MD Snapshot-Prescribing

A tool for self-reflection, to improve physician prescribing awareness and support good patient care.

What is MD Snapshot-Prescribing?

MD Snapshot-Prescribing is an interactive tool, providing physicians with relevant and timely information about their opioid, opioid-naïve, benzodiazepine/z-drug and antibiotic prescribing.

Customized for each recipient and produced quarterly, MD Snapshot-Prescribing is available through an interactive environment in the Analytics section of your secure, online Portal. There are many features to explore, including long-term trending, customizable comparator groups, easy-to-access resources and more.

What is the intent of MD Snapshot-Prescribing?

MD Snapshot-Prescribing is a tool prescribers can use to:

  • Increase prescribing awareness
  • Identify opportunities to optimize prescribing and, ultimately, patient care
  • Support individual physicians in self-directed, continuous quality improvement (CQI)

MD Snapshot-Prescribing is not:

  • Punitive—individualized prescribing information is provided to support self-reflection and for use, as desired, in practice improvement
  • A report card—percentiles are a statistical measure, not grades or judgements, and included peer comparisons should be interpreted within the context of individual physician practices

What is the data source for MD Snapshot-Prescribing?

MD Snapshot-Prescribing contains patient-level prescribing data and details on how it relates to clinical practice guidelines.

Alberta’s Tracked Prescription Program (TPP-Alberta) facilitates collecting and using data on select drugs and drug classes such as opioids, benzodiazepine/z-drugs and antibiotics.

Alberta Netcare/Pharmaceutical Information Network (PIN) is the primary data source for TPP-Alberta and MD Snapshot-Prescribing. However, the data we have access to via PIN is limited. For example, we do not have access to diagnostic information.

In addition to MD Snapshot, the data collected is also used for the TPP Antibiotic Prescription Atlas and the TPP Opioid and Benzodiazepine/Z-drug Atlas.

Continuing Medical Education credits

Reviewing MD Snapshot-Prescribing qualifies for Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits:

  • Claim non-certified Mainpro+ credits under the College of Family Physicians of Canada’s assessment category. A Linking Learning exercise can also be completed for an additional 5 Mainpro+ certified credits. Visit to find out more.
  • Members of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada can claim MOC Section 3 credits. Learn more at

Did you know a Linking Learning exercise can earn you 5 Mainpro+ certified credits?

Linking Learning exercise example

Select 5 to 10 patients and for each of them, ask yourself the following:

  1. Is the therapy indicated and appropriate?
  2. Are there safer pharmaceutical and/or non-pharmaceutical options available?
  3. Can I further optimize prescribing for my patient?

Peer comparisons

Peer comparison data is also included in MD Snapshot‐Prescribing to provide an additional perspective.

Physicians are assigned to the comparison group containing their primary specialty, self-reported on their annual Renewal Information Form (RIF).

Physicians who belong to a Primary Care Network (PCN) can also select PCN as their specialty group to see prescribing information relative to other physicians in their network.

Peer comparison functionality applies to all three drug categories.

MD Snapshot-Prescribing FAQs

To see more FAQs about Prescribing, click on All FAQs and filter by "Prescribing"

All FAQs

Why does CPSA provide MD Snapshot-Prescribing?

We believe in supporting physicians through collaboration and providing tools that enable practice improvement, and MD Snapshot-Prescribing is one such tool. We hope your Prescribing Snapshot allows for meaningful self-reflection that increases your prescribing awareness and allows you to optimize care for your patients.

Why were antibiotics added to the MD Snapshot-Prescribing?

Antibiotics are not without risk. They can cause adverse effects, medical complications (e.g., C. difficile infections), antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and even negative social impacts decreased patient quality of life. AMR means losing access to essential treatments, turning everyday infections into complicated, life-threatening illnesses.

Any use of antibiotics can contribute to AMR, but over-prescribing or inappropriate use can accelerate it. Therefore, everyone needs to do their part and use antibiotics wisely.

Over 90% of all human antimicrobial consumption occurs in the community setting. Many of these prescriptions are for viral conditions that do not require an antibiotic.

The TPP Alberta Antibiotic Prescription Atlas shows that physicians prescribed 78% of all oral antibiotic prescriptions in 2020. The Snapshot offers an opportunity to reflect on your antibiotic prescribing and make practice changes if warranted.

What do I do if there are people in my prescribing profile who are not my patients?

The dispensing information in PIN is entered manually at the community pharmacy level. While it’s rare, manual data input increases the risk of errors. If you notice an error on your MD Snapshot-Prescribing, please let us know by emailing, so we can connect with the dispensing pharmacy about record correction.

How should I review MD Snapshot-Prescribing?

There are several things you can do to get the most out of your prescribing profile:

  • Read the whole thing. In addition to your personalized prescribing data, there is information on patients on multiple medications and/or receiving prescriptions from multiple prescribers.
  • Review and reflect on your prescribing. Ask yourself what is working well in your practice and what you might need to modify. MD Snapshot‐Prescribing is a tool of self-reflection—your data is just one of many factors (patient, clinical and system) that impact your prescribing practice. Consider the information in your Snapshot within the context of your practice.
  • Talk to your peers. Ask what has worked well for them and their patients. You may be able to help each other.
  • Take advantage of our resources. To help you improve your practice, we have helpful links, additional information, support material and clinical resources available in our Resource bank.
  • Claim Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits. Review your Prescribing Snapshot and claim uncertified Mainpro+ credits under the College of Family Physicians of Canada’s (CFPC) Assessment category. You can also complete a Linking Learning exercise to earn five Mainpro+ certified credits. Members of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) can claim MOC Section 3 credits. For details, refer to our Continuing Medical Education document.
  • Begin a Physician Practice Improvement Program (PPIP) activity. MD Snapshot-Prescribing can be used as your source of objective data in PPIP’s practice-driven quality improvement activity. More information is available on our website.

How are MD Snapshot-Prescribing indicators determined?

They are informed by guidelines, evidence of risk and best practice recommendations. To learn more, please visit the MD Snapshot-Prescribing page on CPSA’s website.

What peer group am I compared against?

Your comparator group is based on the specialty information you provided in your most recent Renewal Information Form (RIF).

If you are a member of a Primary Care Network (PCN), you can also review information on your opioid, benzodiazepine/z-drug and antibiotic prescribing practices comparative to the other physicians in your PCN. This offers a reflection on your prescribing relative to colleagues with the most similar practice environment to yours (acknowledging there will still be some variations in practice, such as part‐time versus full‐time practice, patient complexities, etc.).

Where can I find resources to support me in my prescribing?

Good prescribing practices begin with a good education. We frequently update our tools and resources to bring you the best and latest information, support best practices and help you deliver the safest and most effective patient care possible.

Questions or comments? We can help.

Phone: 780-969-4972
Toll-free: 1-800-561-3899 Ext. 4972 (in Canada)

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