In 2014, the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto became the first Psychiatry department to become an Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Aligning and Educating for Quality (ae4Q) program site. The AAMC ae4Q supports institutions in aligning continuing education with quality improvement (QI) initiatives. The AAMC ae4Q site program identified current gaps in the alignment of continuing professional development (CPD) and QI in the department. As a result, a national qualitative study was conducted to better understand the national landscape of CPD and QI integration in mental health and explore perspectives of Psychiatry leaders and Psychiatry CPD leads in Canada. The study results highlighted distinct features of CPD and QI mental health including a shared belief that QI and CPD outcomes were measurable and uncertainty about how these areas of mental health could be aligned in our current context. Training in QI was felt to be an instrumental initial step toward integrating CPD and QI in Psychiatry.
The emerging framework served as a guide to the Department of Psychiatry continuing professional and practice development (CPPD) strategic efforts. Following this study, a series of CPPD activities have aimed to bridge gaps in the alignment of CPD and QI through increased support for faculty QI training, creation of a QI culture through quality specific learning activities (e.g. morbidity and mortality rounds in mental health), and the development of performance-based CPD activities to address practice gaps related to mental health quality of care.
Additional research is underway to examine the relationship of QI and CPD at the level of hospital Psychiatry departments to further enhance alignment with university efforts.