Oral Health Group

RCDSO Mandatory PET exam and Mandatory Category 1 Con Ed requirements. Why Not?

October 16, 2018
by Brian W. Eckert, Bsc, DDS, Ottawa

In 2013 the RCDSO introduced the mandatory Practice Enhancement Tool (PET) for licenced Ontario dentist to be exercised every five years: “a computer based self-assessment program … that allows members to evaluate and assess their practice, knowledge, skill and judgement”. 1

At the same time the RCDSO introduced the mandatory requirement for 15 Category 1 continuing education points in each three-year period. These points are awarded to courses that meet the approval of the Quality Assurance Committee: the criteria for such as presented in the RCDSO website. 2


In view of the time, effort, research and evaluation required for PET, why doesn’t the RCDSO reward some Category 1 education points 3 in the year that is successfully completed?

In my personal experience, PET engenders significantly more clinically applicable learning than the simple nine question/answer pages that dentists often encounter at sponsored Category 1 courses.

When I posed this question to my RCDSO local representative some years ago I received a reply from a member of the Quality Assurance Program:

“Very simply, continuing education and the PET serve different, though complimentary, purposes. The government requires all colleges to administer a quality assurance program that must include requirements for continuing education to support professional development, and self/peer/practice assessments for members to demonstrate continuing competence. Of course, having completed the PET successfully, you now have the opportunity to reflect on your experience and decide whether you wish to pursue further professional development in certain areas by considering available continuing education options.” 4

Personally, I still don’t understand why this formidable educational experience is excluded from aiding Ontario dentists in their continuing education goals. OH


  1. RCDSO website: Practice Enhancement Tool
  2. Ibid: General Principals … Core Courses in the PET section
  3. My suggestion–5 points
  4. Personal communication: Dr. Michael Gardner, Manager Quality Assurance, 2016-02-16

About the Author
Brian EckertBrian Eckert graduated from the University of Toronto in 1980, and completed his dental residency at the University of Montreal (Sherbrooke). He worked in Quebec for one year, northern B.C. for two years, Malawi Africa for three years, Lahr Germany for four years, Sudbury Ontario for 14 years, and Saipan, Northern Marianas Islands for four years.Since 2009, he has worked at Locum Dentistry in the Ottawa region, and CHEO and Civic Hospitals. He is the founding member/director of Canadian Dental Relief International (CDRI.ca). Brian is also currently semi-retired, clinical supervisor of the hygiene program at Cité Collegiale, and volunteers with Ottawa Mission Clinic and CDRI.

RELATED ARTICLE: Critique of the RCDSO Draft Document on: “Standard of Practice: Infection Prevention and Control in the Dental Office”

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