IMGs will benefit from Alberta’s new practice-readiness assessment proces

The educational and medical infrastructure in other countries are often noticeably different than Alberta’s. As a result the College now requires International Medical Graduates (IMGs) to complete practice-readiness assessments related to their clinical knowledge and skills to determine whether they are eligible for a licence or on a provisional register. Recognizing the need for fairness, using an efficient and standardized assessment program for these applicants, the College has developed the Provincial Physician Assessment Program, in coordination with Alberta Health Services (AHS) and other responsible parties with vested interest.
At present, the assessments are arranged by sponsored organizations such as AHS as well as a few other operators, but a possible conflict of interest exists in having a sponsor suggest and reimburse the assessor. A lack of formal training and support for assessors, coupled with the infrequency with which they perform assessments, can be a further detriment to the process. The new program addresses these issues by offering a highly transparent and top-notch practice-readiness assessment process which benefits both assessors and IMGs. The College selects the physicians who are to conduct assessments and provide them with training, continued support and specially developed tools that gauge all elements of physician competency. The College also works with the Faculties of Medicine at the University of Alberta and University of Calgary to develop a curriculum for assessors, and is in talks with the Alberta College of Family Physicians to be granted Mainpro credits for the training.
Implementation of the new assessment program begins 2011 and will continue throughout the year, as the new competency-based assessment tools are finalized and a pool of physician assessors areidentified and trained. More specifically, the College will undertake the role of selecting and compensating assessors for IMG applicants who receive a letter after April 1, 2011 confirming their eligibility for licensure on the Provisional Register – Physician Undergoing Assessment. Sponsors will then be invoiced for the assessment costs.