CFPC Position Statement supports access to EMR data for quality improvement and research

November 28, 2017

(November 28, 2017, Mississauga, ON) – The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) today released a new position statement related to access to electronic medical records (EMRs) to support practice-level quality improvement (QI) activities and research in family medicine and primary care. The statement is supported by the Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN) and the University of Toronto Practice-Based Research Network (UTOPIAN).

The statement identifies current demands imposed by EMR vendors that may restrict access to data through prohibitive fees, restrictions on third party extraction and analyses, or limitations on the type or frequency of data extractions.

“The ability to analyze EMR data is essential to quality health care and the ability to measure progress,” says CFPC President Guillaume Charbonneau, MD, CCFP, FCFP. “Quality improvement, family medicine research, and disease surveillance are fundamental requirements to support our health care system.”

“CPCSSN relies on access to EMR data so we can better understand population health,” adds CPCSSN Director Richard Birtwhistle, MD, MSc, CCFP, FCFP. “Access to these data should not be subject to prohibitive charges by EMR vendors for data extraction.”

“Data stored in EMRs actually belong to our patients,” says UTOPIAN Acting Director Michelle Greiver, MSc, MD, CCFP, FCFP. “The adoption of EMRs is subsidized through provincial and territorial public funding. Public funds should not then be required again to extract patient-owned data used to inform and improve care delivery.”

In 2017, 85 per cent of family physicians in Canada use EMR systems; an increase from 16 per cent in 2004. The growth is very positive to support QI, research, and high-quality and safe care for patients—defining pillars of the Patient’s Medical Home, a model of patient-centred care as defined by the CFPC.

*Canada Health Infoway. Use of Electronic Medical Records among Canadian Physicians, 2017 Update. Toronto, ON: Canada Health Infoway; 2017.

The CFPC represents more than 36,000 members across the country. It is the professional organization responsible for establishing standards for the training and certification of family physicians. The CFPC reviews and accredits continuing professional development programs and materials that enable family physicians to meet certification and licensing requirements and lifelong learning interests. It also accredits postgraduate family medicine training in Canada’s 17 medical schools. The College provides quality services, supports family medicine teaching and research, and advocates on behalf of family physicians and the specialty of family medicine.

Susan Monic
Manager, Communication Services
College of Family Physicians of Canada
905-629-0900 ext 432
[email protected]   

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