CMPA publishes unique COVID-19 research on 3,800 advice calls received during the first 3 waves of the pandemic

OTTAWA, August 3, 2022—The Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) is proud to announce the publication of unique peer-reviewed research titled COVID-19 related physician questions and concerns: A content analysis of 3,800 advice calls to a medico-legal helpline. This study, now available in CMAJ Open and on the CMPA website, focuses on data analyzed during the first 18 months of the pandemic.

CMPA’s medico-legal helpline: Physician-to-physician support

The CMPA’s team of 45+ physician advisors provide empathetic support and expert guidance to physician members on medico-legal and patient safety challenges through 24,000+ advice calls a year to its medico-legal helpline. In assisting physician members from across the country, the Association collects and maintains a national repository of medico-legal data, the largest of its kind in the world. This data uniquely positions the CMPA to conduct important research on the medico-legal trends of physicians in Canada.

Data driven results – The first 18 months

“The data collected on these 3,800+ advice calls provides valuable insights on physicians’ medico-legal concerns during the early days, weeks, and months of this unprecedented public health event,” said Allan McDougall, Qualitative Researcher, Safe Medical Care Research at the CMPA and co-author of the study. “The results can help to determine future studies and inform subsequent education efforts to support safe care in emerging areas such as virtual care.”

“During the first 18 months of the pandemic, the medical specialty with the highest overall number of calls was family medicine, representing 50.2% of calls. However, when call rates per 1,000 physicians were calculated, dermatology, critical care medicine, ophthalmology, and otolaryngology specialties had higher call rates than family medicine,” said Jacqueline Fortier, Manager, Evidence Synthesis Unit, Safe Medical Care Research at the CMPA and co-author of the study. “These specialties were notably impacted by reductions in important cancer diagnostic procedures such as skin biopsies, and sight saving procedures such as eye surgeries.”

The CMPA is pleased to publish these unique insights into the questions and concerns of Canadian physicians during the first 18 months of the pandemic, reminding us of the challenges but also the adaptability and resilience of physicians during this unprecedented public health crisis. This initiative will help drive ongoing research, enabling the CMPA to continue developing modern, member-focused learning products that enhance patient safety.

CMPA’s COVID-19 Hub – A valuable resource for physicians

These data were invaluable in the development and the continued refinement of a key resource for physicians in Canada, the CMPA COVID-19 Hub. In response to the high call volumes in the first wave, the CMPA developed the hub of commonly asked questions that was then accessible to members on line 24/ 7. Created and launched on CMPA’s website in the early weeks of the pandemic to provide answers to medico-legal questions faced by Canadian physicians, the hub has been accessed more than 312,000 times.

Access the complete published analysis.

For more information or to arrange an interview: [email protected]

About the CMPA

The CMPA delivers efficient, high quality physician-to-physician advice and assistance in medico-legal matters, including the provision of appropriate compensation, on behalf of our members, to patients injured by negligent medical care (fault in Québec). Our evidence-based products and services enhance the safety of medical care, reducing unnecessary patient harm and healthcare costs.

As Canada’s largest physician organization and with the support of our over 105,000 physician members, the CMPA collaborates, advocates, and effects positive change on important healthcare and medico-legal issues. The Association is governed by an elected Council of physicians.

Combination bar/line graph: Total volume of CMPA calls compared to number of COVID-19 cases in Canada, by week from January 19, 2020 to June 25, 2021.

Line graph with multiple lines: Number of CMPA calls related COVID-19, represented by theme (a, b, c) from December 2019 to July 2021.