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Indicator Metadata

NameProportion of Physicians in Rural Areas
Short/Other Names

Not applicable

DescriptionThis indicator measures the proportion of active physicians in rural areas.
InterpretationThis indicator can be used to measure the distribution of physicians in rural areas and to monitor changes over time.
HSP Framework Dimension

Health System Inputs and Characteristics: Health system resources

Areas of Need

Not applicable

Geographic Coverage

All provinces/territories

Reporting Level/Disaggregation

National, Province/Territory

Indicator Results

https://secure.cihi.ca/estore/productFamily.htm?locale=en&pf=PFC3269&lang=en&media=0

Identifying Information
NameProportion of Physicians in Rural Areas
Short/Other Names

Not applicable

Indicator Description and Calculation
DescriptionThis indicator measures the proportion of active physicians in rural areas.
Calculation: DescriptionNumber of active physicians in rural areas divided by the number of total active physicians in rural and urban areas
Calculation: Geographic Assignment

Place of residence or service

Calculation: Type of Measurement

Percentage or proportion

Calculation: Adjustment Applied

None

Calculation: Method of Adjustment

Not applicable

Denominator

Description:
The number of total active physicians in rural and urban areas
Inclusions:
1. Active physicians in clinical and non-clinical practice (for example, research and academia) who have an MD degree and a valid mailing address
Exclusions:
1. Residents, physicians in the military, and semi-retired and retired physicians

2. Non-registered physicians who requested that their information not be published as of December 31 of the reference year

3. Physicians whose urban/rural status is unknown

Numerator

Description:
The number of active physicians in rural areas. Rural status is derived using the postal code associated with the physician's primary mailing address. Based on Statistics Canada's methodology, postal codes outside of census metropolitan areas (CMAs) or census agglomerations (CAs) were coded as rural.
Inclusions:
1. Active physicians in clinical and non-clinical practice (for example, research and academia) who have an MD degree and a valid mailing address
Exclusions:
1. Residents, physicians in the military, and semi-retired and retired physicians

2. Non-registered physicians who requested that their information not be published as of December 31 of the reference year

Background, Interpretation and Benchmarks
Rationale

The geographic distribution of physicians is a major health care issue. There is a general belief that there is an uneven distribution of physicians, which means rural areas may have an inadequate supply. This indicator can be used to measure the distribution of physicians in rural areas and to monitor changes over time.

Interpretation

This indicator can be used to measure the distribution of physicians in rural areas and to monitor changes over time.

HSP Framework Dimension

Health System Inputs and Characteristics: Health system resources

Areas of Need

Not applicable

Targets/Benchmarks

Not applicable

References

Not applicable

Availability of Data Sources and Results
Data Sources

SMDB

Available Data Years

Type of Year:
Calendar
First Available Year:
2011
Last Available Year:
2015

Geographic Coverage

All provinces/territories

Reporting Level/Disaggregation

National, Province/Territory

Result Updates
Update Frequency

Every year

Indicator Results

Web Tool:
CIHI's eStore: Supply, Distribution and Migration of Physicians in Canada, 2015
URL: https://secure.cihi.ca/estore/productFamily.htm?locale=en&pf=PFC3269&lang=en&media=0

Updates

Not applicable

Quality Statement
Caveats and Limitations

The accuracy of the number of active physicians depends greatly on the validity of physicians' mailing addresses. Under-coverage issues may occur when physicians work in locum positions, since they may change locations frequently. Scott's Directories cannot add locum physicians to its "active" physicians group if there is insufficient information on them. Therefore, these physicians will be absent from the Scott's Medical Database (SMDB) counts. When sufficient address information is available, locum physicians are assigned to just one province or territory within the SMDB, even if they do locum work in multiple jurisdictions.

Trending Issues

Not applicable

Comments

Not applicable