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2018 – 2019 REVIEW

Primary care academic detailing service

"It’s very nice to have someone focusing on my learning needs. We rarely get one-on-one education that is really guided by us: self-directed - directed by our desire to better care for our patients. I think it’s fantastic and I’m looking forward to the next session.”


About the project

In February 2018, the CEP launched an Ontario-wide academic detailing service for primary care providers. This service includes one-on-one visits by licensed Ontario pharmacists (academic detailers) about discussions on balanced, evidence-informed best practices for participating physicians.

The service is offered to family physicians in regions across Ontario. It focuses on key topic areas such as opioids and chronic non-cancer pain management in primary care.

About Academic Detailing

What is an academic detailing service?

Academic detailing, sometimes referred to as educational outreach, offers one on one visits with providers to discuss different clinical topic areas. Our academic detailing service entails service-oriented one-on-one visits focused on delivering providers with objective, balanced, evidence-informed information on best practices to optimize clinical care. This information is always tailored to each provider’s expressed needs and is delivered at a time that is convenient for each of them.

Why academic detailing?

Providers need an accurate, ongoing source of current data about the comparative effectiveness, safety and costs of treatments. This information can be time consuming to assemble from a continuous influx of research literature. By combining an interactive outreach approach with best evidence and experience, our academic detailers can meet the individual needs of providers and their teams. Academic detailing programs continue to demonstrate positive impact on outcomes including appropriate prescribing, quality care, provider knowledge and provider satisfaction.


There are provincial programs running in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia with past programs in both Alberta and Manitoba. Australia has a National Prescribing Service that includes 150 detailers working to support primary care providers. Programs are also running in over five US states.

The Centre for Effective Practice (CEP) has led Ontario academic detailing pilot projects in 2007-2008 to support type II diabetes management in primary care, and in 2015-2017 to support appropriate prescribing in long-term care. The CEP is currently running an Ontario wide academic detailing service in primary care.

What happens during a visit?

An academic detailing visit is about understanding a provider’s needs at the time of the visit, the aspects of the clinical topic area that are most important to them, and any questions they have on recent evidence, resources and tools available to them. It is then the academic detailer’s role to tailor each visit, specifically the information delivered during the visit, to the participating provider’s expressed needs.


“I recently joined the academic detailing program within my region. After my initial meeting with my detailer, I could not wait to sign up for the next session. I have learned so much about resources to help with patient care, support programs for complex care patients, mentorship for chronic pain management and the EEnet forum for collaboration about patient care challenges. This program is a “must do” for anyone who wants quality CME that translates to your specific patient care needs. The program is unbiased, objective, evidence based and focused to your patient and practice needs. It really helps – putting the latest data regarding patient care into perspective. The only commitment is your time, and I have over the past 27 years of practice, paid hundreds of dollars to attend one or two-day programs that are 1/2 the quality you get with the academic detailing and its supportive programs.”

— Dr. Keith Thompson, Solo Practice Family Physician, London Ontario


Partners’ Resources

We’re part of a provincial partnership that offers prescribing supports to help family physicians, primary care nurse practitioners and other clinicians manage their patients’ pain

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