentation of Child Sexual Abuse

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Date Published

This article presents a study that assessed the impact of interventions associated with ongoing expert peer review on the quality of child abuse medical providers’ written and photograph documentation in child sexual abuse cases.


Pediatricians participated in a HIPAA compliant blind peer review process on a web platform developed to provide the American Board of Pediatrics maintenance of certification. Participants submit sequential photograph and written documentation of child sexual abuse examinations over 1 year. Documentation includes genital examination descriptions and interpretation of findings. Reviewers evaluate the photographic quality and written documentation of examination findings utilizing a numerical rating system. Each case cycle is reviewed by one of four experts in child abuse who received training in a uniform evaluation process. Reviewers follow each case throughout three cycles of documentation, selecting from several interventions that have been customized to address the quality issues noted. The third and final cycle includes summary comments from the reviewer. Forty-one participants completed the program at the time these data were collected. A paired t test analysis of the combined scores of the three measures, such as Image Quality, Quality of Written Documentation, and Accuracy of Exam Interpretation, showed a statistically significant improvement (P < 0.001) between the first and last sets. In addition, each of the individual measures was statistically significant between the first and last case sets with a P value of <0.05 for each. The study concludes that peer review with interventions customized to address quality issues improved the quality of the assessment and documentation of child sexual abuse evaluations. (Publisher abstract provided)

Date Published: January 1, 2022