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Why use the MAG form for my Appraisal?

Appraisals are a part of life, in almost every industry and every business.

Some people grow to love them whilst others hate them. It is vital that appraisals are conducted in a proper manner for any benefits to be gained or skills to be developed for future progression. That’s why it’s important for tools that help conduct an appraisal should be relaxing and straightforward to use, so the process can be as painless as possible. 

For Doctors in the UK appraisals are now an annual process that is necessary in order for them to remain licensed to practice. 

To this day MAG forms remain one of the most popular methods to conduct appraisals, but why is that? 

Firstly, the Model Appraisal Guide (MAG) was created by the Revalidation Support team as an example for Medical Strengthened appraisals and is now accepted as the national standard of appraisal.

It has become familiar to many doctors across the UK. As well as its familiarity, the MAG provides a simple and easy to use form, intended to establish a pain free process. Additionally, the MAG delivers clear and understandable summaries that help ease the entire appraisal procedure. The final benefit, of course, is that use of the MAG is free, unlike the alternative online tools. 

But where does the MAG fall short? 

Due to constant advances in technology, in particular Windows and Mac operating systems, the MAG can sometimes fail to adapt and leave many Doctors unable to open the PDF.

Although online, the MAG is essentially a piece of paper - what do we mean by that? Well it is a file that is stored on the users computer. When it comes to the appraiser adding to the form the file must be sent back and forth between both parties.

The MAG in its current form does not have the added flexibility of being able to easily align your supporting evidence for appraisal against different roles.

It is difficult to get an overview of your progress as you build up your portfolio.

So what’s the alternative solution? 

There are multiple online toolkits that can replace the function of the MAG form.

During the development of the FourteenFish appraisal system it was important to us to replicate the structure of the MAG form and maintain the simplicity of its use.

The toolkit also creates a single space for appraisers and appraisees to collaborate, freeing up workflow and making the process smoother. Automatic email notifications prompt individuals when an appraisal is ready for reviewing or when a field has been changed, therefore avoiding endless email loops that can exist in the MAG form. Even after sign off the appraisal can still be edited by the appraisee but any alterations are clearly highlighted for the appraiser.

Furthermore, paired with the free Learning Diary, the FourteenFish appraisal system becomes an extremely powerful system that allows you to conveniently record CPD, PDP and QIA (or any other piece of supporting information) and effortlessly import them into your appraisal. As the toolkit is web-based, all the appraisals are safely archived automatically, so they can be used for future reference and revalidation. 

As previously mentioned, the MAG form presents a clear and convenient summary once the appraisal has been completed. Similarly, the FourteenFish summary provides an accurate single page spread to make the entire experience more pleasurable for the individual. It is extremely straight forward for appraisers to work with - even if they are completely new to the site.

In summary, FourteenFish brings the positive aspects of the MAG form, improves them and adds additional features whilst eliminating any of the negatives. The only disadvantage of using FourteenFish is the financial costs. It is, however, one of the cheapest on the market and, with all of the extra features, it becomes the best value for money toolkit.



MAG: Model Appraisal Guide
CPD: Continued Professional Development
PDP: Personal Development Portfolio
QIA:Quality Improvement Activity

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Tuesday 17 February 2015