While we may have weathered the worst of the storm, the ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic can still be felt today as we struggle to combat a crippling shortage of physicians, vulnerabilities in our health care system, and additional challenges faced by medical education, regulatory and assessment communities.
In the wake of these unforeseen challenges, the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) is once again on the cusp of transformative change. The past year was marked by a spirit of shared commitment to the reshaping of health care, with a renewed focus on innovative approaches to make Canada’s health care system even more resilient.
The theme of the 2023 Annual Meeting, “Transforming health care – MCC as a trusted agent for change”, encapsulated our dedication to charting a new and improved path forward.
Once again, this year, the MCC and our Council members fostered meaningful in-person connections with interested parties and discussed timely topics regarding our organization’s activities and the ever-evolving health care landscape.
In addition to governance changes, which included welcoming a new CEO, Council president and vice president, participants were keen to explore the MCC’s evolving role in culturally safe health care, integrating higher numbers of international medical graduates (IMGs) into the Canadian health care system and optimizing data management.
Guided by the leadership of the many health care professionals and organizations present, we collectively aimed to determine how, as an organization, the MCC can support the transformation of health care in Canada. To do so, we engaged all attendees in six thoughtful discussion sessions to answer the following pertinent questions directly related to our work:
During these sessions, co-facilitated by MCC Council members and the Executive Team, participants zeroed in on current data uses and engaged in an exploration of additional data that would be helpful for policy makers and regulators when making decisions to support improvements to the distribution of the physician workforce.
A central focus was the ever-evolving health care environment, and the importance of physician assessment aligning with the changing needs of patients and health care professionals while upholding quality assurance and patient safety. Participants took an in-depth look at the potential role of the MCC in bolstering the Canadian health care system and how our organization can act as an enabler and research coordinator, streamline licensure pathways, refine assessment processes, and address the evolving landscape of health care technology.
The need to break down current challenges and barriers faced by IMGs and internationally trained physicians (ITPs) who wish to enter the Canadian health care system emerged. Participants agreed that this process must be specifically designed to support the transition to full licensure. A unanimous sentiment that the IMG population is not a homogenous group was woven throughout many of the discussions and provided further clarity regarding how the MCC can best leverage collected data to better identify skill gaps and set IMGs up for success.
Finally, technology’s pivotal role in advancing the MCC’s strategic goals was at the forefront of many discussions. It was agreed that technological advancements, especially the integration of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML), will be instrumental in helping the MCC rise to the challenge of being an agent of health care transformation.
The MCC is grateful for the engagement and candor of those who participated in the discussions at the 2023 Annual Meeting. We acknowledge the importance of working together to address the changes and challenges faced by the health care sector.
To build on the momentum from the 2023 Annual Meeting, these discussions will inform the strategic planning process that the MCC will undertake in the coming months. A summary that includes key takeaways and themes from these discussions will be shared with participants and published on the MCC website in the new year.