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Healthc Policy. 2007 Nov;3(2):e145-61.

Improving the Quality and Capacity of Canada's Health Services: Primary Care Physician Perspectives.

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Professor of Family Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB.



This study set out to identify the perspectives of family physicians (FP/GPs) on the quality and capacity of the services they provide and of the system in which they work, to assess their responsiveness to potential changes and to determine their suggestions for future directions to enhance primary care services.


Thematic results from prior focus groups with FP/GPs provided direction for a questionnaire sent to practitioners in the urban study area. Seventy-four questions, most using a five-point Likert scale, were grouped into 10 sections: physician issues (based on themes from the focus groups), access to specialist services, workload, scope of practice, primary care physician networks, interdisciplinary collaborative practice, complexities and challenges of family practice, future directions, comments and demographics.


Five hundred and eighty-three FP/GPs were surveyed, and 300 responses (52%) were analyzed for frequencies and comparisons using SPSS. In addition to informative responses to the various survey sections noted above, specific physician suggestions for future directions to improve quality and capacity were identified. These included access to specialists/consultants, teamwork/collaborative practice, access to diagnostics, electronic records/technology, time and remuneration.


The identified suggestions by FP/GPs to enhance the quality and capacity of health services contribute to a framework for policy development at national, provincial/territorial and regional levels and can be used as a reference point for the progress of primary care reform initiatives.


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