Family physicians in Saskatchewan now have access to even more insights into their patient populations thanks to the most recent iteration of the BestPractice Primary Care panel reports. Released on June 22, 2021, this latest version of panel reports includes several updated and new indicators, as well as an additional education program.
Sonia Vanderby, a research associate with the Saskatchewan Health Quality Council (HQC), explained the updates are based on feedback received from physicians.
“BestPractice panel reports were designed by physicians for physicians to help support clinical quality improvement. The indicators, visualizations and text captured in the panel reports is decided on by an expert panel of family physicians,” Vanderby said. “We update what’s included in the panel reports to ensure we’re providing physicians with timely data and sharing relevant and useful information.”
BestPractice panel reports are a resource Saskatchewan family physicians can choose to receive that provide them with information on their patient populations, including demographic data, the strength of patients’ relationship with their physicians and their use of other health services. The types and management of health conditions and prescription drug use among those patients are also included.
Family physicians can choose to enroll in the free program and will automatically receive their updated personalized report as they become available.
The indicators are calculated based on administrative data and each panel report is unique to the physician who requests them.
As part of the recent updates, each physician’s local health network is now used as a comparator as opposed to being compared to provincial data, new metrics relating to prescription drugs and chronic disease management are included, and more granular categories or metrics are being used for topics like disease burden.
A two-stage education program was also added this year to run alongside the report to help physicians read and make use of their reports.
The first is an interpretation stage that functions like a user guide and explains how to read each of the indicators included in the report. The second stage includes an investigation guide that invites participating physicians to delve deeper into the information on each page and consider what their results are telling them.
For each stage, physicians have a choice to either download an independent learning guide or they can sign up to participate in webinars.
Vanderby explained the stages provide the opportunity for physicians to gain professional development credits.
“This is a great opportunity for them to get Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credits. We’ve been certified to give up to 51 Mainpro+ credits, which is pretty significant for physicians,” she said. “Additional resources are also available on the website for physicians who want a little more detail, such as the entire technical appendix outlining how each indicator was calculated, and frequently-asked questions.”
Vanderby explained the reports typically have encouraging indicators that help reinforce some of the great work being done by Saskatchewan physicians and can also show where some clinical quality improvements can be made.
“Comparators with physicians practicing in your network are included in the reports, which can give you a sense of where you rank in relation to people in a comparable geographic area,” she said, adding it’s important each physician look at the indicators with an understanding of their own context. “Even physicians working in the same health network might be seeing a very different patient population – one might see mostly pediatric patients, another might be mostly seeing seniors. When looking at the reports, physicians need to remember that their context might be different.”
The reports were developed by HQC with support from the Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA), the Saskatchewan College of Family Physicians, and the Department of Academic Family Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. Data for the panel reports were extracted from administrative health databases at the Ministry of Health and eHealth Saskatchewan under a data-sharing agreement. eHealth Saskatchewan also contributed technology, the coding and infrastructure support to this work.
How to sign up
The process to sign up for BestPractice panel reports is simple: visit bestpracticesask.ca and click the “Get my report” button. Physicians will have to enter their name, email address, and billing code and within two weeks, their panel report will be generated and sent to their email. Once enrolled in the program, physicians will automatically receive their updated personalized report as they become available.
For more information about the BestPractice panel reports, visit https://www.hqc.sk.ca/health-system-performance/physician-panel-reports.