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2/21/2017 5:00 PM

Inspired by a shared commitment to improve patient care, the Canadian Patient Safety Institute has united with 12 other Canadian health care organizations under the new CanMEDS Consortium. Members have agreed to embed a common set of values and competencies – the CanMEDS Framework – into their respective areas of work in training and evaluating physicians in Canada.

The result will be better patient care emanating from a more consistent and coordinated national approach to physician training and practice.

"This collaboration is unprecedented and represents a major step forward for the profession," said Dr. Andrew Padmos, the Royal College's Chief Executive Officer. "We see the new consortium as a great way to enable use of the CanMEDS Framework for family physicians and all other specialists."

Wider application of a well-known model

CanMEDS is a world-renowned model for training and evaluating physicians. It identifies and describes the abilities physicians require to effectively meet the health care needs of the patients they serve. Aspects of the framework have been used for up to 25 years in Canada and abroad. In addition to articulating the medical expertise required through a physician's career, the framework organizes competencies under seven roles: Medical Expert, Communicator, Collaborator, Leader, Health Advocate, Scholar and Professional.

Every 10 years, the CanMEDS Framework is updated. Members of the national advisory committee overseeing the latest revision in 2015 recognized the importance and advantage of a single physician competency framework for all of Canada. The CanMEDS Consortium was created to facilitate that vision.

Consistency in physician training

Today, CanMEDS is used mainly for postgraduate medical education, while other stages of a physician's career adhere to different competency frameworks.

"The CanMEDS Consortium is committed to facilitating the adoption of CanMEDS along the entire continuum of medical education and practice, including undergraduate medical education and continuing professional development," said Dr. Francine Lemire, the Executive Director and CEO of the College of Family Physicians of Canada. "This consistent approach will lead to greater efficiency for the organizations that deliver training and the physicians who participate in it."

In addition, the medical regulatory authorities can use the same language as the training organizations to evaluate the professionalism and competence of licensed physicians, and in complaints processes.

Improved patient care and safety

"Improved patient care is at the heart of the mandates of all 13 member organizations," said Dr. Geneviève Moineau, the President and CEO of the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada. "Safety, quality and accountability are at the heart of CanMEDS, and medical schools are preparing doctors for the future with these intrinsic Canadian values."

For example, mastery of the Communicator and Collaborator roles, which call for active listening and relationship-management skills, are essential for patient-centred care. The addition of a new key competency for patient handover was a major change in the 2015 update of the CanMEDS Framework, and many other competencies were altered or added to improve the safety of care for patients.

Ongoing implementation

Implementation will be an ongoing process. In the coming years, each member of the consortium will work to embed the CanMEDS Framework into its business model. At minimum, the consortium will meet twice a year to review its progress. It will share news of its successes and accomplishments as they are made.

Learn more

To find out more about CanMEDS and the CanMEDS Consortium, visit www.royalcollege.ca/canmeds

The CanMEDS Consortium is made up of the following provincial and national health care organizations:

  • The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
  • The College of Family Physicians of Canada
  • The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada
  • The Canadian Federation of Medical Students
  • The Canadian Medical Association
  • The Canadian Medical Protective Association
  • The Canadian Patient Safety Institute
  • The Collège des médecins du Québec
  • The Fédération médicale étudiante du Québec
  • The Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada
  • The Fédération des médecins residents du Québec
  • The Medical Council of Canada
  • The Resident Doctors of Canada