Family doctors keep Toronto healthy

 

Beyond common colds and flu, the number of patients visiting their family doctors for issues related to mental illness and chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension is on the rise, according to a new report on the state of family medicine in the Greater Toronto Area.

The recently released University of Toronto Family Medicine Report shows a wider variety of ailments are being treated by family doctors than in the past. Anxiety, for instance, is one of the top reasons for visits to family doctors in every age group, and the top reason for adult females. Chronic diseases – the greatest health challenge facing Canada and much of the world – are also increasingly managed by family doctors.

Using data from the de-identified electronic medical record data of nearly half-a-million patients, the report is the first evidence-based, comprehensive picture of the role of family doctors in our health-care system and provides new insights into the health and wellbeing of the citizens of Toronto and beyond.

“This report reinforces the findings of international studies which show that having family medicine as the basis of a country’s health-care system keeps people healthier, reduces costs and ensures more equitable access to care,” says Dr. Michael Kidd, chair of U of T’s department of family and community medicine and one of the authors of the report.

“As we start to roll out Ontario Health Teams, this report provides timely evidence and insights into the central role of family doctors, and the members of our teams, in our health-care system.”

(Written by Allison Mullin)

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