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​Physicians work to define professional role

Defining the unique value physicians bring to society is a priority topic for delegates attending this year’s CMA General Council meeting.

On Sunday, delegates participated in a moderated education session aimed at providing more context on how physicians can best work in today’s health care system. The closed education session set the stage for a strategic session on professionalism taking place later this week.

Faced with a fast-changing health care system and a reputation that has been challenged in recent years, by that of some other health care professionals, the CMA Board of Directors set up a working group to develop a working paper defining the physician’s unique role.

This document identified three key areas as defining the unique value of physicians — the knowledge physicians hold, the application of that knowledge and accountability.

The importance of these topics was validated by polling of CMA members immediately prior to the meeting.

That survey showed:

  • 91.7 % felt that clinical judgement was the unique value physicians bring to patient care
  • 91. 5% felt it was skills and knowledge

While slightly fewer than half feel other health professionals are eroding the role and reputation of Canadian physicians in society, 49.5% strongly or somewhat agreed that physicians have not adapted quickly enough to the changing expectations of the population.

Following this presentation, the session heard from Dr. Alan Ruddiman, a family physician in the Okanagan Valley and chair of a 2013 Doctors of BC working group on medical professionalism. They also heard from Dom Crolla, a lawyer who shared findings from a Canadian Bar Association report detailing a framework on how lawyers can remain relevant in a changing legal environment — an issue comparable to what physicians are facing.

Armed with these findings, delegates participated in a session aimed at detailing how they can work most appropriately in a team-based health care environment.

Forward any comments about this article to: cmanews@cma.ca.