Working within the statutory requirements established for all Health Regulatory Colleges in Ontario; the College views its Quality Assurance Programs as a means of supporting members in maintaining their knowledge and skills throughout their careers. While adhering to the rigorous legislative requirements, the College’s Quality Assurance Programs have been designed to be supportive rather than investigative. Whenever participation in Quality Assurance leads to the identification of the need for remediation; information about this remains confidential as member-specific information about Quality Assurance involvement is not publicly available.
Peer Assisted Reviews
Physical distancing measures necessary to decrease the spread of COVID-19 led to the postponement of in-person Peer Assisted Reviews (PAR) in March 2020, almost two years ago. Beginning at that time, the College had given those selected to participate in a PAR, the choice to participate in the Review virtually, or to defer it until it could be conducted in-person, after the threat of transmission of the virus subsided.
In the public interest, and in compliance with the College’s Quality Assurance Regulation to conduct Peer Assisted Reviews, the Quality Assurance Committee has carefully considered how to address the significant, two-year backlog of reviews that has developed. The Committee has made the difficult decision to require all members selected for review to participate via technology. Requests for further deferrals for reasons related to the pandemic will be considered on an individual basis but will only be granted in exceptional circumstances. As with all Quality Assurance matters, College staff will help to ensure the secure transmission of information, to those who require it.
The Committee made this decision with the knowledge that nine members had chosen to participate in their PAR virtually, since the beginning of the pandemic, and these all went very smoothly. It also considered that over the past two years, most members have adapted successfully to interacting virtually. To date, most members notified that they are required to participate in the PAR process and that this will be done virtually, have indicated their understanding.
Members are only required to submit their full, completed Self-Assessment Guide (SAG) if they do not meet the deadline for making their Declaration of Completion of the Quality Assurance self-assessment requirements.
During the last quarter, October 2021 to December 2021, the Quality Assurance Committee reviewed 11 completed SAGs provided by members who did not submit their Declaration on time and did not qualify for an extension of the deadline. Extensions were provided to a small number of members, all in recognition of their exceptional circumstances. Of the 11 reviews conducted to date, six members appeared to have met all of the self-assessment requirements. In the remaining five matters, the Committee requested further information before it could complete the reviews. Issues identified in these outstanding matters were related to whether members were practicing with their authorized populations (2), the specificity of CPD goals identified (2), and unanswered questions in the SAG (4).
Continuing Professional Development Audits
The Quality Assurance Committee conducts audits of member participation in the mandatory Continuing Professional Development program. Members are selected at random to participate in the CPD audit. In addition, audits are conducted on all members who did not meet the deadline for submitting their Declaration of Completion, unless they demonstrated that they had been prevented from doing so due to exceptional circumstances.
During the last quarter, 11 CPD audits were completed. In nine cases, the Committee judged that the members had completed all requirements successfully. In two cases members received remedial messages concerning the need for improved documentation of CPD activities. In two additional matters, members who provided their CPD records were asked to provide further information to the Committee as the original information provided was insufficient to establish whether the CPD requirements had been met and whether the CPD activities reported were completed within the relevant time period.
During this quarter, one member was referred to the Inquiries, Complaints, and Reports Committee for apparent lack of compliance with the Quality Assurance Program.