The Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy surveys provide comparable information on patient and provider experience in 11 developed countries, including Canada. The surveys are conducted yearly, and information is available from 2004 onward.
The surveys target different populations on a 3-year cycle:
- The general population (age 18 and older)
- Older or sicker adults
- Primary care physicians
The surveys cover themes such as access to services, continuity of care, patient experience, perceptions of the health system, and health promotion and disease prevention.
The Commonwealth Fund has had different survey partners over the years. Prior to 2014, the Health Council of Canada was the Canadian partner for the surveys. CIHI has been the Canadian partner since 2014, along with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (2014 to 2016) and Canada Health Infoway (2015 and 2019) as national co-partners. The Health Quality Council of Alberta was a provincial partner in 2014. The Commissaire à la santé et au bien-être du Québec and Health Quality Ontario have been provincial partners each year since 2014 (except 2019, when the ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux du Québec was the Quebec partner).
Find out more about international comparisons, including reports and analyses based on the Commonwealth Fund's surveys.
The Commonwealth Fund, a private U.S.-based foundation, provides core funding and leads the development of the surveys. SSRS is contracted to conduct the survey and carries out data collection in Canada.
The surveys of the adult population (all adults or older/sicker adults) are based on telephone interviews of a representative sample. For the survey of primary care physicians, a representative sample of physicians completes a mail survey. When completed, CIHI and all other national partners receive a final data set with the survey results.
The 2019 survey of primary care physicians was conducted in 11 countries:
- The Netherlands
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- United States
In Canada, 2,569 respondents participated in the 2019 survey. The Commonwealth Fund funded 500 completed interviews across Canada and CIHI provided funding for an expanded Canadian sample. Sample sizes were further increased in Quebec and Ontario with funding from the ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux du Québec and Health Quality Ontario, respectively. Canada Health Infoway provided additional funding for the overall project.
- Most recent year: 2019 (survey of primary care physicians) — Read the report and companion products
Next release: February 2021 (survey of general population)
- Historical series: 2004 to 2018
Data is also available on request. For data from 2004 onward, complete a data request form.
Data from the 2004 survey onward is available free of charge to all students and researchers. If you are interested in accessing data or getting more information on the survey, email us at email@example.com.
Topics covered in the surveys of older/sicker adults and of the general population include
- Overall views of the health care system
- Patient access to primary and preventive care
- Patient relationship with regular doctor/GP
- Patient use of and experience with specialists
- Patient experience with care in the hospital and emergency department
- Health care coverage/affordability of care
- Overall patient health and medical conditions
- End-of-life care
- Health promotion and healthy lifestyles
- In Canada in 2017: patient experience with home care (including palliative care) received from a government home care program and the use of digital technologies to monitor health at home
Subjects covered in the survey of physicians include
- Profile of primary care physicians and their practices
- Access to care
- Patient-centred care
- Coordination within the health system
- Coordination with social services
- Coordination using information technologies
- Perception of health system performance
More detailed information on survey questions and results can be found in the summary-level data tables.
No official classification standards are used.
These methodological notes provide an overview of the sampling methodology, response rate, coverage, weighting of results and significance testing.
For further information on the quality of the Commonwealth Fund’s International Health Policy Survey, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.