Practice Management

Peer Advisory Conversation – Your Contribution to Self-Regulation

Kim Lambert CVO
By Kim Lambert, DVM, MSc

Associate Registrar, Quality Practice

College of Veterinarians of Ontario

The College of Veterinarians of Ontario has introduced the Peer Advisory Conversation, a voluntary pilot program that is underway until 2019. The purpose of the pilot is to develop a program that instills public trust in the quality of care provided by Ontario veterinarians. The program will also be considered as a core component of a future mandatory Quality Assurance program.

At the current development stage, the College needs your input to ensure the program is relevant, accessible, and acceptable to the profession.

Get involved! Provide your input to shape the program.

During the first two phases of the Peer Advisory Conversation pilot, veterinarians in clinical practice volunteered to participate in a conversation with a Peer Advisor focused on one of the three areas:

  • a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Discussion,
  • a Medical Records Review and a Chart-Stimulated Recall (CSR)/Case Based Discussion,
  • or a Non-Technical Skills Discussion.

These focused conversations provided an opportunity to validate the conversation tools prior to launching the full conversation in the third phase of the pilot, which will begin in the fall.

Those that have participated in the Peer Advisory Conversation to date have been very positive about the supportive nature of the conversation. A top strength of the conversation, reported by both conversation participants and Peer Advisors, was that it was a collaborative process.  Participants found the conversation to be thought-provoking, and said that the Peer Advisors had good communication skills.

Your colleague, Dr. Jennifer Day, owner of Cabbagetown Pet Clinic and former President of the College, volunteered to be a conversation participant in the first phase of the pilot. She completed a conversation with a Peer Advisor focused on the Non-Technical Skills Discussion tool, and has shared some of her thoughts regarding the experience:


Tell us about your experience speaking with the Peer Advisor?

My Peer Advisor began the conversation by telling me that he was a little nervous about our conversation as this was new to him as well. I think that this helped to reinforce that this really was a peer-to-peer exchange and that we hopefully would both have positive experiences to take away from this process. At all times, I felt that the conversation was collaborative.

My Peer Advisor generally followed the Non-Technical Skills Discussion tool that I had reviewed in advance on the website. I never felt as though I was being corrected at any time based on my answers to the questions. He offered some helpful suggestions. As an example, after the conversation, along with my report, I also received an attachment of a sample performance review that he has used for associate veterinarians, which he thought that I might find interesting.

How did the conversation benefit your practice? (as a practice owner; veterinarian in clinical practice)

The process required me to really dig down and explain what I was doing and why. It forced me to reflect and give examples of real life experiences that I have had as a clinician and practice owner. By verbalizing my actions, it helped me to consider what I need to prioritize and what seems to be working well.

When contemplating participating in the Peer Advisory Conversation, did you have any apprehensions?

Yes, I think that it is reasonable to have some apprehensions when discussing personal practice issues with the College. I worried about exposing myself to criticism, knowing that my practice may not conform to the way that my peer practices. I also was concerned that I may be asked to have a conversation outside of my current regular scope of practice (I do not do much anesthesia or surgery).

I prepared by going onto the CVO website and reviewing the Non-Technical Skills Discussion tool, on which I was advised that my conversation would be based. This helped me to prepare my thoughts especially with respect to current clinical/practice examples.

What did you learn from the conversation? (Key take-away)

My key take-away after the conversation was that I am working hard to try to keep relevant and effective, especially in my leadership role in the practice as a veterinarian/owner, and that my efforts are worthwhile. We discussed my strengths as identified by the conversation but also opportunities for ongoing learning.

Why would you encourage other veterinarians to be involved in the Peer Advisory Conversation Pilot Program? What message would you give to veterinarians about their contribution to shaping this program?

By taking the time to become involved in the pilot program, veterinarians have the opportunity to give their honest feedback into the process and usefulness of the program directly to the veterinarians and staff at the College. After the conversation, participants are asked for their comments and these are important sources of feedback for further development. Especially as this program may become mandatory, I feel that any opportunity to give our opinion is so important!

How it works

The Peer Advisor guides the conversation to promote reflection on: the care you provide, the standards of the profession, your approach to continuing professional development,

your communication with clients, your communication with the veterinary team, your decision making, your leadership skills, and your wellness.

Why be involved

It is a conversation with a peer, an opportunity to bounce ideas off of a colleague, learn something new, and get feedback on how to focus your continuing professional development.

What you need to do to be involved

To become a participant in the third phase of the pilot, sign up online starting in September. Once you’ve registered, you will be asked to complete a form providing background information about your practice to match you with an appropriate Peer Advisor.  Your Peer Advisor will contact you to schedule the two-hour conversation.

Prior to the conversation, you will gather and submit four medical cases to the College. These will be reviewed by your Peer Advisor in advance, and discussed during the Chart-Stimulated Recall (CSR)/Case Based Discussion portion of the conversation.

You will receive a confidential report from your Peer Advisor following the conversation outlining areas of strength in your practice and opportunities for learning to direct your continuing professional development.   Along with your report, you will be invited to fill out a post-conversation questionnaire to provide your evaluation of the program.

After you have participated, your name will be entered into a draw to win a prize!

Learn more and sign up at Registration for the next phase of the pilot opens on September 5th, 2017.

For further information on the Peer Advisory Conversation, contact: Megan Callaway, Principal, Quality Assurance & Improvement, College of Veterinarians of Ontario, at or 1-800-424-2856 ext. 2240.

Dr. Kim Lambert is the Associate Registrar for Quality Practice at the College of Veterinarians of Ontario. She graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) in 1998, and obtained a Master of Science Degree in Epidemiology from the University of Guelph in 2014. She has 14 years of experience in clinical practice.  Prior to joining the College as a staff member, Dr. Lambert served as a Peer Reviewer of Medical Records and member of the Complaints Committee. Dr. Lambert can be reached at the College at or 1-800-424-2856 ext. 2236.