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NewsBuilding our forward momentum: a look at the MCC projects and achievements in 2023

Building our forward momentum: a look at the MCC projects and achievements in 2023

November 23, 2023

In the June issue of the ECHO Newsletter, we provided an update on the grant-funded projects the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) has been spearheading, all of which focus on streamlined pathways to licensure for candidates and physicians, regardless of where they studied or trained, and enhanced accessibility of our assessments and services. As the year comes to a close and some of the projects are near completion, here is a brief update on these efforts and other endeavors.

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Blueprint renewal project

This year, the MCC undertook a review and revision process for the blueprints of its two large-scale examinations: the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part I and the National Assessment Collaboration (NAC) Examination. With the data gathering now complete, the MCC Blueprint Project team will present to a panel of external subject matter experts at the end of November 2023 to validate and synthesize their findings. Following this session, the team will provide the MCC with recommendations on the proposed realignment of the blueprints to better reflect the current medical education context and a roadmap to implement these changes.

Modernization of the MCCQE Part I

The MCC teams are working on the implementation of preliminary changes to the MCCQE Part I that will be in effect as of April 2025. As mentioned in our previous article, some of the key adjustments of this modernized and optimized exam will include:

  • A shortened exam to ensure a better candidate experience
  • Additional time to answer each question
  • A better balance of testing time and scheduled breaks
  • Removal of the clinical decision-making (CDM) component of the exam

  

The integrity, validity, and reliability of the MCCQE Part I remain steadfast, with multiple-choice questions (MCQs) continuing to assess critical knowledge and clinical decision-making. The planned changes also mean that candidate exam results will be available more quickly.

Further details on these changes will be disseminated to candidates in 2024 and available on mcc.ca.

The National Registry of Physicians (NRP)

Planned for completion at the end of March 2024, the NRP will provide information on all licensed physicians in Canada, encompassing credentials, education, and any disciplinary actions. Partial funding by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Workplace Solutions Program was officially announced in early 2023. Following that announcement, a national working group (NRP working group) was established and has been convening regularly to ensure that the development of the NRP architectural, security, applications, data policies and procedures is on track.

As a centralized platform for sharing essential physician data, this exciting initiative will offer a national snapshot of physicians across the country and is supported by 12 provincial and territorial medical regulatory authorities. A Data Governance Advisory Committee, coming into play in 2024, will provide guidelines for the collection and use of data.

Once established, the NRP will provide time critical and verified information on physicians’ credentials that is readily available and accessible for the purpose of supporting licensing, redeployment during critical periods of need as well as recruitment and retention of physicians in underserved areas.

Redesign of the MCC website

A redesigned mcc.ca will be launched in January 2024. Informed by usability testing with site users, the most exciting changes to the site are the seamless integration of the physiciansapply.ca portal log in into the home page of mcc.ca, user-focused and more intuitive navigation, and a more mobile compatible format.

Key enhancements include:

  • Providing a single bilingual website with access to portals for an improved user experience
  • Streamlining navigation and ensuring better content accessibility
  • Updating the Examination Objectives section

   

NAC Practice-Ready Assessment (PRA)

Two more provinces, Ontario and New Brunswick, are now part of the NAC PRA group, joining seven other participating provinces. Working in collaboration with the PRA programs through the NAC, the MCC ensures the implementation of common standards and tools across the participating provinces.

These two new PRA programs will allow eligible family physicians who have completed their medical training and residency abroad to participate in a practical assessment over a period of 12 weeks, which will evaluate if they have the knowledge, skills and suitability to provide safe care for patients in the province.

A new process for candidates to upload their documents
in their physiciansapply.ca account

To improve efficiency in the services we offer to candidates, we are also making enhancements to the physiciansapply.ca portal. Starting in early 2024, candidates will be able to upload their documents directly into their physiciansapply.ca account when requesting a service or applying for an examination.

2023 MCC Annual Meeting

Held on September 27 and 28, 2023 under the theme “Transforming health care – MCC as a trusted agent for change”, the Annual Meeting and ensuing discussions highlighted the MCC’s unwavering commitment to adapt to the requirements of our changing health care system. The MCC Council, employees, together with our valued partners and interested parties, focused on how to further assist candidates and physicians, regardless of where they have trained, pursue their licenses with the goal of providing safe care to patients in Canada.

What is next for the MCC?

As we take on 2024 with renewed energy, the MCC is gearing up for significant changes. First and foremost, we bid farewell and thanks to Dr. Topps, our outgoing CEO, and welcome Dr. Viren Naik as our new chief executive officer. This transition marks a pivotal moment for our organization, and we are optimistic about the opportunities that lie ahead.

In the coming months, we are committed to wrapping up projects that align with the evolving health care requirements in Canada. Some of these initiatives are on the verge of substantial completion, and we are dedicated to facilitating a smooth transition for our candidates.

As we continue our vital work in physician assessment, we are confident that these changes will contribute to the MCC’s ongoing commitment to achieving the highest level of medical care in Canada.