CIHI has been actively tracking information about physicians since the 1970s, allowing for a better understanding of physicians across Canada.
Using data sources such as the National Physician Database and Scott’s Medical Database, CIHI produces yearly reports and analyses. These contain wide-ranging information about physicians, including demographics and the services provided by physicians, as well as physician payment data.
CIHI works in close consultation with various ministries of health and other physician stakeholder groups. This allows CIHI to develop national standards and indicators to understand the various types of services physicians provide.
In addition, we support external research projects by providing data or collaborating with researchers to produce analyses and reports. These projects operate on a range of topics, such as health human resources planning, primary health care and disease management.
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The National Physician Database and Scott’s Medical Database support decision-making and research on physicians in Canada. These are updated and maintained by experts from the provincial/territorial ministries of health and various physician groups. The physician groups include
This research community advises us on data quality, methodology and product development.
National Physician Database
The National Physician Database (NPDB) provides information on physicians’ salaries, payments and activity within the Canadian health care system. The data ranges from 1989 to 2013 (latest year available). It comes from provincial and territorial medical health care insurance plans using a standardized set of data elements.
Scott’s Medical Database
Scott’s Medical Database (SMDB) provides information on the number of physicians and their distribution across the country. It also contains demographic, education and migration information.
Because physicians can be uniquely identified, we are able to track physician movement between provinces and territories over time. This data also indicates changes in physician type. The data—ranging from 1968 to 2013—is purchased annually from Scott’s Directories.
National Physician Survey
CIHI works with
This collaboration allows us to use information collected in the National Physician Survey (2013). This survey is the most comprehensive and authoritative survey of physicians, medical students and residents in Canada.
Metadata is information about data. It helps users understand and interpret data from a specific source.
Find out more about metadata in the following data sources: