Tag: doctors

Is Canada’s medical malpractice system working?

Starting next year, doctors’ malpractice insurance in most parts of the country will cost a lot more – more than doubling in many places. Fortunately for physicians, however, that will affect provincial health budgets more than their own practices. Most doctors are covered by the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA), a non-profit mutual defence organization…

Are family doctors cherry picking patients?

When Anne Lyddiatt’s family doctor retired, she went looking for a new one.  The Ingersoll, Ontario resident thought she’d found one for herself, her two daughters, and her granddaughter, and they filled out application forms with their health information. But only one of the four was accepted: the daughter who had no chronic conditions. “When…

Changes to temporary foreign worker program have unintended impacts on doctors

Reports of low-skilled Canadian workers being replaced with those from other countries spurred changes earlier this year to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. But they’ve made it harder for areas in need of physicians as well. The system was overhauled this summer after reports that companies were misusing the program, with Canadian workers at RBC and…

Should the public know how much doctors are paid?

The United States began releasing the Medicare payments it made to individual doctors on April 9, a move that sparked sensational headlines and debates about privacy. The data offer insights into the $77 billion paid by Medicare’s fee-for-service program to more than 880,000 health care professionals in 2012. Should Canadian provinces follow the U.S.’s lead and publicly…

Family medicine attracts record number of graduates

Family doctor

Family medicine was a popular choice among medical graduates in the 1980s, when Roger Strasser was training at The University of Western Ontario. “The residents had almost a missionary zeal that they were going to be family doctors,” he says. He shared their passion, becoming a family physician. But when he returned to Canada in 2002, after going back…

Physician health: reducing stigma and improving care

John Bradford always prided himself on being psychologically tough. After all, he needed to be. As one of Canada’s top forensic psychiatrists, he analyzed some of the country’s most high-profile murderers including Paul Bernardo, Karla Homolka and Robert Pickton. In order to keep healthy and reduce stress, Bradford exercised regularly and played competitive squash and…

Integrating Physician Assistants in Canada

After several decades working in the Canadian military, Physician Assistants (PAs) are being introduced into provincial health care systems. This year, Alberta launched a two-year demonstration project to integrate PAs into selected clinical practices. About a decade ago ago, PAs were introduced in  Manitoba and Ontario. In Ontario, PAs were part of Ontario’s broader health human resources…

Can quality be assured for diagnostic imaging?

radiology

News headlines from across Canada are periodically dominated by scandals and errors in diagnostic imaging. The list grows each year, with errors exposed from coast to coast. The narrative follows the same arc – an error is discovered in an area of diagnostic imaging. A radiologist – generally the physician involved in the interpretation of…

Have investments in interprofessional education led to changes in practice?

Interprofessional education

As part of the 2003 Health Accord, the Federal Government made major investments in interprofessional education. This included contributing $28 million dollars to build training centres across Canadian colleges and universities. Investing in interprofessional education was motivated by the belief that changing the way health care professionals work together would be a key part of…

Who will care for Canada’s seniors?

Our health care system faces a disturbing paradox. While seniors represent the fastest growing age group in Canada, the country faces a growing deficiency of specialist physicians with expertise in caring for the elderly. But with seniors accounting for nearly half of all the country’s hospitalizations and visiting their family physician twice as often as younger…

Can “bottom up” measurement improve the quality of Canadian health care?

Can “bottom up” measurement improve the quality of Canadian health care?

Progress has been made in measuring the quality of Canadian health care. Yet there are still large gaps in what is measured in our health care system, and much of what is measured is only useful to top-level system managers, not to the front-line clinicians whose day-to-day work is so important to the overall quality of the system. This leads experts to question whether measurement is being used effectively to improve the quality of Canadian health care.

Should cautions issued to health professionals be publicly reported?

Should Ontario's Regulatory Colleges Publicly Report Cautions?

Last week, the governing council of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) voted unanimously in favor of changing its bylaws to allow for public reporting of the results of inspections of Out-of-Hospital Premises, such as private colonoscopy and plastic surgery clinics. This change was made following reporting by the Toronto Star, which…

E-consultations promise better communication for doctors and shorter waits, less travel for patients

E-consultations promise better communication for doctors and shorter waits, less travel for patients

An Ottawa area pilot project that facilitates electronic consultations between family physicians and specialists has proved so popular among doctors and administrators that its architects are finding ways to make it permanent. These consultations occur before an actual referral to a specialist is considered by the family doctor. “Doing referrals as a family doctor is one…

Does Ontario have too many doctors?

Underemployed MDs Does Ontario have too many doctors?

A growing number of Canadian doctors are underemployed after finishing their training. There are a number of likely causes, including a lack of infrastructure funding, delayed retirements, and a lack of health human resource planning at the national level. After about two decades of strongly worded public headlines and numerous government reports about doctor shortages,…

Filling a gap: Ontario’s walk-in clinics

Walk In Clinics Ontario

About one in four Ontarians visit a walk-in clinic each year. While the government has made access to family doctors a key priority, there is no policy framework for walk-in clinics. Although walk-in clinics have been part of Ontario’s health care landscape for decades, they remain controversial. Walk-in clinics have generally been excluded from government…

Approaches to Improving access to specialists in rural regions: Ontario & Germany

In Ontario, specialists are concentrated in larger cities, and Ontarians living in smaller cities and rural regions have challenges accessing specialist services. In Ontario, Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) use non-financial incentives to try to attract specialists to practice in hospitals that serve rural areas, and provide telemedicine and outreach clinics for patients. In contrast,…

Money matters: does ‘pay-for-performance’ improve quality?

Ontario physician payment "Ontario Medical Association" OMA Ministry of Health Negotiations health policy health care

In Ontario, new ways of paying doctors have been introduced in an attempt to improve the quality of their services.  One approach is pay-for-performance, which pays doctors for meeting certain treatment goals. However, there is little high quality evidence that pay-for-performance improves the quality of care, and it appears to have had limited impact in…

How specialty positions are allocated for medical school graduates

CaRMS How Specialty Positions are Allocated for Medical School Graduates

Each year thousands of medical students across Canada apply for, and are matched to, residency positions in a variety of medical specialties.  The allocation of residency training positions among the various specialties is largely decided by academic doctors involved with medical education. Some experts believe that health system decision makers should exert greater influence over…

Charging patients for services: much confusion, little consensus

The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) does not cover all health services that can be provided by a doctor. These “uninsured” services include telephone renewal of prescriptions, writing sick notes for work or school and transferring medical records. Doctors can offer patients the option of paying for a set of uninsured services with a single…

How should hospital doctors be paid?

Doctors are a significant portion of the costs for the health care system. In 2009, almost a quarter of Ontario’s health care budget was spent on paying doctors. Most doctors who work in hospitals are not paid by the hospital directly, but by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, which pays doctors for each procedure and clinical service.…