Canadian Medical Association

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is working with doctors to assess how digital health tools are used in physician practices.

Whether it’s charting, filling out third-party forms and sick notes, managing an office, tracking down lab results or following up on patient appointments, physicians’ administrative burden continues to grow.

Though some of these jobs are required to deliver quality care, physicians spend 18.5 million hours on unnecessary administrative tasks every year — equivalent to 55.6 million patient visits.

While electronic medical records (EMRs) have increased health information exponentially, 78% of doctors can’t exchange patient clinical summaries with physicians in other practices.

“Admin burden is not a single activity, but rather the culmination of system inefficiencies, complexities and a lack of interoperability between record-keeping systems. Together, they chip away at physicians’ time with patients, sap our energy and take away the focus on care — the reason we chose medicine.” — CMA President Dr. Kathleen Ross

The CMA has launched a national survey to explore the use and impact of digital health and information technologies in physician practices.

This survey, developed in collaboration with Canada Health Infoway, is open to practising physicians and residents.

The collected feedback will help the CMA identify the benefits, barriers, trends and opportunities for improvement associated with these technologies, part of our national effort to address doctors’ administrative burdens. This work includes calls to simplify, reduce or eliminate federal forms, eliminate unnecessary sick notes and mandate interoperability of health data.

The CMA has also partnered with MD Financial Management and Scotiabank on a $10-million grant for innovative projects to reduce the administrative burden in medicine to improve physician wellbeing calling for an integrated health workforce, including teams with nurses, scribes and administrative support, to help alleviate the administrative burden on physicians and support their professional wellbeing.

Learn more about the CMA’s work to reduce administrative burden

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