What does the future look like for the Medical Council of Canada (MCC)? That’s one of the questions that the MCC will try to answer in setting strategic direction for a five-year period beginning in 2019.
“This is the second time in six years that the MCC has set strategic direction systematically,” explained Cindy Streefkerk, MCC’s Chief Strategic Development Officer. The first was with the Assessment Review Task Force, which made recommendations to the Council in 2011. That direction proved transformative, launching the Blueprint for the evolution of assessment. Now, said Ms. Streefkerk, those recommendations are close to being accomplished.
So, the MCC’s Executive Board has asked for a new strategic direction-setting exercise. “Strategic direction informs a lot of MCC’s decision-making,” said Ms. Streefkerk. That’s why it’s important that the MCC gets it right.
To start the process, the MCC looked at key trends facing the organization and its environment. In-depth interviews were conducted with 22 stakeholders: chairs of standing committees, members of the Executive Board, other selected Council members and partner organizations. As well, all members of Council answered an online survey.
The results were part of the exercise undertaken by the Executive Board at its retreat held early this year to look at trends, risks, considerations and challenges. An environmental scan of other medical organizations, both national and international, also fed into these discussions.
Five themes have emerged from the process to date. In the assessment area, two main themes are relevant, clinical skills and in-practice assessment. Another theme is the MCC’s growing role in collecting, disseminating and managing information, exemplified by the Physician Credentials Repository. Strategic alliances emerged as a theme, as the MCC cannot perform any of its roles alone. Partnership with other national and international organizations is vital to the future of effective assessment in Canada. Finally, the MCC will continue to strive for organizational excellence, to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
The MCC’s senior leadership met to consider these directions, and possible initiatives to achieve them. The directions were again considered by the Executive Board at their meeting in April. And at this year’s Annual Meeting, held in September in Ottawa, Council devoted its educational session to hearing about public expectations, the future role of the physician and educational changes and its morning’s workshops reviewing elements of the draft strategic directions. Participants discussed the MCC’s future strategic direction in clinical skills and in-practice assessment. They also identified potential strategic alliances, and benefits and risks of the proposed strategic directions. “The Annual Meeting was an opportunity for all of us as physicians, medical educators, regulators and learners to come together and reflect on our current landscape to align our activities and future strategic plans” said Dr. Ian Bowmer, MCC’s Executive Director.
The strategic directions now head back to the Executive Board for more discussions in 2018. The Board will look at initiatives to meet the directions, as well as the resources and planning needed for these initiatives. The final step is Council approval of the strategic directions at its Annual Meeting in 2018.
Chief Strategic Development Officer, MCC
The strategic direction guiding the MCC since 2011 has helped the organization move quickly to respond to changes in medical education and practice. With new direction in place, the MCC will be poised for action for the next three to five years.