Skip to Main Content
Follow us

How to turn your consultations into MOC learning opportunities

By Susan Brien, MD, FRCSC

Did you know that you can leverage your consultations and communications with family physicians for MOC Program credits?

Dr. Susan Brien

I was inspired by a recent e-consultation experience to think differently and more broadly about the diagnosis of my patients, and also my pursuit of continuing professional development.

Here’s my tip for how you can turn your everyday consultations into learning opportunities and claim valuable MOC credits.

Learning always starts with a question

Family physicians always ask interesting questions that compel us to reflect outside of our usual clinical areas of expertise. For example, as a community neurosurgeon, I’m frequently consulted on brain tumours, spine trauma and chronic diseases of the neck, among other items; however, I sometimes receive questions that I look forward to using to refresh my knowledge. For example, a question about whether an 18-year-old patient with a 20 degree curve in their spine should have further imaging or bracing, afforded me an opportunity to review the literature and refresh my knowledge about a topic adjacent to my area of expertise. I was able to share that learning with the referring physician.

How e-consultation facilitates shared learning

During a traditional consultation, I typically limit my response to an answer and my opinion. However, participating as a learner in my province’s e-consultation program inspired me to do more with this particular question. Thanks to the e-consultation’s technology and functionality, it was easy to share my learnings with the referring physician. This included references to up-to-date literature and pictures that I uncovered during my research. Unlike in the traditional consultation format, which is much more transactional in nature, there was learning on both sides.

Many provinces are rolling out e-consultation programs. These private, secure platforms make it easier for family physicians to ask a specialist about a case — but, with a little extra effort, you can engage in this same form of shared learning, even without an e-consultation platform.

One of the unexpected benefits of consulting with family physicians is that the questions often require you to diverge from the edges of your practice and expand your learning in novel and interesting ways. Thanks to this particular question, I was able to expand my personal base of knowledge to include more on imaging and bracing. I was also able to claim MOC Program Section 2 self-learning credits for my research.

I hope that your own (e-) consultations bring you similar opportunities for engagement, divergent thinking and continuing professional development.

How to claim consultation credits in three easy steps

  1. Transform questions into your own opportunity for continuing professional development: The formulation of a question is an important starting point for all continuing professional development. Questions coming from family physicians are often wonderfully random and tangential to your scope of practice. Consider them an opportunity to delve into a corner of the literature you don’t normally peruse and learn something new.
  2. Create a teachable moment by sharing an educational piece: Provide a 10-minute just-in-time learning opportunity to the family physician along with your answer. Refer them to a paper or share and explain an image. Adopting their question, reviewing the latest literature and summarizing the answer with an educational mindset will benefit you as much as them.
  3. Claim MOC credits: You can claim self-learning credits for one credit per article or 0.5 credits per Internet search. If the family physician's question inspires a need, problem, issue or goal related to your own professional practice, you can expand it into a Personal Learning Project for two credits per hour.

Note: An earlier version of this article used the term “general practitioner” (or GP) in place of “family physician.” We have updated the text to reflect the term preferred by the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

Back to Dialogue homepage

We gave our directory a facelift, plus two other changes you’ll notice

MOC Tip of the Month

The Royal College has just completed a significant technology upgrade. Improvements will make it easier to maintain, reduce our service provider costs and leverage Royal College investment in a robust Information Technology (IT) platform.

Most of the changes are behind the scenes; however, three are visible on the website:

  • Information by Discipline (also known as IBD) is a document management platform. It is accessible via the Royal College website. It houses specialty-specific information including accreditation standards, support materials for Competence by Design and Areas of Focused Competence. Users of IBD will experience a more user-friendly section with a new interface, improved content organization and better search.
  • The website section that houses Exam Results is more intuitive for users. It is now easier to access with a single sign-on for exam candidates. Exam results will also be available for five years, effective immediately.
  • The Royal College Directory has a new interface that makes it easier to use.

Strengthening and streamlining our IT infrastructure reflects our commitment to the responsible stewardship of our resources and operational effectiveness. It also helps us meet our members’ needs.

Back to Dialogue homepage

Call for 2019 Mentor of the Year, Prix d’excellence – Specialist of the Year

Submit a nomination for two of our most prominent regional awards:

Nomination deadline: Friday, March 8, 2019

If you have a deserving colleague, consider nominating him or her for one of these honours. These awards are presented each year to recipients from each of our five regions.

Region 1British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon, Northwest Territories
Region 2Saskatchewan and Manitoba
Region 3Ontario and Nunavut
Region 4Quebec
Region 5Atlantic Canada


About these regional awards

The Mentor of the Year award recognizes Fellows who have had a significant impact on the career development of students, residents and/or colleagues. The award is open to all Fellows of the Royal College working in any practice setting (e.g. private practice, community or academic). More »

The Prix d’excellence – Specialist of the Year award recognizes Fellows who have made significant contributions in providing care to their patients and service to the community in which they practice. The nominee must be a role model for excellence in patient care. The award is open to all Fellows of the Royal College working in any practice setting. More »

Back to Dialogue homepage

Research funding: Apply by March 7, 2019

Applications are due Thursday, March 7, 2019, for two categories of Royal College research grants:

If you are a medical educator or fulltime researcher, please consider applying for one of these competitive grants.

