What We Do

PLP Process

The Physician Learning Program supports and advises physician members of the Alberta Medical Association at all stages of a clinical quality improvement project.

From helping identify and develop a focused clinical question, through planning, design, evaluation, the PLP team recommends resource management approaches, project objectives and strategies, project scheduling and evaluation metrics.

Project management resources range from turnkey project services and program management to advice and direction on obtaining ethics approvals, database selection, data analysis, interpretation and data report generation, to providing facilitated CME sessions and delivery of feedback session to review your practice data report.

Our human centred designers help you achieve your service or communication goals by understanding your needs and the ones of your usersThe design team uses diverse methods and plans co-creation workshops with physicians, clinical teams, and patients to understand the problems from different perspectives, and identify possible ways to reduce them. Using principles of cognition and perception, they develop KT and QI tools and resources to assist with dissemination of evidence and improve practice.

PLP can support the full lifecycle of a QI project and our services are free of charge for AMA members.

Project Initiation

PLP starts their process by engaging stakeholders and potentially interested parties. They do so by attending and presenting at conferences, networking with physicians, and conducting presentations. Once a group of physicians expresses interest in a project, PLP holds a preliminary meeting with interested Physicians.

During this meeting, the following takes place:

  • The clinical query is turned into an answerable question
  • Best practices and gold standards are identified
  • It is determined whether there is enough literature & evidence to answer the question
  • Priorities and stakeholder support are determined
  • An Impact and Scope are confirmed

After the meeting PLP performs a project assessment for feasibility, generalizability, and impact in order to decide whether the to proceed with the proposed project.  If the project is approved, a project proposal, data requirements document, and data pull algorithm are created.

After a project initiation meeting, PLP project managers finalize an University ethics submission and data algorithms. Upon ethics approval, data is extracted from administrative databases and analyzed to develop reports on the clinical question.

Data Reports and Facilitated Feedback Sessions



Once the data has been analyzed and the Physician Lead has been consulted, a confidential report is generated and given to the physician lead. PLP then provides coaching on knowledge translation, audit & feedback, and facilitation to the physician lead to prepare for a feedback session with a larger group of physicians. During this feedback session, PLP presents the findings of the project with the Physician Lead and identifies barriers to change, as well as actions that can be taken to facilitate change. Once these barriers and actions have been identified, an action plan is developed and implemented.

After a period of time, the data is re-measured to test the effectiveness of the change.

Where does the data come from?

PLP works closely with Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services to access a number of administrative health systems databases.


Administrative data set with patient demographics, cancer diagnoses, visits, chemotherapy treatments at cancer clinics.

Cancer Registry

Patient Demographics, cancer diagnoses and stage, management in first year after diagnoses.

Claim Database

Includes patient demographics, all the coded ICD9 and procedure codes, facility identifiers, billing physicians and their PRACIDs. The data could exclude shadow billing.

Diagnostic Imaging Database

Captures Patient DOB, Patient Gender, Patient Geographic Location, Prescribing Physician, Prescribing Specialty, Physician Location, and Date of Service.

Inpatient Discharge Abstract Database (DAD)

Patient demographics, postal code, admission and discharge time, facility, discharge disposition, provider type, ICD10.

Medical Laboratory

Consolidates lab data from the four lab databases in Alberta. It contains patient information, lab test name and results, test date and time, ordering physician, physician names. Does not include physician identifiers and physician names may vary in different forms.

Nat. Ambulatory Care Reporting System (NACRS)

Includes data for all hospital-based and community-based ambulatory care. These include surgical day/night care, outpatient clinics and emergency departments.

Pharmaceutical Information Network (PIN)

Contains records of prescriptions dispensed by community pharmacies in Alberta. It captures medication name, medication strength, patient DOB, patient gender, patient geographic location, and prescribing physician.

PICIS – Anesthesia Manager and Operating Room Manager

Patient demographics, procedures, medication orders, surgery, and anesthesia durations.

Regional Emergency Department Data (REDIS)

Capture ED visit triage and discharge time before Sunrise Clinical Manager (SCM) implementation.

Sunrise Clinical Manager (SCM)

Records all inpatient information in five Calgary hospitals. It captures patient demographics, admission/discharge information, medication given and lab test done and all the time stamps.


Provides a shared Electronic Medical Record and Access to Services (scheduling) system for the AHS Edmonton Zone ambulatory outpatient services