A Practice Assessment
A practice assessment is how the College assures the competency of physiotherapists in Ontario and makes certain safe, quality care is delivered to patients. The peer interview involves a visit to a physiotherapist's practice setting to collect information and make sure the physiotherapist is meeting the professional practice Standards. The information is turned into a report and submitted to the Quality Assurance Committee for review.
Practice assessments are a requirement for all Colleges of self-regulating professions under the Regulated Health Professions Act
(RHPA). If the assessment identifies areas of necessary learning and growth, a practice enhancement is required. Practice enhancements provide resource and support opportunities to ensure a physiotherapist meets set expectations of the profession.
Steps to Prepare for a Practice Assessment
- Review the Standards for Professional Practice and related documents in the STANDARDS section of the website.
- Conduct a review of your practice against the relevant standards.
- Ensure your Professional Portfolio reflects your growth and learning as a physiotherapist over the previous 5 years.
- Practice assessments are held at your primary place of employment. A private space must be made available for the confidential peer assessment.
- A peer will visit you at your workplace to review six patient charts and ask you a set of practice related questions. These questions are outlined in the Practice Assessment Forms. The assessor records the relevant information you provide and shares it with the College in the form of a report.
- After the Practice Assessment is complete and the peer assessor has submitted the report to the College, a Committee made up of six physiotherapists and public members reviews the document and makes a decision based on the report.
The practice assessment selection process
Each year, five per cent of registered physical therapists are randomly selected for a practice assessment.
Physiotherapists who have been in independent practice for at least three years are eligible for random selection. Once a practice assessment has been completed, individuals are not eligible to be selected again for five years.
Who will assess my practice?
Information about your practice will be collected by a peer assessor, a practising physiotherapist who has completed an assessment themselves in the past and understands your particular practice setting, when possible.
The College provides rigorous training for all peer assessors. They are trained to collect and document objective data in a report for the Quality Assurance Committee to assess the practice of the physiotherapist against the standards of the profession.
"I decided to become a peer assessor after I participated in the process of assessment myself…I realized this was a good way to meet my peers, but also to keep myself up to date with the rules and expectations of the College and our profession."
I have been selected for a practice assessment — what now?
If you are chosen for a Practice Assessment, you will receive an email and a letter from the College letting you know that a peer practice assessor will be contacting you shortly to arrange a convenient date and time for the practice assessment.
Assessments take about 3 to 4 hours to complete and are divided into two parts. It will include a review of your record keeping and a review of your professional portfolio. Your practice assessment will take place in your place of work.
It also includes an interview where the assessor asks questions designed to help the physiotherapist to recall the patient experience, explain the thought process used, demonstrate any clinical reasoning and reflection that occurred.
You can review the questions that will be asked of you by downloading the Practice Assessment Questions
Where gaps in knowledge or the application of a standard are identified, the physiotherapist/physical therapist is provided an opportunity to reflect on these areas and provide information (called a “submission”) to the Committee on any changes or clarification about their practice.
An assessor’s role is to collect information or data about the practice of the physiotherapist/ physical therapist being assessed, but does not a make a final decision on the success of the assessment.
The assessor completes a report for the consideration of the Quality Assurance Committee for evaluation against the established Standards for Professional Practice and the essential competencies of the profession.
The Committee considers the data collected by the assessor from the patient records, portfolio and through the interview process with the physiotherapist and any submission made by the physiotherapists that may have been provided, before a final decision is made on the outcome of the assessment. You will receive the results of your assessment by mail within four to six weeks.
“The assessor was friendly and professional and seemed to really understand my practice area. It was potentially a very stressful situation…overall a positive experience."