Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
Recent publications
Purpose: FoodNOW (Food to eNhance Our Wellness) engaged in assessment of simulated households that include a person living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in Nova Scotia to determine if a basic nutritious diet is affordable. Methods: We used supermarket websites to cost food and beverage items listed in the National Nutritious Food Basket (NNFB) for simulated households, each with a PLWHA. Food costing methodologies were co-developed and adapted with community members in response to barriers presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Results: We found that simulated households, each with one PLWHA, that had a potential deficit after monthly expenses were a household of four on Income Assistance (−$1,058.70), a lone mother with two children on Income Assistance (−$973.65), a lone man on Income Assistance (−$677.40), and a household of four with one minimum-wage earner (−$383.45). Conclusions: Nova Scotia households with a PLWHA living on Income Assistance or with a minimum-wage earner cannot reasonably afford a nutritious diet in addition to basic household expenses. Using these food costing data can allow dietitians to efficiently inform government action and policy change to improve the health and wellness of individuals and families.
Introduction Consensus group methods such as the Nominal Group Technique (NGT) and Delphi method are commonly used in research to elicit and synthesize expert opinions when evidence is lacking. Traditionally, the NGT involves a face-to-face interaction. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many in-person meetings have moved to online settings. It is unclear to what extent the NGT has been undertaken in virtual settings. The overarching aim of this scoping review is to explore the use of the virtual NGT in research. Our specific objectives are to answer the following questions: To what extent has the NGT been used virtually? What modifications were made to accommodate this online format? What advantages and disadvantages were noted by authors in comparison with the face-to-face mode of the technique? Materials and methods This scoping review will follow the steps outlined by Arksey and O’Malley and the PRISMA-ScR guidelines. Several pilot searches were completed to refine inclusion and exclusion criteria. Media Synchronicity Theory will provide a conceptual framework to inform the research, including data extraction and summarizing results. As an additional extension to the literature review, online interviews with corresponding authors will be conducted to gather further information.
Background: Competency-based medical education (CBME) received increased attention in the early 2000s by educators, clinicians, and policy makers as a way to address concerns about physician preparedness and patient safety in a rapidly changing healthcare environment. Opinions and perspectives around this shift in medical education vary and, to date, a systematic search and synthesis of the literature has yet to be undertaken. The aim of this scoping review is to present a comprehensive map of the literary conversations surrounding CBME. Methods: Twelve different databases were searched from database inception up until 29 April 2020. Literary conversations were extracted into the following categories: perceived advantages, perceived disadvantages, challenges/uncertainties/skepticism, and recommendations related to CBME. Results: Of the 5757 identified records, 387 were included in this review. Through thematic analysis, eight themes were identified in the literary conversations about CBME: credibility, application, community influence, learner impact, assessment, educational developments, organizational structures, and societal impacts of CBME. Content analysis supported the development of a heat map that provides a visual illustration of the frequency of these literary conversations over time. Conclusions: This review serves two purposes for the medical education research community. First, this review acts as a comprehensive historical record of the shifting perceptions of CBME as the construct was introduced and adopted by many groups in the medical education global community over time. Second, this review consolidates the many literary conversations about CBME that followed the initial proposal for this approach. These findings can facilitate understanding of CBME for multiple audiences both within and outside of the medical education research community.
To transition successfully into independent practice, newly graduated independent physicians (new “attendings”) undergo a process of professional identity formation (PIF) as a clinician within a new community of practice (CoP). PIF is crafted by socialization within a CoP including transfer of tacit knowledge. While certain tacit knowledge is critical for professional identity, we understand little how it shapes PIF. We set out to describe the tacit knowledge acquired by new attendings within a CoP and how it contributes to PIF. Informed by constructivist grounded theory, we interviewed 23 new attendings about the tacit knowledge they acquired in early practice. Data collection and analysis occurred iteratively. We identified themes using constant comparative analysis and generated a theory that underwent member checking and feedback. Implicit standards from group culture imparted high expectations on new attendings and led to internal stress. New attendings also encountered a tacit code of conduct as behavioral elements of group culture. These elements created external conflict between new attendings and group members such as departmental colleagues, consulting physicians, and other health professionals. Depending on the support they received, new attendings responded to the stress and conflict in three ways: they doubted, adjusted, or avoided. These strategies molded their professional identity, and moved them towards or away from the CoP as they navigated their transition and PIF. We describe a novel theory of how tacit group culture shaped new attending physicians’ professional identity in a new community of practice. Internal stress and external conflict occurred due to high expectations and tacit culture elements. New attendings’ doubt, adjust, or avoid responses, shaped by support they received, in turn crafted their professional identity. Education leaders should prepare graduating trainees to navigate aspects of transition to independent practice successfully.
