Physician Data Elements

The following describes in brief how OPHRDC creates, and renews annually, the major data elements used to prepare Physicians in Ontario reports.

PHYSICIAN SPECIALTY

Records of physicians passing the criteria for inclusion in the Physician Registry are appended with the specialty recorded by the CPSO for the most recent (sub)specialty of RCPSC certification.

Family Physicians and Family Physicians with special competency in Emergency Medicine are identified in certification data provided by the CFPC. And lastly, physicians shown to be billing OHIP in “general practice” are classified as Family Medicine/General Practice.

RCPSC specialty certified physicians who inform surveyors that they are practicing Family Medicine are listed accordingly. RCPSC subspecialties in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics are assigned accordingly. Where specialty information is incomplete or where conflicts exist, OHIP data is consulted or physicians are interviewed to determine correct specialty. Physicians who inform interviewers that they are practicing specialties for which they are not certified are listed in those specialties if they are at the same level and in the general area of their certification.

LOCATION OF PRIMARY PRACTICE

Geographic location is derived from the CPSO and data obtained from the OPHRDC interviews. In some cases web searches are performed to establish practice locations of hard to find individual physicians. OPHRDC has found that postal codes of physician practices are often inaccurate as markers of physical location, particularly in rural areas. OPHRDC now maintains a database of physician practice locations based on actual street address and geographic coordinates based on the digital Ontario street network file.

PHYSICIAN AGE

OPHRDC compares birth date data from several sources. Ages are then calculated in the following way:

  • Report year – DOB year = age

PHYSICIAN SEX

Sex data is derived by comparison of a number of sources.

POPULATION DATA

Population estimates are based on Statistics Canada census data as used by the Ministry of Finance, obtained from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care or purchased from commercial sources.

ADDITIONS AND ATTRITIONS DATA

Tables in the additions and attritions reports are prepared by comparing the records of individual physicians appearing in the current year and previous year’s Active Physician Registries. Physicians added to the current dataset are those described as “additions” and physicians removed from the previous year dataset are those described as “attritions” from the Active Physician Registry.

Physician records are examined in detail to determine the reason for their inclusion in or exclusion from the current Registry.

It is important to note that a physician may have been added or removed for more than one reason. These reasons are listed in the tables from left to right in the order of priority used. Physicians are reported only once using the highest priority for the reports.

Sources for information used in these tables include the following:

  • Licensing and activity status information is obtained from CPSO and OHIP records.
  • Postgraduate training activity is determined from the Ontario Postgraduate Medical Trainee Registry maintained by the OPHRDC.
  • Location, age and retirement information is obtained from a variety of sources, but most emphasis is now placed on results of the OPHRDC’s annual physician interviews, described in The Dynamic Physician Interview.
  • Location information for Ontario licenced physicians practicing in other provinces or overseas is obtained from the Canadian Medical Directory, the American Medical Association database and web searches of a variety of sources.