Long-term follow-up in the Peer Assessment Program for nonspecialist physicians in Ontario, Canada

Jt Comm J Qual Improv. 1998 Jun;24(6):334-41. doi: 10.1016/s1070-3241(16)30385-6.


Background: The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario has assessed randomly selected physician office practices since 1972. Each assessment consists of a tour of the premises and a review of a random selection of 20 to 30 medical records to evaluate the system of record keeping and the content of the records and to thereby indicate the quality of the physician's examinations, history taking, diagnosis and management plan. About 12% of nonspecialist physicians who need help to improve their records and/or the care they provide are identified annually, and following an interview with peers and simple educational interventions, more than 75% are successful in improving.

Methods: A follow-up was conducted to assess physician practices an average of six years after the first intervention. The reviewers were blinded as to whether the physician being reviewed had been reviewed previously. Each revisited physician was matched to three others undergoing their initial assessments in the same year. The matching variables were age, sex, school of graduation (Canadian versus other), rural versus urban practice location, and affiliation status with the College of Family Physicians of Canada. The assessed performance of the two groups was compared.

Results: The performance of the revisit group was significantly better than that of the matched group (p = 0.05).

Conclusions: The assessment, interview, and educational interventions undertaken by the licensing authority produced an improvement in practice in the short term in the bottom 10%-15% of all physicians reviewed, which was sustained for more than six years.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Family Practice / classification
  • Family Practice / standards*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Forms and Records Control / standards
  • Humans
  • Licensure, Medical*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ontario
  • Peer Review, Health Care*
  • Practice Management, Medical / standards
  • Total Quality Management / methods*