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January Messenger 2023 | Posted January 19, 2023
Read time: 3 minutes

How CPSA is working with partners to align CPD and CME with PPIP

When CPSA launched the Physician Practice Improvement Program (PPIP) in 2020, it was with the knowledge that most of our members are already engaging in work geared towards quality improvement (QI). Whether it’s involvement in a larger-scale project at the systems level, or a smaller improvement initiative within one’s practice, the outcome is ultimately the same: improved, high-quality patient care.

As part of PPIP’s development and continued evolution as CPSA’s QI program, we have been working internally behind the scenes and in collaboration with external partners to align PPIP’s requirements with what national certifying bodies—the College of Family Physicians of Canada’s Mainpro+ and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada’s MOC Program—require, so continuing professional development (CPD) work with a QI focus will also meet the requirements of PPIP.

Dr. Michelle Bailey is the Assistant Dean of the Cummings School of Medicine Physician Learning Program (PLP) and Medical Director of Quality and Practice Improvement at the PLP and Continuing Medical Education (CME) offices. She has been involved in quality improvement and patient safety initiatives for over 15 years and as part of her role, has been part of a team building a provincial CPD Network.

“As physicians, a lot of our work involves how to provide care in a complex system while keeping patients safe,” shares Dr. Bailey. “When I joined PLP a few years ago, our focus was on supporting physicians in quality improvement by connecting it to work physicians are already doing.”

In 2019, Dr. Bailey joined a steering committee tasked with launching the CPD Network. The team (comprised of physician leaders from many organizations, including both of Alberta’s medical schools, the Health Quality Council of Alberta, the AMA and CPSA) started developing a strategic plan that would help guide their work and while the COVID-19 pandemic meant timelines and priorities had to shift slightly, the committee continued connecting with partners to identify opportunities that would make the most impact for physicians in their improvement journeys. The Network was officially introduced in spring 2022 with two working groups, one focusing on practice data and the other on quality improvement and peer coaching.

“We want to support physicians in their practice improvement work, so we are looking at what programs and resources currently exist, where are the gaps and how can we fill those gaps,” says Dr. Bailey.

Many physicians are already doing quality improvement work, though they may not identify it as such. Whether it’s part of a CPD or CME activity, or is part of a physician’s role within a Primary Care Network, a university or Alberta Health Services, the CPD Network wants to recognize how those efforts can serve multiple purposes, so physicians don’t have to replicate their efforts.

“All physicians have to complete CME and there is opportunity to align that work and those credits,” says Dr. Bailey. “For example, we’re starting to see more CME offerings that lead physicians through exercises where they reflect on their practice and look for opportunities to improve. This is an activity that could also qualify for PPIP.”

While this work continues, physicians are encouraged to look at what they’re already doing to see where it aligns with PPIP’s three required activities. For some, personal development might be the easiest place to start. If you already review objective data from sources such as your MD Snapshot-Prescribing or the HQCA Healthcare Panel Report and then identify an area to work on, you may have already met the requirements for a PPIP practice-driven activity. If you’re not sure where to start, check out our website for resources or reach out for help.

“We know physicians are dealing with a lot right now, which is one reason why we’re doing this work, to create a supportive system for practice improvement in Alberta,” says Dr. Bailey. “But there are options that allow us to start small right now, with what’s right in front of us. And physicians can always reach out to CPSA, the CME offices at the Universities of Alberta and Calgary, or the Physician Learning Program. We’re all here to help.”

Questions for CPSA’s PPIP team? Email

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