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CMAJ. Jul 13, 1999; 161(1): 52–57.
PMCID: PMC1232653

Assessment of physician performance in Alberta: the Physician Achievement Review


The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta, in collaboration with the Universities of Calgary and Alberta, has developed a program to routinely assess the performance of physicians, intended primarily for quality improvement in medical practice. The Physician Achievement Review (PAR) provides a multidimensional view of performance through structured feedback to physicians. The program will also provide a new mechanism for identifying physicians for whom more detailed assessment of practice performance or medical competence may be needed. Questionnaires were created to assess an array of performance attributes, and then appropriate assessors were designated--the physician himself or herself (self-evaluation), patients, medical peers, consultants and referring physicians, and non-physician coworkers. A pilot study with 308 physician volunteers was used to evaluate the psychometric and statistical properties of the questionnaires and to develop operating policies. The pilot surveys showed good statistical validity and technical reliability of the PAR questionnaires. For only 28 (9.1%) of the physicians were the PAR results more than one standard deviation from the peer group means for 3 or more of the 5 major domains of assessment (self, patients, peers, consultants and coworkers). In post-survey feedback, two-thirds of the physicians indicated that they were considering or had implemented changes to their medical practice on the basis of their PAR data. The estimated operating cost of the PAR program is approximately $200 per physician. In February 1999, on the basis of the operating experience and the results of the pilot survey, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta implemented this innovative program, in which all Alberta physicians will be required to participate every 5 years.

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Selected References

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