How do health authorities select the practitioner that will provide the highest quality care to BC patients?

Each year, health authorities and affiliates in BC onboard more than a thousand new practitioners. Regulatory colleges check each practitioner's training and criminal record before they are licensed.  It is up to the health authority or affiliate to select the practitioner that will provide the highest quality care from among the applicants to a vacant position.

Usually, the skills, abilities and suitability of applicants are assessed through review of their CV, interviews and reference checks. Even though patients and families deserve the same standard of quality care wherever they are in BC, there are differences in how each health authority or affiliate carries out applicant assessment.  A lack of consistency across the province can also impede information-sharing, which in turn can lead to the critical information gaps identified in the Cochrane (2011) and Wale (2017) reports.

The potential for oversight gaps increase when practitioners move across organizations or sites, such as for locum or temporary staff. In 2018, BC had more than 2500 practitioners working as locum or temporary staff in health authority facilities and programs. Further, one in five medical staff members working in a locum or temporary role were employed by more than one health authority in 2018.

A new task group of the BC Medical Quality Initiative is applying a province-wide lens to medical staff applicant assessment, to ensure that rigorous and reliable processes are consistently applied across BC. The task group aims to support the due diligence of medical staff organizations at each health authority by identifying best practices to create a "gold standard" for applicant assessment in BC.

The Medical Staff Applicant Assessment task group started its work in January and is anticipated to continue through to December 2019.

Feedback on this article can be submitted to communications@bcmqi.ca