FAQs

Here are Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for the Primary Healthcare Panel Report. More questions? Send us a note: primaryhealthcarereports@hqca.ca.

What are the panel reports?
  • Panel reports provide family physicians with a personalized summary about their patients (their panel) including panel characteristics (size, burden of illness, deprivation indexes), screening rates, continuity, and patient utilization of services both inside and outside clinic walls.
Why does the HQCA produce panel reports?
  • Panel reports were developed to support physicians to better understand their patient panel and the care their patients receive. The HQCA has a legislated mandate to promote and improve patient safety, person-centred care, and health service quality for Albertans. Panel reports are one mechanism that supports this mandate and overall improvement in the health system.
Where does the data in the panel report come from?
  • The panel report is a combination of administrative health data and your patient panel list.
  • The administrative data is from Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services e.g., physician billing activity, inpatient hospital, lab use, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, Emergency Department, cancer screening, vaccination data
  • The panel list is either estimated by the HQCA (proxy), or is provided by the physician (confirmed), or is provided by the CII-CPAR initiative for participating physicians.
  • Watch this video to learn more about where the data comes from.
How does the HQCA know who is on my patient panel?
  • The panel list is either estimated by the HQCA (proxy), is provided by the physician (confirmed), or is provided by the CII-CPAR initiative for participating physicians.
What is a proxy panel?
  • It is an estimate of your patient panel derived from the proxy algorithm developed by the HQCA.
How does the HQCA estimate who is on my proxy panel?
  • The HQCA uses a proxy algorithm to assign patients to a single physician. The proxy algorithm is probabilistic, so it goes through steps (or cuts) for each patient to produce an estimate that there is a highly probable relationship between a physician and a patient.
  • To be included in the algorithm, the patient must have visited a primary care physician in the last three years at a primary care setting and be an active patient (covered under the Alberta Healthcare Insurance Plan as of one year prior to the release of the report).
  • Any patient that is assigned to a physician is a patient they billed for at least once in the previous three years.
How did the HQCA develop the proxy algorithm?
  • The HQCA reverse engineered the patient-provider relationship (through patient activity, diagnostic codes and procedure codes) for over 200,000 patients from over 200 confirmed patient lists to develop the algorithm.
Is the proxy algorithm the same as the Alberta Health 4-cut method?
  • The HQCA uses a 5-cut method to generate proxy panels whereas Alberta Health uses a 4-cut method to determine panel size and PCN funding. This means there might be differences in panel sizes between the HQCA proxy panel and panel size determined by Alberta Health.
What is a confirmed patient list?
  • A Confirmed Patient List (CPL) is a list of patients where the patient and physician have agreed that this physician is their family physician and most responsible for their care.
  • A confirmed list is created from your Electronic Medical Record (EMR).
  • Physicians can work with their support team (e.g., Improvement Facilitator, Panel Manager, etc.,) to send the HQCA their confirmed list for a CPL report. If participating in the CII-CPAR, the confirmed list will come directly to the HQCA from the CPAR.
  • See: Instructions for submitting your confirmed patient list to the HQCA.
What if I am participating in CII-CPAR? Do I need to submit my list to the HQCA as well?
  • If you are participating in CII-CPAR, and interested in receiving a Confirmed Patient List (CPL) report, you do not need to submit your CPL to the HQCA. Simply request your CPL report from the HQCA annually. We will generate your panel report based on your panel list from CPAR.
How can I use this report?
  • Use it to help identify “what matters to you?” Use the data to make appropriate and strategic decisions based on what matters to you and the needs of your business and patient panel. Take the guesswork out of planning. Use the information to determine your ideal panel size based on how many days you work and how often your patients use healthcare services, learn about when your patients go to the ED and for what reasons, and what is the relationship between your continuity rate and other measures like screening rates and service utilization.
  • Self-identify areas of interest using peer benchmarks. Peer comparisons provide you with an external perspective on your practice so you can identify areas where you are practicing differently from your peers or your patients are using the system differently from others in their geographic area.
  • Identify actionable business and improvement opportunities. Having the ability to drill down into the data makes practice change more manageable and actionable. For example, identify gaps in screening and key preventive interventions. Focus your efforts on those patients who need it the most e.g., go from identifying all patients not screened for diabetes, to those who are at high risk and not screened (e.g., patients with cardiovascular disease and no diabetes screening on record).
  • Strengthen your patients’ medical home. Gain insight into what happens outside of your clinic walls and your EMR. See how your patients use other healthcare services like ED visits (and for what purpose) and family doctors. Data informs how to allocate resources and identify services needed and improvement opportunities based on your panel.
Sometimes I feel this is not my data because it does not reflect how I practice, why is that?
  • The measures in the panel report are derived from patient activity and the services patients’ use, so a physician might see patient information results that are incongruent with their practice. For example:
    • A physician might see that their patients are being dispensed a pharmaceutical they did not prescribe? Why? The patient obtained a prescription from another provider.
Do I order a proxy or confirmed report?

Choosing the right report to request is an important first step. Visit this page to better decide what’s best for you.

 

Will my panel list be more accurate if I participate in CII-CPAR?
  • The measures in the panel report are most accurate when your panel truly represents the list of patients for whom you are the most responsible provider. Participating in CII-CPAR is the most accurate process to validate and share your panel information. To get started, with CII-CPAR visit this website.
How is my privacy protected?
  • Physician-level panel reports are confidential and are not shared with anyone other than the physician unless requested by that physician.