OBJECTIVE: To assess the clinical performance of a representative non-volunteer sample of family physicians in metropolitan Montreal, Que.
DESIGN: Assessment of clinical performance was based on inspection visits to offices, peer review of medical records, and chart-stimulated recall interviews. The procedure was the one usually followed by the Professional Inspection Committee of the Collège des médecins du Québec.
SETTING: Family physicians' practices in metropolitan Montreal.
PARTICIPANTS: One hundred randomly selected family physicians.
INTERVENTIONS: For each physician, 30 randomly chosen patient charts with data on three to five previous visits were reviewed using explicit criteria and a standard scale using global scores from 1 to 5 (unacceptable to excellent).
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Scores were assigned for office practices; record keeping; number of continuing medical education (CME) activities; and quality of clinical performance assessed in terms of investigation plan, diagnostic accuracy, treatment plan, and relevance of care.
RESULTS: Overall performance was judged to be good to excellent for 98% of physicians in their private practices; for 90% of physicians concerning CME activities; for 94% of physicians concerning their clinical performance in terms of quality of care; and for 75% of physicians as to record keeping. There was a link between record keeping and quality of care as well as between the number of CME activities and quality of care.
CONCLUSION: The overall clinical performance of family physicians in the greater Montreal region is excellent.
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