Forecasting The Future Supply of Doctors in Ontario

Ben Chan, BSc, MD, MPH, MPA

Health Quality Council

241-111 Research Drive

Saskatoon

Abstract

Physician supply is always a hot topic in the news. In the early 1990s, there was a consensus that Canada had a major physician surplus. Several policies were enacted to address the issue, including medical school enrolment cutbacks, reductions in the intake of foreign-trained physicians, retirement buyouts and practice restrictions for new graduates. Yet, by the late 1990s, physician organizations sounded the alarm that the country had a serious physician shortage. Since then, new medical schools and training positions have been established, foreign physicians are being welcomed again, and governments are trying to repatriate Canadian physicians from the US.

How did previous planning efforts fail to predict the future, and what can be done to avoid the past cycles of boom and bust? In this lecture, Dr. Chan describes how advanced simulation techniques in operations research are being used in Ontario to predict future supply and demand for physician services. His planning model uses iTHINK software for stock and flow modelling (or Markov modelling) to examine movement of physicians through different "states" during their medical career. The model also tests scenarios of what the future physician stock will look like under different policy scenarios. His model has forged a consensus between the medical profession and government on future medical school enrolment size, allocation of residency positions and training programs for foreign physicians.

April 27, 2005

Park Town Hotel

Cocktails 5:30, Dinner 6:00, Presentation 7:00

Tickets $17

For more information contact:

Winfried Grassmann 966-4898 grassman@cs.usask.ca