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Updates to the Quality Assurance Program

CDHO and all health professions regulators are required by law to have a quality assurance program that helps assure patients and clients that regulated health professionals are keeping their knowledge and skills up to date, and participating in continuing professional development. Currently, CDHO meets these requirements through the annual Self-Assessment and an annual selection of RDHs to undergo assessment.

In 2022, we began a comprehensive review of the QA Program. We surveyed RDHs, and the results suggested that the current QA Program met the needs of some RDHs, but not all. Less than half of survey respondents felt the current Program was important to their professional development. Part of our commitment to the public is to support the continuing competence of all RDHs, so this number was way too low.

With this in mind, we undertook to see how we could revise QA in a way that aligns with a larger proportion of the profession and supports differences in individual learning styles and approaches to continuing competence. This led to further consultation with RDHs and a review of published literature on QA programs for regulated professionals. What resulted was the development of a Strategic Plan for the QA Program that outlines short, intermediate and long-term goals.

The mission for the new QA Program is “Assuring safe and effective dental hygiene practice through commitment, continuous learning, communities of practice, and collaborative conversations”.

What’s Next

  • In June 2024, CDHO will email RDHs to volunteer to participate in the 2025 assessment. We hope to have 500 volunteers (this is the number we need for a statistically valid sample size). But, if we don’t get 500 volunteers, we’ll randomly select the remaining from the registrant pool. RDHs who were assessed in the last five years will be excluded from the 2025 selection. If you volunteer or are selected, you can choose any Path option.
  • Starting in 2025, RDHs selected for assessment will have a new, fourth Path option:
Path 1Path 2Path 3
Learning PortfolioWritten Assessment (QA Test)Written Assessment (QA Test)
Practice Profile
Practice Profile
On-site Practice Review
Path 4 (NEW)
Peer Circle activity 1 and coaching session
Peer Circle activity 2 and coaching session
  • The role of “Assessors” will be modified to become “Peer Coaches”. Peer Coaches will receive training on new skills and approaches to assessment.
  • CDHO will begin exploring options to upgrade the SMILE Portal to make it more user-friendly.

Path Options for 2025

If you volunteer or are selected for assessment, you can choose any one of the four Paths below:

Path 1

If you choose Path 1, you will complete a Learning Portfolio by submitting your learning goals and activities completed between January 2022 and the end of 2025. You will need to report on a total of 25 hours of learning. This is less than RDHs have been asked to submit in the past. We are revising the process and want to start with a reduced number of hours. If you are currently practising, you will also need to complete the Practice Profile. Your Learning Portfolio and Practice Profile are due by December 31, 2025.

Path 2

If you choose Path 2, you will need to successfully complete the online Written Assessment (QA Test) and, if practising, complete the Practice Profile by December 31, 2025.

Path 3

If you choose Path 3, you will need to successfully complete the online Written Assessment (QA Test) and participate in an onsite practice review by December 31, 2025.

Path 4 (New!)

If you choose Path 4, in 2025 you will be assigned to an online Peer Circle of 8–10 RDHs, who will be with you in both Peer Circle discussions.

Your group will be led by a trained RDH facilitator who will guide the group and schedule a one-to-one reflection conversation following each Peer Circle. The reflection conversations with the Peer Facilitator are not an oral exam. They are designed to be a conversation about your experience with the Peer Circle. These are the types of questions you can expect:

  • What were some of the things you learned from the Peer Circle discussion?
  • Compared with others in the Peer Circles, how would you rate your contributions to the discussion?
  • What were some things you learned in the discussion that will inform your practice in the future?

If you have any questions, please give us a call at 1‑800‑268-2346 ext. 8802 or email