There is no existing validated method for identifying people with common chronic diseases, nor are there existing information sources about the severity of most chronic illnesses. There are also few data sources that indicate whether people have, do not have or cannot find a regular family doctor.
This study will use a number of approaches to define chronic conditions, to measure the severity of illness and co-existing diseases, and to identify people without a regular family doctor. Any analysis of people without a family doctor will include a number of people who are relatively healthy, creating biased estimates of the impact of not having a regular family doctor. While this study's analyses will attempt to reduce such effects, they cannot be completely eliminated and so calculations of impacts or costs will be under-estimates.