Importance Prior studies have revealed gender differences in the milestone and clinical competency committee assessment of emergency medicine (EM) residents. Objective To explore gender disparities and the reasons for such disparities in the narrative comments from EM attending physicians to EM residents. Design, Setting, and Participants This multicenter qualitative analysis examined 10 488 narrative comments among EM faculty and EM residents between 2015 to 2018 in 5 EM training programs in the US. Data were analyzed from 2019 to 2021. Main Outcomes and Measures Differences in narrative comments by gender and study site. Qualitative analysis included deidentification and iterative coding of the data set using an axial coding approach, with double coding of 20% of the comments at random to assess intercoder reliability (κ, 0.84). The authors reviewed the unmasked coded data set to identify emerging themes. Summary statistics were calculated for the number of narrative comments and their coded themes by gender and study site. χ ² tests were used to determine differences in the proportion of narrative comments by gender of faculty and resident. Results In this study of 283 EM residents, of whom 113 (40%) identified as women, and 277 EM attending physicians, of whom 95 (34%) identified as women, there were notable gender differences in the content of the narrative comments from faculty to residents. Men faculty, compared with women faculty, were more likely to provide either nonspecific comments (115 of 182 [63.2%] vs 40 of 95 [42.1%]), or no comments (3387 of 10 496 [32.3%] vs 1169 of 4548 [25.7%]; P < .001) to men and women residents. Compared with men residents, more women residents were told that they were performing below level by men and women faculty (36 of 113 [31.9%] vs 43 of 170 [25.3%]), with the most common theme including lack of confidence with procedural skills. Conclusions and Relevance In this qualitative study of narrative comments provided by EM attending physicians to residents, multiple modifiable contributors to gender disparities in assessment were identified, including the presence, content, and specificity of comments. Among women residents, procedural competency was associated with being conflated with procedural confidence. These findings can inform interventions to improve parity in assessment across graduate medical education.
Lay abstract: Real-time telehealth visits, called "virtual visits," are live video chats between patients and healthcare professionals. There are lots of steps involved in setting up a virtual visit, which may be difficult for some autistic adults. We interviewed 7 autistic adults, 12 family members of autistic adults, and 6 clinic staff from one clinic in the United States. Our goal was to understand their experiences with virtual visits and see how we can make virtual visits easier to use. We re-read text from the interviews to organize experiences and advice that was shared into topics. We found that autistic adults (or their family members) had to connect with clinic staff many times by phone or online over several days to set up a virtual visit. Participants said that having more experience with technology and using the online patient portal made virtual visits easier to use. But, having issues with technology before the visit could make autistic adults and family members anxious. Clinic staff said it was hard for them to meet the needs of people who were using virtual visits and those who were being seen in person at the clinic. Participants recommended reducing the number of calls between staff and autistic adults or family members using the online patient portal instead. Participants also recommended reminder messages, instruction videos, and approximate wait-times to help autistic adults and family members know what to expect for the virtual visit. Our results are based on peoples' experiences at one clinic, but could help other clinics make virtual visits easier to use for autistic adults and their family members.
Background Children with complex developmental needs may require assistance from a developmental pediatric specialist to complete specialized assessments, treatments, and therapies. Despite reports of large waiting lists at many academic centres, there is no workforce information regarding developmental pediatric care in Canada. Prior surveys of the developmental pediatric workforce in the United States have suggested that the pipeline of new trainees completing sub-specialty residency in developmental pediatrics may not be sufficient to meet predicted needs. Objectives In an effort to capture demographic data to understand the current developmental pediatric workforce, we conducted a survey to determine: 1) the demographic profile of developmental pediatric professionals who comprise the current workforce and their career plans; 2) the challenges and trends needing to be considered for future resource planning; and 3) opportunities for innovative care provision within developmental pediatrics. Design/Methods The workforce subcommittee of the Developmental Pediatrics Specialty Committee of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) drafted a 26-item questionnaire. This cross-sectional survey was pilot tested, and guided by a previous instrument used by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The study population included practicing developmental pediatricians in Canada, who were sent an email link from the RCPSC inviting them to respond. Data analysis was completed using descriptive statistics. Results A total of 145 participants completed the study (91% response rate). Forty-five percent of the responding developmental pediatricians have >20 years of experience. Within the next three to five years, 23% of the respondents plan to retire completely from practice. Trends influencing workforce planning were identified including the influence of government funding resources for specific neurodevelopmental disorders (32% of responses), requirements for translation services (70% of responses), and coordination issues with multi-disciplinary assessments (64% of responses). Top ranked priorities for innovative care provision in this specialty included further collaborations with community mental health agencies, capacity building in Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis, and an increased focus on care navigation efficiencies. Conclusion There are concerning trends present in the demographic distribution of developmental pediatricians given upcoming retirements and increasing service demands. Targeted advocacy to promote capacity building and recruitment to the specialty may be needed to ensure service needs continue to be met.
