Media release: Multispecialty physician networks in Ontario

Submitted by Carlyn Zwarenstein on May 15, 2013 - 13:20

Open Medicine

A peer-reviewed, independent, open-access journal.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Multispecialty physician networks in Ontario

This week, Open Medicine <http://www.openmedicine.ca/> published a paper: “Multispecialty physician networks in Ontario”. The authors investigated the possibility of identifying existing but informal networks among practitioners.

Managing chronic diseases is an expensive, long-term and difficult task. However, through effective networks of multispeciality physicians, with a central role for patients’ primary care provider, it is possible to provide high quality care for patients living with chronic disease at low cost.

The authors of the present study assessed the extent to which informal, existing multispecialty physician networks in Ontario could be identified. The idea was to use available health administrative data to exploit natural linkages among patients, physicians, and hospitals based on existing patient flow—that is, on where patients naturally go when they require health care.

 

Networks used in the study were not based on physical or geographical proximity; rather, the authors looked for natural linkages among patients and health care providers by linking Ontario residents to their primary care providers, linking specialists to the hospitals where they provided most in-patient services, and linking primary care physicians to the hospitals where their patients are most often admitted.


In this way, the authors were able to identify 78 multispecialty physician networks. In fact, they found that an informal, multispecialty, relatively self-contained network can indeed be identified for virtually all eligible Ontario residents.

It’s like you look into the sky and you see a blur of stars and someone suddenly says ‘hey, there’s a pattern’,” says Dr. Stukel on her team’s findings. “We’ve revealed the patterns which are virtual networks in which hospitals and physicians are already practising.”

The authors go on to suggest that formally constituting these already existing networks—formalizing them, better integrating services and communication within them, and evaluating them—could further increase accountability and effectiveness. Ultimately, this might provide a better, more cost-effective standard of care, with fewer unnecessary hospitalizations, for patients living with chronic disease and with complex needs.

For more information, please visit Open Medicine <http://www.openmedicine.ca/> and see the attached paper.

Therese A. Stukel, PhD, is a Senior Scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Toronto, Ontario; an Adjunct Professor at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Giesel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire; and a Professor at the Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario. Richard H. Glazier, MD, MPH, FCFP, is a Senior Scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences; a Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto; a Clinician Scientist in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto; a Scientist at the Centre for Research on Inner City Health in the Keenan Research Centre of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital; and a Family Physician in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Ontario. Susan E. Schultz, MA, MSc, is an Epidemiologist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Toronto, Ontario. Jun Guan, MSc, is a Lead Analyst at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Toronto, Ontario. Brandon M. Zagorski, MS, is a Data Analyst at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Toronto, Ontario. Peter Gozdyra, MA, is a Medical Geographer at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and the Centre for Research on Inner City Health in the Keenan Research Centre of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Ontario. David A. Henry, MBChB, FRCPE(Edin), is the CEO of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and a Professor in the Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario.

For more information, please contact:

Deborah Creatura
Communications, ICES
deborah.creatura@ices.on.ca
(o) 416-480-4780 or (c) 416-904-4547

To register to receive e-mail updates or RSS feeds from Open Medicine, please visit: openmedicine.ca

<http://www.openmedicine.ca/>

Commenting on this Blog entry is closed.