Decisions, Decisions: Family Doctors as Gatekeepers to Prescription Drugs and Diagnostic Imaging in Canada – September 2010

Posted on September 28, 2010. Filed under: General Practice, Health Economics, Health Policy | Tags: |

Decisions, Decisions: Family Doctors as Gatekeepers to Prescription Drugs and Diagnostic Imaging in Canada – September 2010

Health Council of Canada

Extract from the foreword:

“As Canada’s population ages and more and more Canadians live with chronic conditions, the use of Canada’s universal,  publicly-funded health care system increases. In our 2009 discussion paper, Value for Money: Making Canadian Health Care Stronger, we found that this increased use – among other factors – had caused health care spending to double over the last decade, reaching an all-time high of $183 billion in 2009.

As a result, we set out to better understand three major drivers of this use – physician services, prescription drugs, and diagnostic imaging – and the relationships among these drivers. We consulted researchers, experts, and government officials in the fields of physician services, pharmaceuticals, and diagnostic imaging. We also turned to other national organizations – noted in the acknowledgements section – for their data and expertise.

In this report, we discuss the role of family physicians as gatekeepers in the use of prescription drugs and diagnostic imaging, since they are often the first point of contact for Canadians, and their decisions directly impact which specific health care services are used. In particular, we set out to identify the main factors – including the available tools and resources – that influence these physician decisions and ensure that health services are safe and appropriate, an objective shared by all Canadians who are interested in better medicine and ensuring a sustainable health care system.”

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