How GPR changed Dr. Dahl’s mind – and his practice
When Dr. Kenneth Dahl first heard his clinic was up for a Group Practice Review (GPR), he was terrified. His thoughts immediately leapt to areas of his practice that could be improved.
The letter from the College arrived in June 2017, followed by an afternoon visit by a CPSA nurse assessor in July. In October, two physician facilitators headed to Magrath to review the GPR findings with Dr. Dahl and his colleagues, Dr. Kyle Bourne and Dr. Jonathon Tollestrup.
Dr. Dahl’s fears were quickly eased as they sat down with Dr. Monica Weller, his former University of Alberta medical school classmate and a 30-year-physician from Rimbey, and Dr. Leslie Garland of Bellevue.
Dr. Bourne’s sentiments followed a similar path, from tension to relief as they worked through the process from practice improvement to quality assurance. “When they came it was very relaxed, very positive,” said the family doctor who was also born and raised in Magrath, and completed his residency in 2015 before joining the local practice. “And it’s helping us get more cutting edge with our care.”
The October meeting was a collaborative session in the back of the clinic named for Dr. Dahl’s late father, Dr. Mark Dahl, who built the facility in 1988 when his son joined him in the practice.
The focus was to work on an action plan for the Dahl Clinic to get an electronic medical record (EMR), as well as improve the tracking of lab results and consultations. The group reviewed the relevant standards of practice together, and planned ways to enhance different functions. Dr. Dahl said he was equipped with resources and information to help the practice improve their service of patients in Magrath.
He was glad Dr. Weller was part of the process. “I couldn’t have asked for better representation from the College,” said Dr. Dahl. “She’s been in our position.”
Dr. Weller joined the CPSA in 2015, just as the College was starting to build its new competence program. She enjoys her interactions with physicians around Alberta, and learning how every practice is unique in how it adapts to its patients and location.
“That’s what I find most fascinating – the people and the stories they tell you,” she said, adding she came from an innovative environment at the Rimbey Medical Clinic.
Dr. Weller said taking time from day-to-day routine to look at practice with a third party offers the opportunity to streamline processes. She was impressed with the Magrath team’s willingness to embrace the immediate learning curve for the sake of patient care and long-term gains.
Dr. Weller also affirmed the CPSA’s function in supporting doctors to have the best practice possible. “If we can help more physicians understand that role of the regulator, it helps more physicians become engaged in the actions of the regulator,” she said.
The GPR story is ongoing in Magrath as Dr. Dahl and his team continue to progress in transferring their paper records to electronic.
His message to other physicians curious about the GPR is to not be nervous because the CPSA is there to help, not condemn. “It was very constructive,” said Dr. Dahl. “It’s been a good experience. Don’t fear it, just enjoy it and find it helpful.”