In Ontario, physician human resources planning has historically been supply or utilization-based; however these methods do not inform as to whether the supply is appropriate relative to population health need. In partnership with the Ontario Medical Association, the Ministry hired the Conference Board of Canada to develop a needs-based simulation model to project future supply of and need for physicians in Ontario. It compares the supply of physician services to the population's need for health services to quantify a gap in services and the physician requirement.
Need for physician services is based on how various socio-economic and lifestyle risk factors in the population (e.g. smoking) will contribute to the incidence and prevalence of various conditions in the future (e.g. lung cancer). Supply of physician services is based on the flow of physicians from the education system to practice and physician survey response data on how much time each practising physician specialty spends treating these conditions. A variety of data sources were used in conjunction with specially formed expert panels and a survey specifically designed for this project. When combined with other quantitative and qualitative evidence, this model can improve our understanding of how policy interventions affect physician supply and its appropriateness.
Base simulation results are available by specialty and Local Health Integration Network. For more information, please see the project final report, cover letter from the project co-chairs and frequently asked questions.