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Medical Matters: Reflection as an essential tool for progress

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December Messenger 2023, From the Registrar, Medical Matters | Posted December 14, 2023
Read time: 3 minutesDec202

By Dr. Scott McLeod, CPSA Registrar & CEO

As we approach the end of another impactful year in health care, I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to each of you for your unwavering dedication to your patients and your steadfast commitment to upholding the highest standards of care.

The year’s end serves as more than just a chronological milestone; it is an opportunity to look back on our collective achievements and gather learnings from the challenges we’ve faced. At the heart of our regulatory work lies a core principle: that reflection is an essential tool for progress. Just as we expect our regulated members to reflect on and engage in continuous quality improvement, our team at CPSA has also spent much of the year identifying and implementing changes to foster a culture of continuous improvement and innovation.

We began the year by launching a five-year pilot project to condense the Practice Readiness Assessment (PRA) process for international medical graduates (IMGs) with training comparable to that obtained in Canadian universities. Shortening the assessment process for eligible applicants from six months to three allows IMGs to begin independently practising in their identified communities faster, while still ensuring patient safety is the top priority. Since launching the pilot in January, 154 candidates within this stream have received a letter of eligibility. While we are still in the early stages of the pilot, CPSA is very pleased to see the uptake in applications, reflecting an increased desire to practise in Alberta. We look forward to seeing how this project progresses through 2027.

If you’ve contacted CPSA recently, whether to inquire about the PRA pilot project or for any other reason, you may have noticed a change in how we field inquiries from regulated members and patients. Rather than reaching out to a specific department area within CPSA, all inquiries are now directed to our Customer Experience (CX) Team. I’m pleased to share that October 2023 officially marked one year since initiating the CPSA CX Hub and, since its inception, the CX Hub has successfully managed 96% of inquiries end-to-end. In that time, 17,375 new inquiries were received with approximately 70% coming in by phone and 30% by email. The CX Team has been able to resolve 61% of inquiries within five hours and 76% of all inquiries within 24 hours. We recognized an opportunity to improve our communication and support for regulated members and patients, and I truly believe our new approach has been immensely successful thus far.

Towards the end of this year, I have spent a significant amount of time engaged in presentations and discussions around innovation, specifically, artificial intelligence. CPSA is the only medical regulatory authority in Canada with a dedicated Analytics, Innovation & Research (AIR) department, keeping us up-to-speed on industry changes and innovation in health care. In November, CPSA’s AIR department collaborated with the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) to co-host an artificial intelligence symposium under the theme “Innovation, safety, and AI: Developing regulatory & medico-legal approaches to AI in Canadian healthcare.” We discussed the safe and responsible deployment of AI in health care, examined the current regulatory environment from a lens of patient safety and determined ways to avoid inadvertently acting as barriers to innovation.

Although this is just a small sampling of the work that has taken place over the past year, I welcome these opportunities to reflect on what we’ve learned and how far we’ve come. I want to extend my heartfelt appreciation to CPSA Council for their oversight and direction, and to my colleagues, whose dedication, passion and hard work have been essential in bringing these projects to life. I would also be remiss not to acknowledge the collaboration, support and feedback we have received from regulated members, which has been fundamental in shaping our initiatives. Your efforts are instrumental in ensuring patient safety and advancing the quality of health care delivery in Alberta.

I’d like to leave you with one final note of reflection: While you’re caring for others, please don’t forget to take care of yourselves during this inevitably busy time and the year ahead.

On behalf of everyone at CPSA, I wish you and yours a safe and healthy holiday season.


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