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Rural / Northern Health Research




Development of a Methodology to Allocate Resources to Help Overcome Physician Shortages in Underserviced Communities
R.W. Pong, J.R. Pitblado, K.V. Nagarajan*, R. Strasser, J.C. Hogenbirk, D. Heng*, M.G. Delmege, and S.M. MacPherson*

Geographic maldistribution of health care practitioners is an enduring and almost universal phenomenon. Physicians, in particular, tend to concentrate in large urban centres, such that many smaller or more remote communities do not have an adequate supply of physicians to meet their medical care needs. Over the years, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has introduced a broad array of programs to deal with this problem, including the Underserviced Areas Program.

This research project focused on developing a new approach with a view to identifying communities or regions that may need assistance to overcome physician shortages and determining the relative levels of assistance that may be required. The research combined an examination of existing resource allocation methodologies, literature reviews, interviews and focus groups to help identify issues, creating indices of medical care needs and physician requirements, and testing the "goodness of fit" of such indices against current situations.

(commissioned by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care)



(Names in bold denote CRaNHR investigators and research staff. Names with an * denote former CRaNHR investigators and research staff.)