Note: To be eligible, a Royal College Fellow must contribute to the research project.

Questions: Please email

About these research grants

The Medical Education Research Grant supports quality research in Canada that will advance the field of postgraduate medical education or continuing professional development. This grant is valued between $5,000 and $50,000 per project. Learn more or submit an application »

The Royal College/AMS CanMEDS Research Development Grant supports research development or implementation of projects that advance competency-based training and assessment for specialists. This year’s special call-to-caring seeks proposals that advance compassion and caring as realized through the intrinsic CanMEDS roles, in order to realize the mission of social accountability in the training and continuing professional development of specialists. This grant is valued at up to $25,000 per project. Learn more or submit an application »

Back to Dialogue homepage

“The Evolution of Surgical Simulation” selected as winning essay — read it now

Dr. Roy Kazan has been awarded the 2019 Peter Warren Essay Prize in History of Medicine.

He was rewarded for “The Evolution of Surgical Simulation: The Current State and Future Avenues for Plastic Surgery Education.” Dr. Kazan was lead author on this paper, which was published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (February 2017).

Access Dr. Kazan’s winning paper on PubMed (fees may apply)

Brief biography of Dr. Kazan

Dr. Roy Kazan

Dr. Kazan is a resident in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at McGill University. He completed his doctoral studies in Experimental Surgery at the Montreal General Hospital. During this time, he obtained the Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation grant. He also received a Canadian Institutes of Health Research award. His research led to the development of the first breast augmentation simulator, under the supervision of Dr. Mirko Gilardino and Dr. Thomas Hemmerling. Dr. Kazan has presented his work to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons. His long-term goals are to practise in a university hospital and maintain a research academic career.

Back to Dialogue homepage

Three cheers for two newly accredited sim centres

Two Canadian simulation programs have been accredited:

  1. Programme de simulation de l’Institut du Savoir Montfort (Ottawa, Ont.)
  2. Programme de simulation de la Faculté des sciences infirmières de l’Université de Montréal

Their accreditation cycle started in January 2019.

In total, 20 programs have now been accredited by the Royal College.

About simulation accreditation

Simulation programs that are accredited by the Royal College gain national recognition thanks to a rigorous peer-review process. Accredited programs meet our high standards in administration, education and ethics. Learn more about the accreditation of simulation programs.

Did you know? Simulation-based learning can be a great source of MOC credits! Learn how you can “Visit a sim centre to reveal more Section 3 credit opportunities” in this MOC Tip by Dr. Glenn Posner, FRCSC.

Back to Dialogue homepage

Members in the news

Doctor walking down a hospital hallway

“The program has the potential to significantly support the mental health of children and youth by enhancing general physicians’ skills to intervene early in psychiatric concerns,” — Marilyn Baetz, MD, FRCPC (“Sask. doctors building skills for treating youth with mental health conditions,” Global News)

“I think ‘patchwork’ is a good word to use to describe it,” — Vinita Dubey, MD, FRCPC (“Canada could see large amount of measles outbreaks, health experts warn,” The Globe and Mail)

"This technology applied in the big toe has been described by my American colleagues as a game-changer," — Mark Glazebrook, MD, FRCSC (“Synthetic implant a 'game-changer' for arthritis of big toe: Canadian surgeon,” CTV News). Tim Daniels, MD, FRCSC, is also quoted.

“This technology could have important applications in low-resource settings,” — Ivar Mendez, MD, FRCSC (“DR. IVAR MENDEZ: How robots are helping doctors save lives in the Canadian North,” The Chronicle Herald)

“People throughout B.C. with Parkinson’s disease will benefit from expanded access to deep brain stimulation procedures,” — Gary Redekop, MD, FRCSC (“People with Parkinson’s disease set to receive better deep brain stimulation access,” Global News)

“We have had some 24-hour periods where we have had 12 heart attacks coming in on top of the regularly scheduled cases,” — Gerald Simkus, MDCM, FRCPC (“Hope in a heartbeat: Royal Columbian Hospital serves as the region’s emergency room for the heart,” Vancouver Sun *Sponsored content)

“We were trying to come up with a risk score to predict who was at risk of doing poorly so we could be more accurate in identifying those who needed admission,” — Ian Steill, MD, FRCPC (“Ottawa doctor has the tool to help emergency room physicians make tough decisions,” Ottawa Citizen)

“We are talking about injections that sometimes cost between five and 10 thousand dollars per year…. [This new drug] costs less than 50 cents a day,” — Jean-Claude Tardif, MD, FRCPCCrise cardiaque: un médicament peu coûteux pourrait prévenir la récidive, » La Presse)

“There are a number of ways the brain reacts, and the older brain doesn’t take it as well,” — Charles Tator, MD, FRCPC (“Adonis Stevenson’s injury raises questions about boxing and the middle-aged brain,” Toronto Star)

“When I saw him, it’s been four years now, I used a new immune laboratory that I set up and I immediately saw that he was missing a lot of white blood cells,” — Donald Vinh, MD, FRCPCUn nouveau succès pour le «Dr House du Québec », » La Presse)

Our congratulations

Saroj Saigal, MBBS, FRCPC, was named the recipient for 2018 of the Virginia Apgar Award by the American Academy of Paediatrics.

