Peer Assessment

Receiving a letter from the College that announces that you've been selected for assessment by the Quality Assurance Program usually generates one of several reactions. Some physicians welcome the opportunity to discuss their practice; others are ambivalent to the whole process. But for a significant number of physicians, this notification evokes apprehension and anxiety.

The Quality Assurance Committee and its supporting staff acknowledge that these strong emotional reactions can never be entirely eliminated. But we can try to minimize them and set a tone for a productive, collegial and constructive meeting. This approach is the core reason for the program’s success.

Physician reactions following a peer assessment are generally quite positive. The following are quotes from physicians who have completed the post-assessment questionnaire:

It was not a traumatic experience. I wish this assessment was done twenty years ago.

Helpful, handy, thought provoking.

The assessor’s manner put me at ease in a potentially very stressful situation…overall a positive experience.

I appreciate the guidance [from the assessor] and I particularly appreciated the gentle, careful explanation and its presentation. It will influence my future.

The Quality Assurance Committee considers its assessors to be the true ambassadors of the peer assessment program and its most important link to the profession’s acceptance of the program’s value. All suggestions made regarding assessors and the assessment process are reviewed, considered, and shared with the assessors.

The peer assessment program has been operational since 1980 and thousands of physicians have been assessed. Each year, most physicians (almost 90%) are found to be practicing in a satisfactory manner and receive useful feedback from their assessor, a practicing colleague. If you are chosen for peer assessment, you will hopefully remember that the program’s emphasis is educational.