October Messenger 2017

Dina Baras CPSA

Practice Checkup: Striving for Excellence? We can help!

Within the next few weeks, every physician in Alberta will receive a Practice Checkup Report from the CPSA in the mail.

Practice Checkup is a quality improvement tool that offers you a personalized and confidential summary of potential risk factors in your medical practice. You can use the data to review your own practice and develop a personal learning program to reduce your risk factors.

Reducing your risk factors likely means less complaints and improved patient care.

We want to help you strive for excellence. By reviewing your practice and developing a plan for improvement, you’ll contribute to a successful and healthy future for all Albertans.

We want your feedback.

Practice Checkup will be distributed to Alberta physicians once a year, and we want it to be a valuable tool for all our members. Soon after you receive the hard-copy report, we will send you an email survey. Please take two minutes to share your thoughts about Practice Checkup so we can improve the report in the future, including an online version coming in 2018.

Questions about Practice Checkup?

How would proposed changes to Direction & Control of a Medical Practice affect you?

Sexual Boundary Violations standard also under review

Until December 1, 2017 the College is gathering feedback on draft amendments to the Direction and Control of a Medical Practice and Sexual Boundary Violations standards of practice.

We need YOUR feedback! And now it’s easier than ever to comment.

Our recent special consultation on the standards of practice review process told us many physicians prefer to respond by survey, so now you have that option. You can also still submit your comments by web-based form and email. Whichever method you choose, please let the College know how the proposed changes will affect your practice.

To promote high quality care in both individual and group practice, the amendment proposes new requirements for quality improvement and quality assurance, notification of certain practice changes and designation of a medical lead in multi-physician clinics. Learn more and comment.

 It’s not just about sex – physicians are expected to uphold the highest professional standards in all their interactions with patients, inside and outside the office. The amendment proposes to rename the standard Boundary Violations and broaden it to include other types of boundary violations that may present risk of conflict of interest or coercion. Learn more and comment.

The Practice in Association standard of practice will be rescinded upon approval of the Direction and Control of a Medical Practice amendment for these reasons:

  • The Practice in Association standard no longer reflects the reality of medical practice.
  • No legal concerns have been identified if the standard is rescinded.
  • No other Canadian province has a similar standard.
  • Portions of the standard that are still relevant have been incorporated into the Direction and Control of a Medical Practice draft amendment.

Questions? Contact Chantelle.Dick@cpsa.ab.ca

Don’t get locked out of your patient records

Last month, a medical clinic in Calgary unexpectedly closed its doors, leaving patients feeling lost and doctors who worked there under contract unable to access their patients’ records.

Working in a clinic not owned by a regulated health professional has challenges, especially when it comes to meeting the CPSA’s Standards of Practice. In this case, how would a member meet the requirements outlined in Closing or Leaving a Medical Practice or Patient Record Retention? The clinic was owned by a non-regulated professional. The College couldn’t enforce Standards of Practice on that person, resulting in confusion for both patients and physicians.

“As doctors, we have to secure our access to patient care records in the event that the clinic ceases to function as a ’business’ entity.” Dr. Michael Caffaro

Regardless of ownership, physicians are still responsible for the security of and access to information in their patient records:

  • You must be able to access those patient records at all times.
  • You must be able to provide a copy of the patient record to any patient making a formal request.


So what now?

We are working with the physicians to ensure they can access patient records and continue to care for their patients. “This is a reminder to us all to be fully aware of our responsibilities, particularly when working in a clinic owned by a non-regulated health professional,” notes CPSA Complaints Director Dr. Michael Caffaro. “As doctors, we have to secure our access to patient care records in the event that the clinic ceases to function as a ‘business’ entity.”

Do you work in a clinic owned by a non-regulated health professional?

Protect yourself and your patients by making sure full administrative access to patient records is part of your employment contract and Information Sharing Agreement with the clinic owner. Secure your access to these records beyond the operating lifespan of the company, since physicians are responsible for a minimum of 10 years.

Questions? Review the standards linked above or contact Michael.Caffaro@cpsa.ab.ca

Your pharmacist can help you improve opioid prescribing

The Alberta College of Pharmacists (ACP) has just released new guidelines for pharmacists dispensing prescribed opiates and selling non-prescription opioid products. Knowing these rules can help you provide better patient care.

ACP’s opioid prescribing highlights:

  1. Pharmacists must establish and maintain a professional relationship with each individual using opioid medications.
  2. Pharmacists must complete a thorough assessment of each individual who is prescribed opioid medications or sold an exempted codeine product.This assessment must include a review of the Electronic Health Record (Netcare) every time a prescription for an opioid medication is dispensed or sold.
  3. Pharmacists must document details of the assessment in the patient record of care and develop a written treatment plan for individuals using long term opioid therapy1or for those determined to be at high risk of misuse or addiction.
  4. Pharmacists must collaborate with the prescriber and other healthcare professionals involved in the care of individuals using opioid medications.
  5. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians must monitor individuals for the signs of opioid misuse, diversion, or addiction and take appropriate action. 

Collaboration is key. Ensure your patient gets the best possible care by teaming up with their pharmacist. There are already many examples of this kind of support and teamwork happening in Alberta. It minimizes the burden on individual providers, reduces the risk of medical error and can help both partners meet professional standards.

If you have a patient on long-term opioid treatment, consider introducing yourself and sharing relevant information with your patient’s pharmacist. You’ll feel comfortable knowing others in the patient’s circle of care understand the indication for the prescription and the treatment plan.

Team up as soon as possible and connect frequently. Together, you and your patient’s pharmacist can improve patient outcomes and reduce the risk of opioid misuse and diversion.


Read the full ACP guidance here.

35 minutes – that’s all it takes

Renew your practice permit by Dec. 31.

Watch your inbox on November 1st for your first renewal notice. You must renew your practice permit and professional corporation permit and pay your fees (as applicable) by Dec. 31.

If you belong to a PC with multiple shareholders, only the designated physician will see the PC renewal information. Once completed, we will post the PC permit and receipt in the CPSA physician portal of ALL shareholders.

How to get ready & set before Nov. 1st:

New RIF section this year
This year you’ll see a new Education Outreach section in the Renewal Information Form (RIF), designed solely for your own learning and CQI purposes. We selected five multiple choice questions based on their importance, timeliness and/or relevance to physician practice in Alberta. Your responses are strictly confidential, and we will only use them in aggregate form to direct future educational & quality improvement initiatives for physicians. Questions? Email CC.inquiries@cpsa.ab.ca.

Are you purchasing outdated equipment?

Ensure your blood glucose monitoring system meets Health Canada licensing requirements

CPSA’s Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) program recently discovered older models of blood glucose monitoring devices for sale that do not meet Health Canada requirements. If you use a blood glucose monitoring system for multiple patients in your clinic, it must:

  1. Be made for multi-patient use. (See the “intended use” statement in the user’s manual)
  2. Use single-use disposable lancets (needles).
  3. Use lancing devices (which holds the needle) that are either auto-disabling (single-use, disposable) or dedicated to a single patient only.
  4. Have a validated cleaning and disinfection protocol for the meter effective against Hepatitis B. (See procedures for cleaning and disinfection in the user’s manual)

The IPAC Program expects clinics to meet requirements #1, #2, and #3 immediately, but is giving a one-year grace period for requirement #4. During the grace period, make sure you replace old devices with newer models that comply with current federal licensing requirements.

For more information, see Health Canada’s requirements and the IPAC program’s Standards for General Infection Prevention & Control.

Questions? Email ipac@cpsa.ab.ca.