Three Fellows have been newly named members of the Order of Canada: Hélène Boisjoly, CM, MD, FRCSC; Thomas Dignan, CM, FRCPSC (Hon), OOnt; and Ross D. Feldman, CM, MD, FRCPC.

Back to Dialogue homepage

In memoriam


Charles (Charlie) Arthur Brown, MD, FRCPC, died on December 13, 2018, in Kentville, N.S., at age 85. Dr. Brown was certified by the Royal College in Pediatrics in 1969. Uniquely, he was the last chief resident at the Halifax Children’s Hospital and first at the IWK Health Centre. Read more about Dr. Brown.

Eng Chin Cheah, MD, FRCPC, died on October 18, 2018, in North York, Ont., at age 78. Dr. Cheah was certified by the Royal College in Pediatrics in 1971. A native of Malaysia, he earned his medical degree in Taiwan. For close to 40 years, he practised in Oshawa, Ont. Read more about Dr. Cheah.

Laurence Linn Day, MD, FRCPC, died on October 3, 2018, in St. Catharines, Ont., at age 86. Dr. Day was certified by the Royal College in General Pathology in 1971. For years, he practised at both the Hotel Dieu and St. Catharines General hospitals. Read more about Dr. Day.

Fernand Desrosiers, MC, FRCSC, died on October 24, 2018, in Quebec, Que., at age 87. Dr. Desrosiers was certified by the Royal College in General Surgery in 1959. He graduated with his medical degree from the University of Laval in 1955. Read more about Dr. Desrosiers (in French).

Peter R. Galbraith, MDCM, FRCPC, died on October 20, 2018, in Kingston, Ont., at age 86. Dr. Galbraith was certified by the Royal College in Internal Medicine in 1962. He was a founding member of the Canadian Hematology Society and recipient of several teaching awards. Read more about Dr. Galbraith (second in list).

Nobby Chipo Mambo, MBChB, FRCPC, died on November 18, 2018, in League City, TX, USA, at age 74. Dr. Mambo was certified by the Royal College in Anatomical Pathology in 1976. At the time of his death, he was deputy chief medical examiner at the Galveston County Medical Examiner’s Office. Read more about Dr. Mambo.

Frederick G.W. Marson, MBChB, FRCPC, died on November 15, 2018, in Orillia, Ont., at age 96. Dr. Marson was certified by the Royal College in Internal Medicine in 1957. He earned his medical degree in the United Kingdom at the University of Birmingham in 1944.

Bohdan Marynowski, MD, FRCPC, died on October 19, 2018, in Halifax, N.S., at age 76. Dr. Marynowski was certified by the Royal College in Neurology in 1976. He earned his medical degree from the University of Alberta in 1965.

Paul Max, MD, FRCPC, died on December 1, 2018, in Toronto, Ont., at age 86. Dr. Max was certified by the Royal College in Psychiatry in 1962. He is remembered as a caring and valued colleague. He was known for his mentorship and insightfulness. Read more about Dr. Max.

J. Kenneth (Ken) Milne, MD, FRCSC, died on November 20, 2018, in London, Ont., at age 79. Dr. Milne was certified by the Royal College in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1970. Throughout 29 years of clinical practice, he dedicated himself to the issues of women’s health and safety. He was a long-serving volunteer. He sat on numerous committees of the Royal College, aimed at upholding the high examination standards in his specialty discipline. Read more about Dr. Milne.

David Orton Mutch, MDCM, FRCSC, died on October 17, 2018, in Saint-André-d’Argenteuil, Que., at age 70. Dr. Mutch was certified by the Royal College in General Surgery in 1982. He earned his medical degree from the University of McGill’s medical school in 1975. Read more about Dr. Mutch.

Len Ralley, MD, FRCPC, died on November 20, 2018, in Toronto Ont., at age 88. Dr. Ralley was certified by the Royal College in Psychiatry in 1963. For many years, he served in private practice in the Toronto area.

Paul Eugène Sirois, MD, FRCPC, died on October 15, 2018, in Gatineau, Que., at age 93. Dr. Sirois was certified by the Royal College in Anesthesiology in 1956. He earned his medical degree from Laval University in 1951. Read more about Dr. Sirois (in French).

Spencer Alan Tighe, MD, FRCPC, died on November 26, 2018, in Ottawa, Ont., at age 61. Dr. Tighe was certified by the Royal College in Psychiatry in 1991. He had a passion for community-based mental health. He spent more than 10 years with the ACTT (Assertive Community Treatment Team) at Pinecrest-Queensway Community Health Centre. Read more about Dr. Tighe.

Douglas Alfred Torraville, MD, FRCSC, died on October 23, 2018, in Gander, N.L., at age 63. Dr. Torraville was certified by the Royal College in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1989. He is remembered as a wonderful doctor, colleague and mentor. Read more about Dr. Torraville.


Back to Dialogue homepage