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OCFP Statement: Administrative Burden

April 24, 2024

Family doctors are the foundation of Ontario’s health care system, and Ontario needs family physicians spending time with patients, not on paperwork.  

Last year, the OCFP surveyed our members and more than 1,300 family doctors responded. We heard loud and clear that they wanted OCFP to help cut the administrative burden.  

With family physicians spending, on average, 19 hours a week on administrative tasks, the Ontario College of Family Physicians has been a strong advocate for the Ontario government to help reduce the administrative burden. 

Today, the Ontario Government announced that it will be introducing legislation to ensure that Ontario’s workers who are sick for three days, as protected under the Employment Standards Act, will no longer require a doctor’s note. The OCFP estimates that approximately 261,000 physician hours – that’s approximately 1 million appointments – could be saved each year in Ontario by eliminating requirements for sick notes for three days of unpaid leave set out in the Employment Standards Act.  

The Ontario Government has also announced plans for a pilot where more than 150 primary care providers will use artificial intelligence to automatically transcribe conversations with consenting patients into electronic medical notes. At this time, the OCFP does not have further details on how this initiative will roll out. We welcome any meaningful steps, including increasing the adoption of innovative digital heath solutions, to support family doctors in their practice so they can focus on patients, not paperwork.   

We must keep the momentum going and act with urgency. 

We are encouraged by the government’s ongoing efforts with the OMA to improve and streamline government forms. The OCFP continues to work toward government-focused solutions to cut the administrative burden. We are asking the government to help relieve additional pain points for family physicians and patients by supporting adoption of other innovative digital health initiatives such as virtual assistants, modernizing digital health records and advancing a central intake system for referrals. 

Beyond government, the OCFP is working with partners across the system to reduce administrative burden and re-focus more physician time towards providing care: shortening and standardizing insurance forms, streamlining workflows with pharmacy, simplifying incoming reports from hospitals and clarifying roles and responsibilities with other health sectors to ensure care is happening in the right setting.   

The OCFP will not stop advocating until family doctors have relief from the untenable amounts of administrative work they are experiencing.  

While admin is important, we know that compensation is also key to retaining family doctors. Compensation has not kept pace with inflation and does not reflect the complex care family doctors provide. We look forward to the Ontario Medical Association and the Ontario Government negotiating an agreement that reflects the value of family doctors. 


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