Primary Health Care
The concept of team-based primary health care has been around for decades. While not a new idea, it’s a model of health care delivery that’s being embraced and adopted by the BC Provincial Government. It’s a model that recognizes the patient and their families as integral members of a team of care providers.
The promise and benefits of team-based primary health care
Primary health care is organized around the needs of the patient, offers patients a regular primary point of contact, and is an entry point into the health care system.
Team-based primary health care promises the patient effective, accessible, timely and equitable health care as well as:
- timely and consistent access to quality primary care and urgent care closer to home
- a patient-centered experience, with seamless access to the appropriate services and supports in the community
- increased support for those with complex and/or chronic health conditions
- improved care for priority populations including maternity patients, the frail elderly, and those living with mental health conditions and addictions
- enhanced end-of-life care
- culturally safe and equitable care for those who are racialized or marginalized
On a broader scale, this approach to health care delivery has been shown to contribute to the overall health of our population, better health outcomes, and improved job satisfaction and retention of health care providers.
For the health care system, team-based primary health care can be delivered at a lower cost, which contributes to the sustainability of our system. By giving patients access to a consistent and available point of contact, they can avoid visits to hospitals’ emergency rooms and to walk-in clinics.
A new way to deliver health care
Team-based primary health care delivery is built on formalized teams of health care providers. Teams may or may not be co-located, and are often organized locally through various partnerships of doctors, divisions of family practice, health authorities, community partners and the Ministry of Health.
For many health care professionals, this shift to formalized team-based care will be a new way of collaborating and working together. Delivering care efficiently and effectively under this model requires a deeper knowledge and appreciation of team-based dynamics, leadership skills, and policies and processes.