A Modern Approach to Lifelong Learning

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The College recently launched our brand new Quality Improvement program for all physicians in Ontario. The program is a complete refresh for us, modernizing our approach to quality improvement by providing physicians with the tools they need to continuously assess and improve their practice.

In transforming the program, we’ve moved from “a single point in time” assessment model to one that provides various opportunities for lifelong learning.

“We knew it was time to build an accessible quality improvement platform reflective of the way physicians work and the needs they have,” said Dr. Sheila Laredo, CPSO’s Chief Medical Advisor.

In developing this new program, the core principles were clear:

  • Change the philosophy of assessment to focus on continuous improvement
  • Use of a platform that supports and integrates with physician needs and practice demands
  • Strengthening practice with a proactive approach that facilitates interaction and self-reflection

To make this possible, the CPSO created, a new fully online platform where physicians participate in self-directed quality improvement.

The Pilot

Late last year, we piloted the program with more than 200 Ontario physicians, who volunteered their time to test these new tools. Along the way, the volunteers developed a practice profile for themselves, took part in a self-guided chart review, and looked at data about their own practice to reflect on their delivery of health care.

At the end of the pilot, more than 85% of participants described the QI tools as a valuable resource for identifying areas of continuous improvement.

The Launch

With the pilot complete, we kicked off in early March. Over the next three months, hundreds of physicians completed the exercises and submitted a practice improvement plan. This will not just fulfill their Quality Assurance requirements for the next five years but represent a thoughtful self-reflection on their work.

“With the launch of the program and the opportunity it represents to support a profession already dedicated to lifelong learning and improvement, we are showing Ontario’s doctors that the CPSO is here to work hand in hand with them,” said Registrar/CEO Dr. Nancy Whitmore.

The Program

The program is operated through a new online Learning Management System, developed by CPSO to engage physicians in quality improvement. This learning module has been tailored to fit our new philosophy around quality management: that it should be self-directed and focus on physicians reflecting on their own delivery of health care, looking at data about their practices in relation to their peers and the standards of practice, and developing improvement plans that will help strengthen the great work they’re already doing.

The quality improvement program is comprised of multiple parts. Here is an overview of each:

The QI Survey is a questionnaire that will provide the College with current, detailed information about a practice. The information disclosed will be used by QI program staff to better understand a physician’s practice and may be used in combination with the Practice Improvement Plan to assist in implementing ongoing quality improvement.

The Practice Profile is an independent self-assessment designed to educate physicians about the evidence-based risk and support factors that could impact their practice. The Practice Profile’s aim is to provide resources to help reduce risk and enhance positive practice.

The Self-Guided Chart Review allows physicians to engage in self-guided learning to enhance their compliance with the CPSO’s Medical Records Documentation policy. This self-directed chart review will engage physicians in both self-reflection and talking with their peers when developing a practice improvement plan.

The Data-Driven Quality Improvement tool is designed to get physicians looking at their own practice data to reflect on how they deliver health care to their patients and to identify opportunities for improvement.

The Practice Improvement Plan is to be completed by physicians. In their Practice Improvement Plans, physicians will identify areas of strength and areas for potential improvement in their practice. After the completion of this activity, the practice improvement plan will be reviewed by a physician QI coach.

One-on-one Coaching will be available where appropriate. QI coaches will offer the necessary knowledge, skills and tools to coach physicians as they complete the various tools in the program and develop their own practice improvement plans.

Here is some of what we heard:

“On the whole, it was a very worthwhile experience and made me honestly reflect on my practice and future plans to practice safely. I would recommend it to anyone and would gladly partake again.”

“Now that this is done, I would like to thank you for your responsiveness and the excellent service you personally provided.”

“I am glad to be part of it; it was quite a learning experience with a great opportunity for self-reflection.”

“It was quite insightful on ways that I could help myself as well as my patients.”

 “Helped me structure some of my goals and set timelines / develop strategies for changes so that they were more concrete, rather just ideas that have been floating around in the back of my head.”

Do you have thoughts about this new approach?

Let us know by emailing us at [email protected]. We’d love to hear what you think!

We want to hear from you

This is a very new approach for us, moving away from the traditional in-person peer assessment module to one that is much more self-directed and evidence-driven, using data and technology to engage physicians in how they practise medicine every day and working together with them to embed the principles of lifelong learning.