The Fraser Northwest (FNW) Division of Family Practice started an in-person monthly event back in the fall of 2019, that would bring a community specialist together with their members. The “Ask the Expert” series is exactly as it reads – an opportunity for family physicians and nurse practitioners from across the province to ask a specialist their burning questions. These sessions have evolved into virtual events, available to all practitioners across the province, attracting upwards of 100 participants. These sessions allow FNW Division to achieve its goal to provide community physicians and other primary care providers opportunities to connect with specialists that serve their patients and to learn about topics that pertain to their practice.

The series is largely supported by Allison James, Executive Administrator. She connects with the specialist in advance to prepare a bio and introductory scripts for the board member session facilitator, manages registration, and prepares and launches event surveys. Allison understands how to support an engaging environment at every step by inviting guest specialists to add thoughtful survey questions and during sessions, she monitors the chat and offers technical support to audience members when necessary.

Given the FNW Division and their data driven culture, they walk the talk. Each session utilizes a pre and post survey to capture the impact, uptake of new knowledge and other topics for future sessions. Incorporation of attendee feedback is a big factor in their success, as they are now booking up to one year in advance, which validates the popularity. The post session surveys help to sustain the interest, learning what works and what is less impactful, leading to improvement over time.

“This program is a great example of a quality improvement approach used by the Division for continuous improvement for the sessions offered for members, ensuring efforts reflect what members want,” shares Allison James.

Where possible, the expert and community members can review community baselines to give context to the selected topic. Discussion organically evolves, often resulting in conversation of where they’d like their collective aggregates to trend or how content from the session can directly influence improvement in one’s own practice. This is exactly what happened at a recent Ask The Expert session, where a FNW Division member, Dr. John Yap, shared aggregate COPD measures from the HDC Discover application. The measure review provided a baseline and context for the discussion, which informed all attendees of where the collective is starting from.

A sample of Dr. Yap’s COPD aggregate measures, shared at a recent Ask The Expert session, providing his peers with a baseline for discussion.

“I encourage Family Physicians to participate in HDC’s network, so that they can compare their panels to the provincial aggregates, ensuring their patient mix reflects the work-load and responsibility they are burdened with,” explains Dr. Yap. “For instance, if you have an average practice, but have 20% of your patients with COPD, there may be some work you need to do to ensure this is accurate.  If you subspecialize in only respiratory disorders, your aggregates would obviously reflect this.  Alternatively, if you only have 0.5% of COPD patients in your panel, you may need to take a closer look, as your COPD panel size may be much smaller than what you think.”

HDC supports and encourages family physicians and nurse practitioners to review their HDC Discover data in preparation of these sessions to be more familiar with their own individual practice. One’s individual aggregates, in comparison to the community’s, adds additional context to the educational content, increasing the relevance of the discussion. While this review is not a prerequisite for attendance, it offers additional insight for attendees, and an enhanced understanding of how their practice contributes to the community.

The FNW Division has collected a list of past recordings and generated a list of future topics that combine clinical education and where possible, community data to encourage curiosity and practice reflection. This allows one to look at the practice holistically, and step back from the day to day or patient to patient encounters. Members can identify areas where they excel and can share their successes with their colleagues, or identify areas that might benefit from increased attention and can learn from their colleagues. These rich discussions are relevant across family practices and contribute to FNW Division’s culture as a vibrant, data-informed and engaged community.

HDC is proud to support the Ask the Expert series. Visit the Fraser Northwest Division’s website to learn more about their physician and patient resources.

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