This is a guest post by Jeremy Quesnelle the College's Deputy Registrar.

Each year, a number of College Members are randomly selected to participate in our Quality Assurance Peer & Practice Assessment program. This post seeks to dispel myths by clarifying what the selection process means and what participating in the program really entails. 

MYTH: Selection is not random, I was targeted by the College.

FACT:  The College uses a random algorithm to select up to 20% of its Members for a Peer & Practice Assessment each year. The names of the selected Members are kept confidential from the Quality Assurance Committee (QAC) in order to avoid any conflicts of interest. Staff are the only people who see the list (other than the appointed Assessor) and this only happens after the algorithm has been applied and the names exported.

MYTH: I have no idea what the Assessor is going to do during the assessment.  

FACT: The Peer & Practice Assessment Handbook outlines the process, before, during and after the assessment. In fact, Members select their own files to be reviewed. When Members are selected for an Assessment, they are also provided with the materials the Assessor will use, including any and all questions that will be asked.  

In addition, the College has clearly defined policies about Peer & Practice Assessments that have been approved by the College’s governing Council and that are adhered to by staff, the Quality Assurance Committee and the Assessors.

MYTH: The College is coming in to shut me down.

FACT: The program was created by the Quality Assurance Committee – which includes naturopathic doctors and public members - and is intended to be educational, supportive and collegial. It gives Members a unique and rare opportunity to sit down with a peer to discuss their work and deepen their understanding of their practice. Peer & Practice Assessors are practising naturopaths who have been trained as volunteers to offer support and guidance to their colleagues. The advice they offer is relevant to each ND’s unique practice.

All information collected through the Quality Assurance program is confidential and not shared with other College staff or Committees.  In very rare cases, the QAC may refer concerns for review but this only happens if public safety is a significant concern.

MYTH: Patients must consent for the College to look at their records.

FACT: Explicit patient consent is not required for the College to look at patient charts.  The Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA) specifically sets out in law that Colleges are permitted access to patient files when doing a Peer & Practice Assessment.  Privacy legislation also confirms this.

We invite you to tell us about your questions, concerns or fears about Peer & Practice Assessments. We are more than happy to help all Members understand this process and make the most of this professional development activity. The only thing to fear is fear itself!

We also want to reinforce the Members can contact our Regulatory Education Specialist, Mary-Ellen McKenna, ND (Inactive) at 416-583-6020 without being concerned that their questions will noted on their file. Our blog post To Call or Not to Call outlines what really happens when you reach out to the College.