How do Canadian primary care physicians rate our health system?
The Health Council of Canada recently released the seventh bulletin in their Canadian Health Care Matters series titled, “How do Canadian primary care physicians rate the health system?” The results published in the bulletin are based on the findings of the 2012 Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Survey (CFIHP Survey).
As part of the 2012 CFIHP Survey 2,124 Canadian primary care physicians were surveyed in addition to a total of almost 10,000 physicians across 10 countries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States). The Canadian portion of the survey was supported by the Health Council of Canada, the Alberta Health Quality Council, Health Quality Ontario, Commissaire à la santé et au bien-être du Québec, and Canada Health Infoway.
Selected findings of the survey revealed that:
- The best performing regions in Canada still rank below top performing countries in most categories;
- The survey results demonstrated wide variation in how Canada’s provincial health systems perform;
- Adoption of electronic medical records has more than doubled nationally since 2006 with over half (57 per cent) of primary care physicians now using computerized patient charts, however this number varies widely across provinces (from 26% in New Brunswick to 74% in Alberta). Overall Canada still ranks second last among the 10 countries surveyed;
- The number of physicians routinely using electronic prescribing has improved, from 20 per cent in 2006 to 43 per cent today. Canada ranks third last among the 10 countries surveyed for electronic prescribing.
- There are continuing gaps in the health care system. For example, 26 per cent of physicians say their patients often have difficulty paying out-of-pocket health costs for items such as medication. This percentage remains essentially unchanged from the 2006 results. These results vary a great deal across the country as illustrated in the Atlantic provinces where more than 40 per cent of patients struggle to pay for the care they need;
- From a national perspective, Canada shows no improvement in any areas of access to care that have been tracked since 2006.
You can download and read, “How do Canadian primary care physicians rate the health system?” from the Health Council of Canada website.