Getting a doctor and an electronic medical record will strengthen health care system: Ontario’s doctors

    Ontario’s doctors say a study released today by
    the Ontario Health Quality Council (OHQC) illustrates the need to remain
    vigilant in getting every Ontarian a family doctor and expanding access to
    Electronic Medical Records (EMRs).

    “Every person in the province deserves to have access to the care and
    expertise of a physician, and Ontario’s doctors will accept nothing less,”
    said Dr. Suzanne Strasberg, President of the Ontario Medical Association
    (OMA). “Since 2004, more than 630,000 people that didn’t have a doctor now do.
    We are very proud of what we have accomplished but we know there is more work
    to be done.”

    In the most recent agreement, Ontario’s doctors and the government
    committed to work together to find another 500,000 patients a physician. Dr.
    Strasberg suggested that one of the most effective ways to achieve this
    objective is through the expansion of collaborative care models. Ontario’s
    doctors have long advocated for collaborative health care teams where various
    health professionals work together under one roof to provide care to a large
    number of patients.

    “The evidence is clear, when physicians and other health professionals
    work together, not only is there a more comprehensive level of care provided
    to patients, but it can reduce the strain on the health care system.”

    The OHQC study also highlights the importance of EMRs in ensuring
    continuity of care to patients. EMRs are a critical component in the evolution
    of the province’s health care system, which is why the OMA has been pushing
    for the expansion of them into every doctor’s office across the province. To
    date, more than 3,000 family physicians in Ontario have EMRs in their offices
    and by the end of 2009, 4 million patients will have an EMR.

    “Doctors who use Electronic Medical Records report patient safety,
    continuity of care and quality of care have improved,” said Dr. Strasberg.
    “Ensuring that EMRs are available in every doctor’s office is an important
    step towards improving and strengthening Ontario’s health care system.”