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January 30, 2020 — The Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy surveys fill important information gaps by polling patients and providers in 11 developed countries. The 2019 edition focuses on primary care physicians and provides an important perspective on how well primary care — a key area of health care — is operating in Canada and internationally, and where improvements could be made. Our companion chartbook provides international and provincial comparisons on the following topics.

Key findings

  • Canada has been adopting best practices in organizing care to improve access, patient-centred care and use of technology. These changes are starting to make a difference; however, the full benefits are yet to be seen.
  • Access to care: More family doctors in Canada offer weeknight (57%) and weekend (50%) appointments compared with the Commonwealth Fund average. However, only 49% of family doctors in Canada have arrangements for patients to be seen after their practices are closed, lower than the Commonwealth Fund average of 75%.
  • Coordinating care: Although 60% of family doctors in Canada screen their patients for social needs, fewer frequently coordinate care with social services (43%).
  • Use of technology: More family doctors in Canada are using electronic medical records (EMRs) (86%) now than in 2015 (73%), a big improvement. While EMR use has increased, these systems are not connected and few can share patient clinical summaries, or laboratory and diagnostic test results.

Explore survey results

Access to care

Coordinating care 

Use of technology

Featured material

Chartbook

This chartbook presents analyses on the results of the Commonwealth Fund Survey of Primary Care Physicians.

Download chartbook (PPTX)

Download accessible version of the chartbook (PDF)

Data tables

View data on the Commonwealth Fund’s 2019 Survey of Primary Care Physicians in a series of more than 50 data tables. 

Download data tables (XLSX)

Methodology notes

Get an overview of the sampling methodology, response rate, coverage, weighting of results and significance testing.

Download methodology notes (PDF)

Data requests: 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 cmwf@cihi.ca