As adapted in HL7, a peer review can be used by HL7 Work Groups and committees to perform quality assurance on artifacts and solicit additional input. The purpose of the peer review is to help encourage a more complete review without necessarily going through the rigor of a complete ballot process. The review can also cover "partial" or incomplete artifacts
Peer Reviews can be scheduled outside the ballot review schedule to avoid “ballot fatigue.” Some Work Groups have used the Peer Review process to ready the content so their ballots passed in single cycle.
Peer Reviews involves up to 6 steps:
1. An artifact is produced to a level that is deemed to be "as complete as possible without review" or ready for review outside the authoring group. For example:
- A task force group solicits input from the sponsoring Work Group
- A sponsoring Work Group solicits input from other co-sponsoring Work Groups for specific project artifact deliverables
2. Upon agreement from the respective Work Group the author of the artifact distributes the artifact, together with the announcement and a peer review form; multiple options for the peer review comment collection are available.
- Optionally, the author can schedule a Question & Answer (Q&A) meeting scheduled to walk through the artifact or otherwise assist reviewers in their review
- The announcement includes the review period and instructions for posting comments.
3. Reviewers go through the artifact identifying issues and concerns, capturing each one as a distinct row in the peer review form
- The peer review form is similar to a ballot comment spreadsheet, but with less information and not subject to formal reconciliation requirements
4. Reviewers submit their peer review forms as directed in the announcement; forms must be submitted by the submission deadline.
5. The author(s) reviews the peer review forms, identifying proposed dispositions (accepted, rejected, clarification)
6. The author(s) finalizes the Peer Review by either:
- Scheduling a Peer review call to lead the Work Group (and other reviewers) in a walkthrough of the review comments, confirming resolutions, answering questions, identifying rationale for rejections, etc.
- Applying comments to the artifact and publishing the next version. The subsequent version may be ready for another round of Peer Review, possibly widening the targeted reviewers, or submitted for ballot with concurrence of the sponsoring Work Group.