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Alberta Health Services Customer Experience

“I love the flexibility, cost effectiveness and all-round quality and practicality of the CMA’s in-house Physician Leadership Institute (PLI) courses. Hosting the courses in-house also gives us invaluable opportunities for collaboration and team building that we wouldn’t get with external courses.”
Dr. Vanessa Maclean
South Zone Medical Director, Alberta Health Services

About Alberta Health Services

Alberta Health Services (AHS) is the largest single health authority in Canada, delivering medical care across the province through 400 facilities, including hospitals, clinics, continuing-care facilities, mental-health facilities and community health sites. AHS understands the beneficial effect continual learning and professional development have on the quality of patient care. AHS’s South Zone has hosted six in-house PLI courses. The most-recent was Conflict Management and Negotiation.

Delivered face-to-face or online, in-house PLI courses are RCPSC and CFPC accredited

“I love the flexibility, cost effectiveness and all-round quality and practicality of the CMA’s in-house PLI courses,” says Dr. Vanessa Maclean, Medical Director of AHS’s South Zone. “Bringing the courses into our organization is not only economically much more viable, but it also enables us to provide leadership training to our physician leaders and our operational leaders at the same time. This unique offering gives us invaluable opportunities for collaboration and team building that we wouldn’t get with external courses.”

By minimizing travel and hotel costs, and maximizing attendees’ time, the accredited in-house PLI courses are an extremely cost-effective way for the AHS to build organizational leadership capacity. Hosting courses in-house makes it easy for Maclean to include staff members across different functions.

“When operations staff first started to attend our PLI courses, they reported dealing with our doctors somewhat challenging,” notes Maclean. “The courses gave them unique insight into the challenges our doctors face, and vice versa. The increased level of understanding has improved collaboration and built stronger teams. The value is such that we now only want to run courses that have a mix of people.”

Enhancing healthcare by raising the bar on leadership

Chinook Regional Hospital

The in-house PLI courses enable Maclean to improve the effectiveness of her teams by helping her colleagues develop a common language and leadership skillset, collaborate to address common issues, solve problems and share new insights. Also, because the courses are focussed on only one organization and one group of people who share the same challenges, instructors can easily customize in-house courses to address specific learning needs.

“Every time we’ve hosted an in-house PLI course here, the instructors have connected with us ahead of time to find out if there are any specific outcomes we want to achieve,” says Maclean. “Then, if necessary, they tailor the course material to meet unique requirements, which further enhances an already valuable learning experience. The instructors themselves are top notch and bring huge value to our organization. They’re always totally focussed and committed, and more than willing to provide ongoing support and collaboration.”

At end of every course and at different times during the year, Maclean and her team look at the courses they’ve offered, their priorities and challenges, and which future courses might meet the greatest need across the organizations. They also seek input and feedback from physicians about their priorities.

“I believe our healthcare system works better when everyone — doctors, medical staff, operations people — understands one another’s challenges. The PLI in-house courses help our people see things from each other’s perspectives,” finishes Maclean. “That has a beneficial ripple effect on staff, patients and our healthcare system. By raising the bar on leadership, we can enhance the quality of the healthcare we deliver.”

About the CMA’s PLI Courses

The CMA has been delivering Physician Leadership Institute (PLI) courses developed specifically for physicians for more 30 years. PLI courses are accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the College of Family Physicians of Canada. The industry-leading; highly interactive courses are available face-to-face (in a classroom setting, in-house (at your location) or online. The courses also count toward the Canadian Certified Physician Executive (CCPE) designation.

For more information about how your organization can benefit from the in-house PLI  courses, please visit our website or contact us at 800 663-7336 ext. 2932 or