CanERA: Improving residency education, together
Canada’s new postgraduate medical accreditation system, called CanERA, will launch in July after years of fruitful collaboration among the Royal College, the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CPFC) and the Collège des médecins du Québec (CMQ).
The three Canadian Residency Accreditation Consortium (CanRAC) colleges are responsible for maintaining high-level national standards for the evaluation and accreditation of Canadian postgraduate medical training and residency programs at Canada’s 17 medical schools.
CanRAC began to plan reforms for the accreditation system in 2013 based on feedback it had received from residency accreditation stakeholders, and in light of changes underway in medical education, such as competency based medical education. Among CanRAC’s aims for CanERA (which stands for Canadian Excellence in Residency Accreditation) are to ensure that residency education prepares residents to meet the needs of their populations into the future. CanERA is part of the Royal College’s larger Competence by Design (CBD) strategic priority.
“Developing CanERA has been a unique opportunity for the colleges to share a common vision about what accreditation must be so that Canadians have the best possible physicians,” said Dr. Louise Samson, Assistant Director, Medical Education Division at the Collège des médecins du Québec. “We have achieved this success with a great deal of joy and collaboration.”
The transition to CanERA has been complex. It has moved through three “prototype” phases, where the new system’s principles and processes are tested, evaluated and refined in an iterative way over several accreditation reviews.
“At the CanRAC collaborative summit in 2015, CanRAC heard from the postgraduate deans that the implementation of CanERA would succeed only after appropriate testing and evaluation had taken place,” said Sarah Taber, Associate Director, Education Strategy and Accreditation at the Royal College. The three colleges worked together to develop prototype phases that would fulfill that requirement. This “reset” lengthened the period of implementation and meant running two systems for longer, but was well worth the investment.
“Not only did the three colleges work well together to develop and execute this new implementation plan, but we also showed that we have fundamental shared values around stakeholder engagement,” said Taber. “We’ve heard positive feedback about how effective the collaboration has been.”
Dr. Richard Almond, Director of Accreditation at the CPFC, said the CanMEDS Collaborator Role has been modeled effectively by leadership at the three colleges. “That has affected the interactions between the colleges to the point where, in this case, we have had no conflict.” For example, said Dr. Almond, on teleconferences it was hard to tell who was talking based on the content of what they were saying. “Our endpoint agendas have been shared by everyone.”
This collaborative approach has also characterized CanRAC’s development of the Canadian Accreditation Management System (CanAMS) – the digital platform that supports CanERA. By July 1, 2019, all 17 Canadian postgraduate medical school will have full access to CanAMS.
Want to learn more? Visit www.canera.ca