P.E.I. to launch new health-care model in 3 communities

·2 min read
Dr. Kristy Newson, president of the P.E.I. College of Family Physicians, says communication is the key to a team-based model of health care. (Steve Bruce/CBC - image credit)
Dr. Kristy Newson, president of the P.E.I. College of Family Physicians, says communication is the key to a team-based model of health care. (Steve Bruce/CBC - image credit)

The Prince Edward Island government plans to set up collaborative structures for patient care that it refers to as "medical homes" and "medical neighbourhoods."

In his state of the province address on Monday, Premier Dennis King said three Island communities will get the new structure this year, staffed by multi-disciplinary teams with electronic medical records a critical part of the initiative.

The "home" is the family doctor, who will co-ordinate each patient's care, and the "neighbourhood" is an integrated team of other health-care providers, which could include nurse practitioners, diabetes nurse educators, and dietitians among others.

The person's overall medical care will be documented and communicated through an electronic health record.

Dr. Kristy Newson, president of the P.E.I. College of Family Physicians, said the family physician will be like the quarterback for your care, but an entire team of people could be working to improve your health.

"The evolution of family medicine and the way we are training early career family physicians is in this team-based model, and the key is the communication between all the providers," she told Island Morning host Mitch Cormier on Wednesday.

"So you have your own network of allied health-care professionals that you interact with on a daily basis. And they always have communication back to the physician as the centre of the medical home."

National blueprint

The P.E.I. college's site links to a College of Family Physicians of Canada document that calls the concept a blueprint "for the future of family practice in Canada."

The document explains that the medical neighbourhood "includes the many realms of health care outside of primary care, such as referrals to other medical specialists, health care providers, hospitals, long-term care, and home care structures, or to broader social and community supports such as community-based mental health and addictions supports and other social services."

The document goes on: "Similar networks have been formed across Canada and around the world with the goals of providing improvements to patient outcomes, safety, and experience; lower costs through reduced duplication of services; improved delivery of preventive services; and more evidence-based patient care."

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