BACKGROUND Social and cultural bias on the part of both patients and healthcare workers is common in the surgical setting. When bias generates behavior that influences patient care strategies or disrupts operational flow, quality suffers and patient safety is threatened. METHODS A subgroup composed of members of both the Society of Thoracic Surgeons Workforces on Patient Safety and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion joined to create and discuss clinical scenarios where patient or provider bias and oppression compromised patient safety. A transcript of the first video discussion is included along with a brief discussion. RESULTS Discussants agreed that cultural diversity needs to improve within the cardiothoracic surgical specialty. Whereas all agreed that bias and oppression have the potential to impair patient safety and that the clinical result was of primary importance, opinions differed regarding the most effective verbal response to a biased patient. CONCLUSIONS Cultural and gender bias in clinical cardiothoracic surgical practice has the very real potential to compromise patient safety. As cultural and gender diversity in the cardiothoracic surgical workforce is improving, patients are expected to accept and embrace a more diverse surgical team.
Background: Growing literature within postgraduate medical education demonstrates that female resident physicians experience gender bias throughout their training and future careers. This scoping review aims to describe the current body of literature on gender differences in emergency medicine (EM) resident assessment. Methods: We conducted a scoping review which adhered to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews guidelines. We included research involving resident physicians or fellows in EM (population and context), which focused on the impact of gender on assessments (concept). We searched seven databases from the databases' inception to April 4, 2022. Two reviewers independently screened citations, completed full-text review, and abstracted data. A third reviewer resolved any discrepancies. Results: A total of 667 unique citations were identified; 10 studies were included, and all were conducted within the United States. Four studies reported differences in EM resident assessments attributable to gender within workplace-based assessments (qualitative comments and quantitative scores) by both attending physicians and nonphysicians. Six studies investigating clinical competency committee scores, procedural scores, and simulation-based assessments did not report any significant differences attributable to gender. Conclusions: This scoping review found that gender bias exists within EM resident assessment most notably at the level of narrative comments typically received via workplace-based assessments. As female EM residents receive higher rates of negative or critical comments and discordant feedback documented on assessment, these findings raise concern about added barriers female EM residents may face while progressing through residency and the impact on their clinical and professional development.
Importance: Inpatient portals provide patients with clinical data and information about their care and have the potential to influence patient engagement and experience. Although significant resources have been devoted to implementing these portals, evaluation of their effects has been limited. Objective: To assess the effects of patient training and portal functionality on use of an inpatient portal and on patient satisfaction and involvement with care. Design, setting, and participants: This randomized clinical trial was conducted from December 15, 2016, to August 31, 2019, at 6 noncancer hospitals that were part of a single health care system. Patients who were at least 18 years of age, identified English as their preferred language, were not involuntarily confined or detained, and agreed to be provided a tablet to access the inpatient portal during their stay were eligible for participation. Data were analyzed from May 1, 2019, to March 15, 2021. Interventions: A 2 × 2 factorial intervention design was used to compare 2 levels of a training intervention (touch intervention, consisting of in-person training vs built-in video tutorial) and 2 levels of portal function availability (tech intervention) within an inpatient portal (all functions operational vs a limited subset of functions). Main outcomes and measures: The primary outcomes were inpatient portal use, measured by frequency and comprehensiveness of use, and patients' satisfaction and involvement with their care. Results: Of 2892 participants, 1641 were women (56.7%) with a median age of 47.0 (95% CI, 46.0-48.0) years. Most patients were White (2221 [76.8%]). The median Charlson Comorbidity Index was 1 (95% CI, 1-1) and the median length of stay was 6 (95% CI, 6-7) days. Notably, the in-person training intervention was found to significantly increase inpatient portal use (incidence rate ratio, 1.34 [95% CI, 1.25-1.44]) compared with the video tutorial. Patients who received in-person training had significantly higher odds of being comprehensive portal users than those who received the video tutorial (odds ratio, 20.75 [95% CI, 16.49-26.10]). Among patients who received the full-tech intervention, those who also received the in-person intervention used the portal more frequently (incidence rate ratio, 1.36 [95% CI, 1.25-1.48]) and more comprehensively (odds ratio, 22.52; [95% CI, 17.13-29.62]) than those who received the video tutorial. Patients who received in-person training had higher odds (OR, 2.01 [95% CI, 1.16-3.50]) of reporting being satisfied in the 6-month postdischarge survey. Similarly, patients who received the full-tech intervention had higher odds (OR, 2.06 [95%CI, 1.42-2.99]) of reporting being satisfied in the 6-month postdischarge survey. Conclusions and relevance: Providing in-person training or robust portal functionality increased inpatient engagement with the portal during the hospital stay. The effects of the training intervention suggest that providing personalized training to support use of this health information technology can be a powerful approach to increase patient engagement via portals. Trial registration: Identifier: NCT02943109.
