Defining CPD and Related Terminology

CPD extends beyond traditional continuing medical education, which is perceived to focus on updating medical knowledge. In CPD, practitioners define competencies that they see as relevant to their individual practice needs.

CPD covers subject matter such as doctor-patient communication, interdisciplinary team skills and risk management, as well as other competencies defined by the Royal College’s CanMEDS 2015 Framework. CPD activities utilize a wide variety of education and content delivery formats. To ensure physicians have quality CPD opportunities, Section 1 group learning activities (such as conferences) and Section 3 assessment activities (self-assessment programs and simulation activities) are reviewed and approved by a Royal College-accredited CPD provider in order to be eligible for credit in the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program.

Group learning is a development activity for physicians that confirms or expands areas of knowledge or practice management, to identify potential new therapies or approaches for practice, and to share practice issues or experiences with peers.

Self-assessment programs (SAP) assess knowledge or the application of knowledge in specific areas, topics or domains. Self-assessment programs use structured formats, such as multiple-choice questions, and require participants to select the appropriate response. Participants receive feedback on the answers to provide opportunities to identify areas for improvement and future learning.

Simulation activities/Performance assessments (SIM) simulate real life situations to enable participants to demonstrate and receive feedback on their clinical reasoning, communication, situational awareness, problem solving, performance during simulation activities and (where applicable) their ability to collaborate and work within a healthcare team. Simulation activities reflect a range of options including role playing, use of standardized patients, task trainers, virtual simulation, haptic simulation, theatre simulation or hybrid examples.

A physician organization is defined by the Royal College as a not-for-profit group of health professionals with a formal governance structure, accountable to and serving, among others, its specialist physician members through: continuing professional development, provision of health care, and/or research.

Types of organizations that are NOT typically considered physician organizations:

  • Disease-oriented patient advocacy organizations (e.g. Canadian Diabetes Association)
  • Government departments or agencies (e.g. Health Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada)
  • Industry (e.g. pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, etc)
  • Medical education or communications (MEC) companies (e.g. CME Inc.)
  • For-profit online educators, publishing companies or simulation companies (e.g. Medscape, CAE)
  • Small number of physicians working together to develop educational programming

Co-development is defined by the Royal College as the process by which two or more organizations – at least one of which must be a physician organization – prospectively collaborate to develop and implement an accredited educational activity, learning resource or tool.

Perceived needs are the self-identified learning needs of the target group (i.e., the “wants” of the group). They are subjectively determined and are best exemplified by the phrase, “I know what I don’t know.” Unperceived needs represent discrepancies not perceived by the learners; they are objectively determined and are best exemplified by the phrase, “What I don’t know that I don’t know”. Can J Kidney Health Dis. 2016; 3: 30. Published online 2016 Jun 24.