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How Canada Compares Based on Findings from International Survey of Family Doctors

The results of an international survey of family doctors show that Canadian doctors are practising more in group settings and offering more weeknight and weekend hours for their patients. How Canada Compares: Results From the Commonwealth Fund’s 2019 International Health Policy Survey of Primary Care Physicians, released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), shows that 57% of Canadian family doctors offered weeknight hours and 50% offered weekend hours within their own practices in 2019. This was higher than the average from the 11 countries surveyed by the Commonwealth Fund (weeknight: 44%; weekend: 36%).

The survey results also show that more Canadian family doctors were practising in group settings in 2019 (65%) compared with 2015 (60%). Group practices are more likely to offer weekend appointments, use electronic medical records (EMRs) and offer patients the option to book their appointments online.

Fewer Canadian family doctors offered patients the ability to communicate electronically: 23% of doctors offered patients the option to ask medical questions via email or a secure website, and 10% offered online requests for prescription renewals. These rates are among the lowest of all countries surveyed (Commonwealth Fund averages: 65% questions via email/website; 52% prescription renewals).

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