Background WHO publishes public health and clinical guidelines to guide Member States in achieving better health outcomes. Furthermore, WHO’s Thirteenth General Programme of Work for 2019–2023 prioritizes strengthening its normative functional role and uptake of normative and standard-setting products, including guidelines at the country level. Therefore, understanding WHO guideline uptake by the Member States, particularly the low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), is of utmost importance for the organization and scholarship. Methods We conducted a scoping review using a comprehensive search strategy to include published literature in English between 2007 and 2020. The review was conducted between May and June 2021. We searched five electronic databases including CINAHL, the Cochrane Library, PubMed, Embase and Scopus. We also searched Google Scholar as a supplementary source. The review adhered to the PRISMA-ScR (PRISMA extension for scoping reviews) guidelines for reporting the searches, screening and identification of evaluation studies from the literature. A narrative synthesis of the evidence around key barriers and challenges for WHO guideline uptake in LMICs is thematically presented. Results The scoping review included 48 studies, and the findings were categorized into four themes: (1) lack of national legislation, regulations and policy coherence, (2) inadequate experience, expertise and training of healthcare providers for guideline uptake, (3) funding limitations for guideline uptake and use, and (4) inadequate healthcare infrastructure for guideline compliance. These challenges were situated in the Member States’ health systems. The findings suggest that governance was often weak within the existing health systems amongst most of the LMICs studied, as was the guidance provided by WHO’s guidelines on governance requirements. This challenge was further exacerbated by a lack of accountability and transparency mechanisms for uptake and implementation of guidelines. In addition, the WHO guidelines themselves were either unclear and were technically challenging for some health conditions; however, WHO guidelines were primarily used as a reference by Member States when they developed their national guidelines. Conclusions The challenges identified reflect the national health systems’ (in)ability to allocate, implement and monitor the guidelines. Historically this is beyond the remit of WHO, but Member States could benefit from WHO implementation guidance on requirements and needs for successful uptake and use of WHO guidelines.
Background Female trainees continue to be underrepresented in surgical specialties. Studies have shown lower enrollment and higher attrition of female trainees in surgery. However, there is no comprehensive data examining trends to determine if positive strides have been made towards greater equity. Methods Retrospective cohort study examining Canadian surgical residents who began training between 2000-2010. Enrollment data was compared to how many of those individuals registered for their final surgical certifying examinations by 2018, which indicated completion of residency. Results In the 10-year period, overall attrition rates of surgical trainees was 8%. Female residents were twice as likely to leave training compared to their male counterparts (12.4 vs 6.1% p < 0.001). Attrition rates for female residents appeared to trend downwards. Enrollment of female surgical trainees across all surgical specialties increased from 27.3% to 39.2% during this time. Conclusion Equity in Canadian surgical training enrollment and retention improved for those who began training from 2000-2010, but there continued to be differences in female trainee recruitment and attrition rates compared to their male counterparts.
