Quality Improvement

A component of the Physician Practice Improvement Program (PPIP)

What is Quality Improvement (QI)?

According to The Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada (FMRAC)’s statement on physician quality improvement:

"Patients deserve and expect the best possible care from their physicians, and all licensed physicians in Canada must be able to demonstrate that they are sustaining and enhancing their competence throughout their careers."


How to start a cycle of QI

As part of the Physician Practice Improvement Program (PPIP), Alberta’s physicians must incorporate three activities into their practice over a continuous five-year cycle.

The QI component of PPIP accounts for two of those three activities, both designed to help physicians make quality improvement a part of their day-to-day practice.

Practice-driven quality improvement, using objective data

Choose what you want to change within your practice! Use objective data and quality improvement methodology to identify areas for improvement, and implement strategies to enhance your practice.

This activity includes: 

Minimal elements: Additional elements for a robust QI activity:
  • Complete a root cause analysis
  • Establish SMART goals
  • Utilize QI methodology (e.g. PDSA cycle)
  • Evaluate

Practice-driven quality improvement using objective data can be done individually (e.g. assessing your prescribing), by participating in a clinic group practice change (e.g. changing office processes to increase efficiency or access), or through a systems-level project (e.g. participating as a local leader in a multi-site, patient outcome initiative).

Here are the basics to help you get started:

  • Understand your practice through the use of objective data. For example:
    • Review triplicate prescribing data through MD Snapshot-Prescribing.
    • Identify and reflect on risk factors through your MD Snapshot-Practice Checkup.
    • Evaluate your clinic’s screening or processes (such as third next appointment availability) by looking at your EMR data.
    • Regularly review and reflect on your Health Quality Council of Alberta’s Primary Healthcare Panel Report or Alberta Health Services’ dashboard metrics.
  • Once you’ve successfully reviewed and assessed your practice, use this information to identify opportunities for practice improvements. Then create an action plan to address gaps.
  • Once you’ve executed your plan, evaluate its success using quality improvement methodology and determine your next steps.

PPIP supports the use of data in an ethical manner. CPSA encourages physicians to use the following free resource and support tools if there are questions regarding ethical data usage:

Alberta Innovates: A pRoject Ethics Community Consensus Initiative (ARECCI) https://albertainnovates.ca/programs/arecci/

CPSA Standards of Practice

A CPSA standards of practice (SOP) metric must be used as your objective data at least once during every five-year PPIP cycle. Being compliant with the standards of practice involves not only knowing what they are, but critically assessing whether any gaps exist in your practice by selecting metrics to help you highlight these elements.

This activity includes:

Minimal elements: Additional elements for a robust QI activity:
  • Complete a root cause analysis
  • Establish SMART goals
  • Utilize QI methodology (e.g. PDSA cycle)
  • Evaluate

Below are some tips to help you start a Standards of Practice cycle:

  • Assess and get a clearer understanding of your practice by taking advantage of CPSA’s many competence tools:
    • Use the standards as a benchmark to reflect on your practice. Consider working with us if you’d like to make improvements.
    • If you’re part of a group practice, strengthen and enhance it through our Group Practice Review program.
    • Complete a self-assessment to identify areas for improvement, such as a review of patient record content.

Practice improvement resources

Programs and organizations listed are possible avenues to completion of a PPIP activity.  Please note that the list of resources is not exhaustive and if you are aware of additional resources, please let us know.

Practice improvement cycle information

Quality improvement tools & resources

Personal development tools & resources

Standards of practice tools & resources

Practice improvement programs & courses

Quality improvement articles

Questions about PPIP & QI?

Phone: 780-969-4986
Toll-free: 1-800-561-3899 ext. 4986 (in Canada)

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