- AGRE identified transparency as a significant regulatory issue and began work on a multi-staged initiative to examine information-sharing practices and determine how regulators might make more information available to the public.
- One of the first steps in the AGRE project was to develop principles to guide future decisions about publicly-available information. The principles demonstrate our openness to transparency and our profound commitment to the public interest.
- This project has been proceeding deliberately and thoughtfully. Given the scope of changes being considered, AGRE strongly believes that it’s critical to get buy-in, make sure that any new information is actually helpful and to work through the details carefully to avoid errors and ensure the integrity of the information that is being provided.
- The AGRE colleges have the resources to move efficiently on the initiatives and at the same time are supporting the other health professional colleges to implement these important changes.
Achievements to date:
- Comparison of current practices related to the public register (what information is available and under what authority)
- Analysis of current legislative framework and recent legislative proposals
- Jurisdictional review of other medical and select non-health regulator’ transparency practices
- Literature review related to transparency, public confidence, trust and accountability
- Collection of data – ICRC outcomes, recidivism rates related to cautions
- Development of transparency principles
- Public polling to gauge public attitude on what information was important to have to make health care decisions
The principles that were drafted have been approved by all the governing councils of the AGRE colleges as well as a number of other colleges. The complete principles are attached but briefly cover the following areas:
- The public needs access to appropriate information in order to trust that this system of self-regulation works effectively.
- Providing more information to the public has benefits, including improved patient choice and increased accountability for regulators.
- This information needs to be relevant, credible and accurate.
- In order for information to be helpful to the public, it must: be timely, easy to find and understand. Certain regulatory processes intended to improve competence may lead to better outcomes for the public if they happen confidentially.
- Transparency discussions should balance the principles of public protection and accountability, with fairness and privacy.
- The greater the potential risk to the public, the more important transparency becomes.
- Information available from Colleges about members and processes should be similar.
Other initiatives that are in various stages of implementation with each college include:
- Conducting a review of websites to evaluate clarity and ease of search
- Providing information on website with reasons for why information is or is not available
- Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee outcomes: improving naming consistencies from college to college
- Improving data collection and analysis
Two Phases of Transparency Initiatives:
Phase 1 initiatives primarily focuses on accessibility of information and public education, and includes making the following information publicly available:
- Date of referral to Discipline Committee
- Discipline Committee status
- Notice of Hearing
- Criminal findings of guilt
Phase 2 initiatives include making the following information publicly available:
- Names of former members
- Criminal charges if relevant to practice
- Health facility privileges
- Licences in other jurisdictions (if known)
- Discipline findings from other jurisdictions (if known)
- Discipline Committee, no findings
- ICRC: Oral cautions
- ICRC: Specified Continuing Education and Remediation Program (SCERPs)
How AGRE works with the Federation of Health Regulatory Colleges of Ontario (FHRCO):
- Information about recommended initiatives has been shared with all colleges as well as principles
- AGRE has provided all colleges with:
- Regular updates and support including the transparency principles
- The recommended phases for implementation
- Resources such as briefing notes, policies and draft bylaws
- Expertise and advice, including speaking at other college council meetings to discuss the importance of the transparency initiative