Background Healthcare independence refers to someone’s ability to assume responsibility for their own health and complete tasks like taking medication as prescribed or scheduling healthcare appointments. Prior studies have shown that autistic people tend to need more support with healthcare tasks than people with other chronic conditions. We sought to identify modifiable and non-modifiable factors linked with healthcare independence among autistic adults. Method We conducted a cross-sectional survey to examine how executive functioning skills, restrictive and repetitive behaviors, gender, education, and age were linked with healthcare independence among this population. Participants included: (a) autistic adults (n = 19) who are their own legal guardian, who participated via self-report; and (b) family members of autistic adults with a legal guardian (n = 11), who provided proxy-reports. Results Findings differed between self- and proxy-reports. Among autistic adults who self-reported, difficulties in executive functioning were strongly linked with less healthcare independence. Among proxy-reports, greater restrictive and repetitive behaviors were strongly linked with less healthcare independence. According to the proxy-reports, having not completed high school, being older during the healthcare transition, and being male were all independently linked with less healthcare independence. Conclusions Interventions aimed at supporting executive functioning, providing opportunities to increase independence with healthcare tasks, and reducing the extent to which restrictive and repetitive behaviors interfere with daily activities may be viable options for supporting healthcare independence among autistic adults. Our findings are an important first step for future initiatives to better identify individuals who need additional care coordination, supports, or services to maximize healthcare independence.
Background: Adolescents and young adults (AYA, ages 15-39 years) affected by cancer have unique treatment, survivorship, and palliation concerns. Current oncology training does not focus on the distinctive needs of this demographic. Amid this recognition, the Canadian National AYA Cancer Task Force and Canadian Partnership Against Cancer have advocated the need for clinicians with formalized AYA experience. To address this need and standardize training, a national task force developed criteria for structured academic programs in AYA Oncology in Canada. Methods: Workshops were organized to identify and establish the fundamentals of practice in AYA Oncology through consensus. These workshops followed the pre-existing rigorous process established by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (Royal College) for new program development. The process includes: (i) developing the tasks associated with the discipline's practice, (ii) identifying the evidence trainees must provide to demonstrate tasks can be performed independently (the competence portfolio), (iii) developing training requirements and summarizing the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to perform these tasks, and (iv) identifying specific experiences essential to acquiring skills and demonstrating competent performance. Results: AYA Oncology is a recognized an Area of Focused Competence (AFC) by the Royal College. Conclusion: The AFC designation in AYA Oncology provides a standardized curriculum, training experience and accreditation process to attract oncologists, promote expertise and advance AYA oncology care.
Background: Medical innovations offer tremendous hope. Yet similar innovations in governance (law, policy, ethics) are likely necessary if society is to realize medical innovations’ fruits and avoid their pitfalls. As innovations in Artificial Intelligence (AI) advance at a rapid pace, scholars across multiple disciplines are articulating concerns in health-related AI that likely require legal responses to ensure the requisite balance. These scholarly perspectives may provide critical insights into the most pressing challenges that will help shape and advance future regulatory reforms. Yet, to the best of our knowledge, there is no comprehensive summary of the literature examining legal concerns in relation to health-related AI exists. We thus aim to summarize and map the literature examining legal concerns in health-related AI using a scoping review approach. Methods: The scoping review framework developed by Arksey and O’Malley (2005) and extended by Levac et al. (2010) and the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis extension for scoping reviews (PRISMA-ScR) guided our protocol development. In close consultation with trained librarians, we will develop a highly sensitive search for MEDLINE (OVID) and adapt it for multiple databases designed to comprehensively capture texts in law, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, other healthcare professions (e.g., dentistry, nutrition), public health, computer science, and engineering. English- and French-language records will be included if they examine health-related AI, describe or prioritize a legal concern in health-related AI or propose a solution thereto, and were published in 2012 or later. Eligibility assessment will be conducted independently and in duplicate at all review stages. Coded data will be analyzed along themes and stratified across discipline-specific literatures. Discussion: This first-of-its-kind scoping review will summarize available literature examining, documenting, or prioritizing legal concerns in health-related AI to advance law and policy reform(s). The review may also reveal discipline-specific concerns, priorities, and proposed solutions to the concerns. It will thereby identify priority areas that should be the focus of future reforms and regulatory options available to stakeholders in reform processes. Scoping Review Registration: This protocol was submitted to the Open Science Foundation registration database. See<br/
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30 members
Tanya Horsley
  • Research Unit, Health Systems Innovation and External Relations
Guylaine Lefebvre
  • Department of Medicine
Sofia Valanci
  • Continuing Professional Development
Angele Landriault
  • Practice, Performance and Innovation unit
Sarah Taber
  • Office of Specialty Education
Ottawa, Canada