Provincial Academic Detailing: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the B.C. Provincial Academic Detailing (PAD) service?

The BC Provincial Academic Detailing (PAD) service is a medication education service that provides objective, balanced, evidence-informed drug information on best prescribing practices. The BC PAD service was launched in March 2008, and is available to physicians and other health care professionals in all regional health authorities.

What is academic detailing?

Academic detailing is a form of continuing medical education (CME) in which a knowledgeable and experienced health care professional (usually a pharmacist) visits the clinician at their place of work for a one-on-one, or small group, discussion on selected drug therapy topics. Academic detailing (sometimes called educational outreach) provides practical, in-depth, evidence-based drug information at a time and place convenient to the participant. Several randomized controlled trials and systematic reviews have found that academic detailing is an effective form of CME.

How much time is involved?

Each session generally takes 30-45 minutes, but can be tailored to as little as 15 minutes or as long as 60 minutes depending upon the needs and time constraints of the individual or small group. The PAD pharmacist will make arrangements to meet in person, or arrange a Web conference at a time convenient for the participant(s). A different therapeutic topic is discussed at each session.

How are topics selected?

Suggestions for topics are welcome from all sources. Consideration is given to medications frequently prescribed in primary care with important clinical developments such as new evidence on efficacy and safety, and topics with known therapeutic dilemmas or controversies. PAD’s goal is to present the evidence so that the clinician can make an informed therapeutic decision.

How is the content for each topic developed?

For each topic, a thorough review of the literature is conducted. Written materials are created and are peer-reviewed by family physicians, specialists, pharmacists and experts in critical appraisal. The PAD pharmacists attend several online training sessions and a two to three day upskilling workshop. They also do extensive self-study to ensure in-depth knowledge of each topic.

Are CME credits available for participating?

Each academic detailing topic meets the accreditation criteria of the College of Family Physicians of Canada for up to 1.0 Mainpro+ credits.

Are the academic detailing sessions confidential?

Yes. The pharmacist does not disclose details of the academic detailing session. Individual participation is recorded for the purpose of issuing Mainpro+ credits, but only aggregate prescribing data is reviewed. For quality improvement of the service, comments from the evaluation forms are recorded in a non-identifiable manner.

Is there a fee for participating in the service?

No. There is no charge for meeting with the pharmacist or for the written information provided.

How is the academic detailing service funded?

Funding for the BC PAD service is provided to regional health authorities by the Ministry of Health's Pharmaceutical, Laboratory & Blood Services Division. Approximately two full-time pharmacist positions are allocated to each regional health authority.

How can I participate?

As each new topic is developed, the PAD pharmacists will contact family/general practitioners’ offices in their region to schedule appointments. Academic detailing sessions (face-to-face or via Web conference) are also available for nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and naturopathic doctors. If you are interested in meeting with a PAD pharmacist, please contact us at

Where can I get more information?

For more information about the BC PAD service, or how to connect with the PAD pharmacist in your area, please e-mail