e-Panel Survey Summary
Supporting your Communities of Interest
Why We Asked
In September 2017, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) surveyed its e-Panel members on the topic of community engagement. Why? We know anecdotally that physicians are collaborating to address key health issues of interest through informal and formal communities of interest. The CMA believes that these communities hold the key to achieving our vision of a vibrant profession and a healthy population, and a key element of our strategy is to foster and support this work however we can. The first step to supporting our members on this was to better understand what they’re working on, what successes they’ve had, and what their barriers are. This survey gave us the essential intel we needed to design programs and services around the work our members are already doing — and we couldn’t have done it without your insight.
What We Learned in September 2017
The survey was sent to 3,696 e-Panel members. A total of 536 responses were collected, for a response rate of 14.5%.
We learned that 47% of respondents currently collaborate with formal and informal communities to address health-system, patient, or professional issues. How they conduct this work varies greatly, with some common threads. We heard from these collaborators that they tend to do so at least monthly (35.8%) or even weekly (31.8%), using email, teleconference, and in-person meetings. The vast majority (86%) of their communities are groups of less than 50 people, and they are comprised of diverse stakeholders — 57% include health professionals and 43% include patients in their work. One respondent stated, “I feel quite strongly that patients and patient groups should play a strong role in knowledge translation in health and healthcare. We should do more to engage non-physicians including patients and other healthcare professionals.”
The most important aspect of this research was identifying success factors and barriers that physicians experience when working to address health-system, patient and professional issues. We heard that the success of these communities is driven by collaboration with other stakeholders (identified by 48%), access to resources (identified by 46%) and time to dedicate to the issue (41%). As one respondent articulated, “multiple similar initiatives [are] building in isolation with lack of awareness of others [is a] lost opportunity for collaboration, which would save time and money.’ And 70% of respondents see a role for provincial and national medical associations to facilitate success and reduce barriers.
At the same time. 47% of respondents aren’t currently working in groups and communities to address issues, but they remain connected to peers and concerned about topics affecting the health-care system, patients, and the profession. Nearly 50% of members (12.1% very likely, 36.6% likely) were more willing to participate on an existing & easily accessible community where a health-system, patient, or professional issue that they care about — such as medical education, health system resources — was being addressed.
What We’ll Do
Based on this feedback, the CMA has identified an opportunity to facilitate connections, provide support and resources for physicians who are passionate about addressing issues that affect them and their patients. As a result of this research, we’re designing a community engagement approach that will empower our members and other stakeholders to collaborate to research, discuss key topics, share best practices, and develop solutions.
The first stage of this approach is a Community of Interest Grant, launched in 2018. This grant program will provide our members with funding, strategic advice and coaching to lead communities of interest and make an impact on key issues.
Your participation in CMA’s Member Voice e-Panel and feedback on community engagement was a key driver in designing a member-focused grant program that empowers physicians. Thank you for sharing your voice, and for the work that you do on behalf of patients.