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Best Advice Guide: Panel Size

Actionable guidelines on factors affecting practice panel size and measures of performance and quality of care.

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The PMH Best Advice Guide on Panel Size is a tool that provides Canadian family physicians with guidance on factors affecting practice panel size. Panel size is defined as the number of individual patients under the care of a specific provider.

This resource defines panel size, provides approaches, identifies factors that affect panel size, and addresses the measures that gauge performance.

The central reason for establishing an appropriate panel size is to support the delivery of high quality care. There are several approaches to determining a panel size. To ensure an appropriate and equitable panel size, a family physician should consider adjusting the panel size in relation to the physician’s practice style and patient population.

Factors that affect panel size include:

  • The health care system (provider remuneration, scope of practice of associates, access)
  • Practice context (population, community, physician characteristics)
  • Organization of practice (human resources, office infrastructure)

Some of the listed indicators of quality include:

  • Accessibility
  • Continuity
  • Comprehensiveness
  • Patient satisfaction
  • Chronic disease management
  • Preventive care
  • Health outcomes

The CFPC recommends establishing panel size targets and conducting ongoing monitoring. A monitoring strategy must ensure quality of care, accessibility, patient satisfaction, comprehensiveness of services, and staff effectiveness.

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