In February 2014, the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) launched a new functionality on physiciansapply.ca that allows candidates to submit an online Application for Medical Registration (AMR) with participating Medical Regulatory Authorities (MRAs) in Canada. The College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta was the first MRA to come on board. Since then, the MCC has worked collaboratively with various provincial and territorial MRAs to provide physicians access to the AMR through their physiciansapply.ca account.
The MCC is pleased to confirm that 11 of the 13 Canadian jurisdictions are now using the AMR in physiciansapply.ca, the latest organizations to onboard being the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick (CPSNB) and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO).
A centralized application
The AMR was developed by the MCC in collaboration with the Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada (FMRAC) and its members. Its objective is to standardize the process that physicians undergo when applying for licensure in Canada. “In addition to providing a similar look and feel for physicians submitting applications in different provinces and territories, it also contains a substantial set of questions that are common to all or some of the MRAs,” says Mr. Pierre Lemay, Director of the MCC’s Repository and Registration Centre. He adds that previously-entered information is automatically prepopulated in the next application when common questions apply, helping physicians save valuable time when undergoing the process in different jurisdictions.
Another advantage for physicians completing this application through their physiciansapply.ca account is that their credentials, examination results and other documents are already stored in the centralized repository. “With the document sharing functionality,” explains Mr. Lemay, “physicians and MRAs benefit from a simple and accessible service that supports the AMR.”
“The long-term vision for this project was to have all physicians use the same tool and upload their information in a common system,” confirms Ms. Corinne de Bruin, Executive Director of Registration Services at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia (CPSBC) and Chair of the AMR User Group. While the licensing process stays the same for participating MRAs, “the benefit is that we can verify the data before processing the application,” says Ms. de Bruin. Thanks to this tool, the MRAs also have a better way to keep track of incoming applications.
An ongoing collaboration
To make this initiative a success, the MCC and MRAs collaborate to ensure that applications include information that is truly useful to the various jurisdictions. “In the months leading to the College’s onboarding, we compared the fields and background questions that the MCC had been using with those in our database to ensure that our application was in line with the larger process,” indicates Ms. Clarice McGrath, Administrative Assistant at CPSNB. “Working with the MCC staff on this project was incredible. They were supportive at each step in the process and very cooperative in developing new functionality to meet our unique requirements,” affirms Ms. McGrath.
Throughout the different phases, distinct working groups were formed to develop and implement the functionality. In April 2018, the AMR User Group met for the first time. Its objective is to represent participating MRAs and ensure ongoing improvement of the AMR. “This is a forum where we can talk about enhancements to the system. It allows us to ask the question: Are there different ways to address and resolve the issues we encounter?” says Ms. de Bruin. The group meets once a year to discuss and prioritize AMR changes. “The MCC is very responsive in the way that they engage with the AMR User Group. They make us think about different topics and ask probing questions,” adds Ms. de Bruin.
A growing initiative
Over the past few years, the AMR has become an effective tool for physicians and MRAs alike. The MCC looks forward to having all jurisdictions use the system to enhance the process for physicians who submit licensure applications. “I am appreciative of the collaboration that we have throughout Canada and the enthusiasm that MRAs and FMRAC have for the AMR system. This enthusiasm positively energizes the MCC,” says Mr. Lemay. He indicates that there will always be opportunities for improvements and that the AMR system will continue to evolve to better serve its users.