Supporting integration through primary health care teams: A comparative policy analysis across four Canadian provinces

MSFHR is contributing match-funding towards Dr. Nelly Oelke’s research, awarded through SPOR Networks in Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations – Provincial/ Territorial Comparative Program and Policy grant. Dr. Oelke is undertaking this pan-Canadian project across four provinces (BC, AB, ON, and QC) with a team of researchers including the following PIs: S. Montesanti (AB), S. Johnston (ON), and M. Breton (QC).

Primary health care (PHC) models in Canada continue to change. There are still many gaps in understanding what works and what doesn't work for PHC teams, specifically, to promote integration and continuity of care for patients with complex needs (e.g. more than one chronic condition). The goal of this research is to study provincial and regional policy documents (guiding principles and courses of action) that support health services integration for patients with complex needs through PHC teams. Patient engagement in developing and applying policies will also be looked at.

This study will include three phases.

The results of this study will provide a better understanding of BC’s current policies for PHC teams, and how these support or create barriers to integrated health services delivery. It will also provide a better understanding of how BC patients and caregivers are involved in developing and applying policies in this area. Given BC’s focus on primary health care transformation, these will be most beneficial in supporting change.

Finally, the study will provide a set of leading national practices for integrated health services delivery through PHC teams that will be helpful to all participating provinces, other provinces in Canada, and internationally.