Program Information

Why Choose PBSG?

Fulfilling: A supportive small group can help prevent burnout, and learning from and with your peers is uniquely inspiring.
Flexible: The PBSG model allows you to meet anywhere, at any time, for as much time as fits in your schedule.
Affordable: For $395 dollars a year, you can obtain all the credits required by the CFPC, given that the program allows you to earn 3 Mainpro+ credits per hour.
Ethical: Know you are providing the most up to date care to your patients, and invest in a non-profit program that has no pharmaceutical or for-profit bias.

In the past year, PBSG members rated each of the following as good-excellent:

98.5% In making learning enjoyable
99.3% In sharing experiences
98.6% In focusing the discussion on real practice issues
94.9% In making practice changes

The Practice-Based Small Group Learning (PBSG) program is more than 6,000 family physicians strong. We have over 25 years of experience in providing the most up to date and innovative CME.

Over time, a small group becomes a community of learners that has the potential to change members’ practice, hold them accountable to new evidence, celebrate their clinical victories and support them through clinical difficulties.

Small Group Process

Groups of 4–10 family physicians form a PBSG learning group in their own community, meeting for an average of 1.5 to 2 hours approximately once a month. Groups can decide where to meet, how often, and for what length of time.

Groups can take as long as they need to review a module. Modules from past years are also available online and can be chosen by groups to review.

During the small group sessions, the group peer facilitator helps focus the discussion around patient cases and the best practice information provided to identify practice gaps and strategies to narrow these gaps, which encourages practice change. This discussion is recorded in the Practice Reflection Tool by the facilitator.

By the conclusion of each group meeting, the PBSG group will have completed a Practice Reflection Tool, which will be used to follow up on planned practice changes at subsequent meetings using the Follow-Up Practice Reflection Tool.

Meeting Virtually

PBSG groups are increasingly meeting virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, even outside of the pandemic, virtual meetings have always been accepted by the program. Virtual meetings are more convenient for some groups, and an absolute necessity for other groups that are in geographically disparate locations. When forming a group, the intention can be set to meet virtually all, some, or none of the time. Whether meeting virtually or in person, the format of PBSG and the number of credits received is the same.

A recent survey conducted by the PBSG program of our members showed:

Most respondents (81%) found virtual meetings to be easy or very easy.
77% of facilitators found meeting virtually to be about the same amount of work as meeting in person.
41% of facilitators shared the responsibility of setting up virtual meetings with another member of their group.

Virtual groups can use a web platform of their choice. According to a recent PBSG survey, most groups are using Zoom. Some PBSG groups are using platforms such as Webex, Google Meet and Skype.

Please see our tips documents to enhance virtual group learning:

  1. Tips for meeting online with your PBSG group
  2. How to use Zoom for PBSG meetings

Peer Facilitators

The facilitator is a co-learner who is selected by the group. They are trained in a standardized one-day workshop conducted by experienced PBSG facilitator trainers. The critical roles of the facilitator are to focus discussion on real practice issues and to encourage the group to identify the factors that assist or hinder implementation of new knowledge or skills into their individual practices. This can be fulfilled only if the facilitator has fostered a safe, supportive environment that enhances the identification of practice gaps and encourages the discussion of sensitive patient care issues (e.g., medical errors or ethical issues).


Facilitating a PBSG group is a fulfilling role that is not onerous, as in the PBSG model, facilitators are co-learners as opposed to managers. New groups require a facilitator, and sometimes facilitators leave existing groups or are no longer able to provide facilitation.

Workshops are 2 hours and are conducted in a small group format on Zoom in the evening or on a weekend. In this workshop, facilitators are taught to:

  • Foster and maintain a climate supportive of learning
  • Help identify practice-related issues/questions and problems
  • Identify and constructively explore conflicts and inconsistencies in content and/or practice
  • Help the integration of knowledge into practice and focus discussion on the learning agenda
  • Keep accurate documentation of group members’ attendance, so that study credits can be issued

Facilitators spend very little time doing extra work beyond what is expected of every group member. Being a facilitator is about attending meetings with a commitment to foster growth and promote an atmosphere conducive to learning.

The cost of the workshop for participants is $150. Mainpro+ credits are awarded for participation in the facilitator training workshop. Facilitators are not paid, but in lieu of payment their annual membership fees are waived after they have completed facilitator training (for as long as they are actively facilitating a group).

To become a new facilitator, fill out this workshop registration form and fax or mail it in as directed on the form. Once we receive your registration form, we will get in touch about helping you get started with facilitation and with dates for upcoming workshops.

Development of Educational Modules

Fourteen modules are produced each year. The topics cover a wide array of primary care practice issues. Module topics are selected using a rigorous process, which includes input from PBSG members and facilitators and a scan of recent literature and guidelines to determine what clinical topics are most relevant to practicing family physician members.

The development team for each module includes a family physician author, a family physician editor, a professional medical writer and an experienced module coordinator. Each module takes approximately nine months to develop. Module development involves roundtable discussion by representative PBSG members, pilot testing by two or three PBSG groups, and review by two content experts. Modules consist of the following elements:

  1. Identifying gaps between current physician practice and available evidence.
  2. Real patient cases that explore the identified gaps, including stimulus questions that encourage members to reflect on what they would do in the case scenario.
  3. Commentaries accompany the cases to provide a possible approach to the application of the new information.
  4. Supporting information points are provided with levels of evidence indicated.
  5. Appendices provide clinical algorithms, patient handouts, chart aids, and other tools to assist in practice implementation.

Throughout the discussion of the module, members are encouraged to reflect on their own real-life cases and practice realities.

All efforts are made to provide unbiased evidence-based information in modules. Pharmaceutical companies or other for-profit companies are never involved in the production of modules.

Click here to see an example of a module and here to see a list of recent module topics.

Practice Reflection

The Practice Reflection Tool is completed for each module. This tool initially helps groups consolidate the knowledge gained from their discussion, and go over the gaps in their own practice that were identified while working through the module. It then asks groups to make commitments to change their own practices, allowing them to commit to changes, consider changes, and confirm current practices. Barriers and enablers for change are explored. Click here to see an example of the Practice Reflection Tool.

At a meeting several months after the initial meeting, groups are provided the opportunity to reflect on the success of planned practice changes through the use of a Follow-Up Practice Reflection Tool. Click here to see an example of the Follow-Up Practice Reflection Tool.