Looking Back on 2019

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Dr. Peeter Poldre
Photo: Claudia Hung

Dear Colleagues, by the time you read this message, my term as President of the CPSO will have come to an end. I am struck by how quickly the year passed and how much the Council, the leadership and the staff at the College accomplished during this time.

The recent editions of Dialogue have provided detailed highlights of the achievements that were informed by significant input from patients and the public and from members of the profession, both individually and through the Ontario Medical Association.

And moving forward, the strategic plan that we developed with its five priorities — Quality Care, Meaningful Engagement, System Collaboration, Continuous Improvement and Right-Touch Regulation — will serve as the touchstones by which we will evaluate our progress. Whenever I had the privilege of interacting with physician and patient groups, I challenged myself to be mindful of how I contributed to our priorities.

One of my personal highlights as President was attending convocations and formally welcoming hundreds of new graduates to our profession.

This past year’s policy redesign initiative made a major contribution to the role of the College as a coach and mentor to physicians by significantly increasing the clarity and the quality of those tools (while substantially reducing the length of all policies!)

And the nascent proactive Quality Improvement approach, with its focus on on-going practice improvement and self-guided learning, with coaching and support from the College where needed, is another example of the College’s evolution.

One of my personal highlights as President was attending convocations and formally welcoming hundreds of new graduates to our profession. I firmly believe that early awareness of the various roles of the College will benefit those entering the profession and the patients they serve. To that end, we gave the leaders of the Ontario Medical Students’ Association and the Professional Association of Residents of Ontario official standing as front-row observers of Council’s meetings. The College is also implementing a New Member Orientation program to better assist new doctors in understanding the mandate of medical regulation, and their responsibilities within it as members of the profession.

Our newest physicians are a source of hope for health care in Ontario. They have been educated with many modern methods, such as simulation to acquire skills and a strong grounding in patient-centered care and the benefits of inter-professional collaboration. In their private lives, they are skilled as digital communicators, keyboarding on smartphones for virtually every activity. Yet they enter a health-care system that is much less technologically adroit. As we developed our Continuity of Care policies, we were faced with the reality that Ontario lags behind so many other regions in the developed world as it relates to e-Health. A fully integrated electronic medical record would enable the communications and connectivity that is essential for continuity of care, so that patients, their personal caregivers, and all health-care professionals can literally be on the same electronic page.

Over the past year, our Registrar and CEO, Dr. Nancy Whitmore has put in place a number of important and ambitious changes. But there is still work to do. While Council has approved some governance changes that are within our purview, we await many legislative changes that will significantly enhance our ability to serve in the public interest.

It has been a cherished honour to serve as the 150th president of the College and I look forward to continuing my contributions to the College as Chair of the Governance Committee and as a member of the Executive and Discipline Committees. I owe my sincerest thanks to my public member and physician colleagues on Council, to the leadership team members and to the dedicated College staff who, every day, make a positive difference for the patients of Ontario.