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New Peer Review Program Pilot In 2016

Development of the College’s new Peer Review program continues on multiple fronts. The focus of the new program is to provide physicians with feedback on their practice for the purpose of quality improvement.

The new program intends to pair each reviewed physician with a trained peer who will provide feedback and, where necessary, coaching for practice improvement. Participating physicians will be asked to critically examine their practice in terms of patient care, record keeping, management processes and resources. Physicians will also be asked to consider whether their approach to CPD is optimally addressing the needs of their patients and practice.

The redesign of the peer review program has been informed by consultation with:

  • practising physicians,
  • experts in education and assessment
  • regulatory partners
  • the College’s Council and committees

The College will conduct a pre-pilot program in the spring of 2016, for the purpose of training potential peer reviewers and conducting a critical analysis of the new tools and processes.

Although all Nova Scotia physicians will be required to participate in peer review, it is recognized that there are factors that may strengthen as well as threaten the quality of practice. The CPSNS has therefore joined with medical regulators from across the country to develop strategies for identifying those practices likely to benefit from a more comprehensive peer review.

A pilot, scheduled for later in 2016, will include a review of approximately 80 family physicians.

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Licence Renewal

This year 2,657 physicians were eligible to renew their licence to practice medicine in Nova Scotia. The College made significant changes to ensure a more user-friendly online renewal experience. The College also ramped up its annual renewal member support services. This included a dedicated help line which offered after-hours support and an enhanced troubleshooting tracking service to ensure all issues were resolved as quickly as possible.

Upon completing this year’s licence renewal physicians were sent a short survey to help determine if these improvements were helpful. Just under 45% of physicians responded to our survey. Of these 36% ranked the renewal process as EXCELLENT and 46% indicated they felt the process was GOOD.

Here is what some physicians had to say about this year’s licence renewal:

“Overall this was much much MUCH less painful than in previous years. Whatever improvements you’ve made to the system more recently have really made a big difference. Thank you!”

“The notifications that it was licence renewal time were well-timed. I appreciated the email notifications. The process of completing the form was very straight forward.”

“Actually, I was so happily surprised at how easy it was that I spontaneously emailed the College to let them know that this has to bethe single most user friendly registration I have ever done (and I hate those usually).”

“The best in 30 years – good to have the ‘help line’ until 7pm.”

The College is reviewing all of your comments with the aim to continuously improve the annual licence renewal experience. Thank you for taking the time to provide us with your feedback we greatly appreciate it.

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Council Report

Physician-Assisted Death
The College’s governing Council composed of physicians and public members met December 11th, 2015. Among the agenda items discussed was a Draft Standard of Practice: Physician-Assisted Death document.

As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision to decriminalize physician-assisted death, the College formed the Physician-Assisted Death Clinical Standards Working Group. The Working Group was tasked with the development of a Standard to provide guidance for physicians and patients on the issue.

The Working Group consisted of participants from the following:

  • the College’s Policy & Standards Committee
  • the Medical Examiner’s Office and the Department of Justice
  • Doctors NS
  • the Nova Scotia Health Authority
  • the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness
  • the Health Law Institute Dalhousie University
  • the College’s legal Counsel

In developing the Draft Standard, the Working Group consulted with a number of stakeholders. It has received feedback from the following stakeholders to date:

  • CMPA
  • Doctors NS
  • Nova Scotia Health Authority
    • Department of Family Medicine
    • Department of Psychiatry
    • Division of Palliative Medicine
    • Division of Neurology
  • Schulich School of Law – Dalhousie University
  • Nova Scotia College of Pharmacists

Council reviewed and approved the Working Group’s Draft Standard of Practice: Physician-Assisted Death document for the purpose of broader consultation.

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Policy on the Content and Maintenance of Medical Records

Meeting the practice standards required in maintaining patient medical records is a recurring and troublesome issue for physicians. Physicians are strongly encouraged to familiarize them with the obligations described in the College’s Policy on the Content and Maintenance of Medical Records .

The Canadian Medical Protective Association also provides a number of resources outlining the expectations of physicians regarding medical records

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New Poster Available to Support Physicians Prescribing Opioids

When prescribing opioids for non-cancer chronic pain management, some physicians may find it difficult to communicate best practices to their patients. A poster to help physicians do so is now available for display in clinics and offices. This poster clearly lays out the expectations of both patients and their doctors when opioids are prescribed. The College wishes to thank DOCTORS NS for including this poster in the Dec./Jan. issue of its magazine.

In addition, resources are now available on the College’s website to support best practices when prescribing opioids for the management of chronic non-cancer pain. Among the resources available is the “checklist before initiating opioid therapy in patients with chronic pain” developed by Doctors Peter MacDougall and John Fraser.

The Prescribing Course: Safe Opioid Prescribingfor Chronic Non-Cancer Pain

January 23rd, 2016 on the Western Shore (Oak Island)
February 27th, 2016 in Halifax

January 2016 Prescription Monitoring Program Bulletin (PDF – 3 pages)

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