Cutting Red Tape to Let Doctors Focus on Patients, Not Paperwork

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New initiatives aim to free up 95,000 hours for family doctors across Ontario by minimizing administrative tasks

TORONTO, ON – Health – The Ontario government is launching new initiatives designed to let family doctors spend less time on paperwork and more time treating patients. This move is part of a broader strategy to optimize healthcare delivery by reducing bureaucratic burdens.

Focus on Patient Care

“Our government is making common-sense changes that will reduce the administrative burden on family doctors so that they can spend more time caring for patients instead of doing duplicative or unnecessary paperwork,” emphasized Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. These initiatives are expected to save up to 95,000 hours annually, which doctors can reinvest in patient care.

Innovative Solutions and Technology

Among the strategic changes is the push towards minimizing the use of sick notes by encouraging alternatives like attestations. Additionally, the province is expanding the use of AI to automate tasks like transcribing patient conversations into medical notes, a program that is now reaching over 150 primary care providers.

Digital Transformation in Healthcare

The digital shift includes phasing out fax machines, expanding eServices for referrals and consultations, and enhancing the eForms platform for easier digital interactions. The government is also working with the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) to simplify key medical forms and integrate more digital tools into medical records systems.

Dr. David Daien of OntarioMD and the Summerville Family Health Team highlights the critical nature of these initiatives: “OntarioMD is very proud to be leading this innovative evaluation of AI scribe technology. It is crucial that we test new technologies to make sure they meet the needs of Ontario patients and doctors.”

Streamlining Processes Efforts to streamline healthcare include proposed legislation to prohibit employers from requiring sick notes, which aligns with efforts to reduce the administrative load on healthcare workers. “Our government is putting patients before paperwork and tackling the red tape burden for healthcare workers,” notes David Piccini, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development.

Community and Professional Feedback

The healthcare community has welcomed these changes. Dr. Mekalai Kumanan, President of the Ontario College of Family Physicians, expressed support: “Eliminating unnecessary sick notes is an important change… We remain committed to continuing to work with the Ontario government on solutions.”

Family Physician Mohamed Alarakhia also praised the impact of AI scribes: “Using an AI Scribe has allowed me to focus more on listening to a patient’s concerns… It has significantly reduced the burden of documentation so I can serve my patients better.”

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