Physician-assessment and physician-enhancement programs in Canada.
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In the mid-1980s, the licensing authorities in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba have introduced programs to conduct in-depth assessments of the clinical skills and abilities of physicians with suspected deficiencies. These assessments are intended to supplement the provincial licensing authorities' existing peer review or patient-complaint mechanisms by confirming the physicians' overall level of competence and identifying specific clinical strengths and weaknesses. An "educational prescription", based on the results of the assessment, focuses on aspects of clinical practice in which the physicians need or wish to enhance their skills. In some situations, licensure decisions are based on the assessment information. This article describes the programs in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba. Each program comprises a different process of personal assessment and individualized continuing medical education to help physicians improve their clinical competence, and each is built on sound principles of clinical competence assessment and educational planning.
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