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Half Of Canada Consumers Willing To Switch Physicians To Gain Online Access To Electronic Medical Records, According To Accenture Survey

Physician pay should reflect declining workloads, say economists

Doctors work fewer hours today than in the past but are paid the same or more, and that may not be sustainable, warn some health economists.

Markets closed Half of Canada Consumers Willing to Switch Physicians to Gain Online Access to Electronic Medical Records, According to Accenture Survey Press Release: Accenture 12 hours ago Level of Patient Access to Canada Electronic Medical Records (CNW Group/Accenture) Majority have taken ownership of records by self-tracking personal health information TORONTO , Oct. 1, 2013 /CNW/ – Supporting the growing trend toward patient engagement, a recent Accenture ( ACN ) survey found that nearly half of Canadian consumers (50 per cent) are willing to switch doctors to gain online access to electronic medical records (EMR). The survey, of more than 9,000 consumers in nine countries (1,000 in Canada ), shows that only 16 per cent of Canadian consumers currently have full access to their EMR, but 52 per cent have taken ownership of their record by self-tracking their personal health information, such as health history and physical activity. “The growing trend of self-care among consumersis shifting the role of an EMR from a mere clinical repository to a platform for shared decision-making among patients and doctors,” said Sanjay Cherian , Accenture’s health industry lead in Canada . “Just as patients can self-manage most other aspects of their lives, they expect to take ownership of their medical care and the survey shows they are willing to change doctors that share and enable the same values.” The majority of Canadian consumers (76 per cent) surveyed believe they should have full online access to their patient record, while nearly a third of doctors (29 per cent) share this belief. In contrast, one-third of Canadian consumers (32 per cent) reported that they have access to their EMR. “When patients are part of the record-keeping process, it can increase their understanding of conditions and serve as a clear differentiator for clinical care,” added Cherian. Methodology Accenture conducted an online survey of 9,015 adults (1,000 in Canada ) ages 18+ to assess patient perceptions of their medical providers’ electronic capabilities across nine countries: Australia , Brazil , Canada , England , France , Germany , Singapore , Spain and the United States . Where relevant, the survey compares select findings from the Accenture Doctors Survey to compare the doctor and patient responses. The survey was fielded by Harris Interactive in July 2013 Learn more about Accenture’s Insight Driven Health , Accenture Connected Health Services and Delivering Public Service for the Future . About Accenture Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 275,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$28.6billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2013.


However, “that check is lost if physicians are able to close their lists, because I’m not going to leave my family physician if I can’t find another one.” Premiums above normal capitation rates to encourage physicians to provide more after-hours care have also been provided “on a reasonably generous basis,” says Sweetman, meaning provinces are potentially paying more to maintain the levels of access enjoyed in the past, when doctors carried larger workloads. However, physician groups argue that the system receives better value from doctors who balance work and home life. “It’s very difficult to argue that being up all night, then working the next morning, leads to good quality care,” says Dr. William Cunningham, president of the British Columbia Medical Association. “We’re getting better value with people who live the life they’re encouraging their patients to live.” Alberta Medical Association President Dr.R. Michael Giuffre says it doesn’t follow that physicians who are working less are underworked, or that physicians who are earning more for their time are overpaid. He argues that, from a physician point of view, the compensation increases in recent years are “not out of line,” particularly as provinces must compete to attract and retain physicians, and practices face growing overhead costs. Physician office-staff costs which account for about 60% of total overhead expenses have increased 75% since 2003, reports the Ontario Medical Association . Other expenses include occupancy costs, furniture and equipment, insurance, utilities, property taxes, professional fees, licensing and professional memberships. Meanwhile, new physicians are facing larger debts as they enter the workforce, as average medical tuition in Canada increased from $9815in 200910 to $12438in 201314, according to Statistics Canada . However, Sweetman contends that recent wage freezes in Ontario and Alberta indicate “this is clearly something where many governments feel they went a step too far.” Physician groups and some economists say that the way to address declining workloads is to train more physicians. Sweetman suggests increasing trainees by about 1% every five or six years to replace the hours lost. According to Di Matteo, physician numbers are a “relatively small contributor” to increases in health costs, despite being the focus of most austerity measures in previous decades (Health Policy 2013doi:10.1016/j.healthpol.2013.07.003). “Going down the road, more of the emphasis needs to be on utilization of services and the cost per service,” he explains. Giuffre argues that increasing the number of family physicians could “dramatically” improve patient satisfaction and reduce unnecessary utilization, as patients with family doctors use 30% fewer services, on average. However, Steve Buick, director of policy and communications for the Institute of Health Economics in Edmonton, Alberta, said in an email that a “perceived shortage” is why physician compensation “went out of control in the first place.” “We’re so anxious to keep all the docs we train and avoid stories about new grads being ‘turned away’ from the system, that we’re distorting it to keep them.

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Kelly McParland: Canadian doctors share national sense of disgruntlement

Gaetan Barrette, president of the Federation des medecins specialistes du Quebec, said Thursday his members have been ringing his phone off the hook since Finance Minister Nicolas Marceau suggested earlier in the day that doctors should put off for as long as seven years their 9.2-per-cent average pay increase. The increase will cost the province $530 million this coming year and $540 million in 2014-2015, a total of $1.07 billion for the two years. Under the circumstances, their anger seems reasonable enough. The PQ also broke its promise to cancel a much-disliked health tax, and will increase it instead, to $1,000 from $200, plus a 1.75% surtax on high-income earners, meaning the doctors will be paying top rates to help fund an increase they wont be getting after all, if the province has its way. Albertas doctors are at the other end of the spectrum. Already the highest paid in the country, theyd been negotiating for a new contract for 20 months, only to have one imposed on them last week by Health Minister Fred Horne. They arent pleased, and say the deal isnt good enough. We were shocked, surprised. We were taken off guard, lamented Alberta Medical Association president Dr. Michael Giuffre. I would say our relationship is not good Why is this the first time in Albertas history that weve had an imposition on physicians? Why has this gone so sideways? The deal provides a one-time 2.5 per cent lump sum payment based on 2011-12 billings and annual cost-of-living adjustments for the next three years. Horne acknowledged the doctors wanted considerably more, but Alberta, despite its comparatively enviable economic position maintains it cant afford more. Just last week Premier Alison Redford announced the government had no choice but to borrow money for long-term projects, ending its reign as Canadas only debt-free province. The province says the deal is worth $463 million for the doctors, but the AMA said Tuesday that when other elements are accounted for it is out more than $200 million, and refused to accept the contract .

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