1. OVERVIEW OF THE PRACTICE ENHANCEMENT PROGRAM
The Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA) and the College of Physicians
and Surgeons met in May of 1994 and were in agreement to jointly advance
the establishment of a working group to develop a Practice Assessment and
Enhancement Program in Saskatchewan. The first meeting was held August of
1994 with representatives from both the SMA and the College of Physicians and
Surgeons of Saskatchewan. The committee studied existing programs in other
provinces in order to develop a program which would offer the physicians of
Saskatchewan a positive means of assessing their practice.
The fundamental purpose of the program is educational and thus has become
known as the Practice Enhancement Program (PEP). The program is based on the
assumption that an experienced physician can review another physician’s office
facilities, procedures and medical records to determine the quality of care being
provided by that physician. Patient Questionnaires are also used to ascertain
the patient’s perspective of the quality of care provided by the physician. As
assessments are completed and specific needs for enhancement are observed, the
Practice Enhancement Program will work to offer educational resources to improve
the skills in specific areas.
Fifteen pilot assessments were carried out on volunteer practices in 1996 by PEP
committee members to test and fine tune the assessment tools. The cost of each
visit was approximately $1500 consisting of the honorarium paid to two assessors
and the travelling expenses of the assessors, plus the cost of the Committee
In March of 1996 an office was set up for the Practice Enhancement Program in the
Continuing Medical Education department of the College of Medicine, University of
Saskatchewan. The program is administered by a committee of six Saskatchewan
Physicians and staffed by a Coordinator and Program Assistant.
The Practice Enhancement Program now brings the opportunity for office
assessments to randomly selected physicians throughout Saskatchewan. As
feedback is received from these assessments, the Program will continue to improve
and develop in the area of educational enhancement.
The program is funded jointly by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health, the
Saskatchewan Medical Association and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of
Ontario and British Columbia have found that 78-80% of the physicians assessed,
or 4 out of 5 physicians, have no significant deficiencies in either their medical
records or their quality of patient care. 15% of the physicians assessed had
deficient medical records but no indication of deficient quality of care, 7% had
medical records so deficient that the quality of care could not be determined or
there was concern about the quality of care. British Columbia further reports
that physicians do improve when they are given specific information identifying
deficiencies and advice on how to correct them.