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.”