Definition of A Physician Organization (PO)

NOTE: Only a physician organization may seek accreditation/certification via the McGill University, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Office.

The McGill University Office for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) only accredits/certifies activities developed by a Physician Organization (PO). The PO must develop all aspects of a CPD activity, from appointing the Scientific Planning Committee (SPC) members to the evaluation outcome.

The PO and/or SPC must have ultimate authority over all decisions, and must be accountable to ensure compliance with the administrative, financial, educational and ethical accreditation/certification standards as established by CPD/CME regulatory authorities external to McGill University.

As per the National Standard for Support of Accredited CPD Activities (page 9), the definition of a PO is:

a not-for-profit group of health professionals with a formal governance structure, accountable to and serving, among others, its physician members through continuing professional development, provision of health care, and/or research.

The above definition includes the following groups:

  • Faculties of medicine departments or divisions
  • Hospital departments or divisions: Three physicians from the same department that are developing the activity as members of the department are considered to be a PO. If the three physicians are from different departments, the group cannot be equated as a physician organization.
  • Medical societies
  • Medical associations
  • Medical academies
  • Physician research organizations
  • Canadian provincial medical regulatory authorities (MRAs)

The above definition does NOT include the following groups:

  • Hospitals and/or health authorities
  • Pharmaceutical companies or their advisory groups
  • Medical/surgical supply companies
  • Disease-oriented patient advocacy organizations (e.g. Canadian Diabetes Association)
  • Government departments or agencies (e.g. Health Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada)
  • Industry (e.g. pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, etc.)
  • Medical education or communications (MEC) companies
  • 'For-profit' online educators, publishing companies, or simulation companies (e.g. Medscape)
  • Small number of physicians working together to develop educational programming
  • Any other for-profit organizations/ventures

As per the CQDPCM Code of Ethics (page 7), the definition of a PO is:

a for-profit or non-profit organization that has more than one healthcare professional as a member.

The above definition includes the following groups:

  • Educational institutions
  • Medical clinics
  • Professional associations, scientific organizations, and physicians group
  • Faculties of medicine
  • Other medical organizations at the provincial or national level

The Physician Organization must be Canadian or have a Canadian chapter. The scientific planning committee (SPC) may include non-Canadian members if the results of the needs assessment indicate the need.

To determine if the PO meets CPD standards, please answer the questions below:

1. Is the PO a McGill University or McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) unit? If no, see questions 2 to 5.

[  ]  Yes [  ] No

2. Is the PO registered as a not-for-profit Canadian (federal) corporation? The PO may also be registered as a provincial not-for-profit corporation.

[  ] Yes [  ] No

3. Is the PO made up of a group of health professionals accountable to one group of specialists? 

[  ] Yes [  ] No

4. Does the PO have a formal governance structure with official member bylaws?

[  ] Yes [  ] No

5. Does the PO serve its members?

[  ] Yes [  ] No

If you answered yes to questions 1 or 2 to 5, you may be compliant with CPD standards.





* Page Version 08Dec23


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