Primary Health Care
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Primary and Community Care Integration

To find out how Northern Health is working with physicians and our community partners to improve the delivery of health care services, view our video about Primary and Community Care Integration.


Primary health care in action: Nurse Pracitioner Celia Evanson with a patient in her Fraser Lake office .
A public focus group in Valemount discusses primary health care.
Primary health care covers a person's whole lifespan.
The natural environment can contribute to your good health.
Coordinating care with specialists (such as this radiologist) is an important part of primary health care.
Helping people live well with chronic disease is a vital part of primary health care.
Dr. Charles Jago, Chair of Northern Health's Board, speaks at a recent event to explore and promote primary health care.

Primary Health Care

What is primary health care?* 
Primary health care is basic, everyday health care.

Primary health care providers are the first people you see when you access the health care system:

Primary health care is about:

  • Helping people avoid getting sick or injured

  • Managing chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure

  • People playing an active role in their own care

  • Making the most effective use of care providers' expertise

  • Efficiency and coordination

  • Understanding that factors outside the health care system can influence health (for example, air quality)

At Northern Health, we believe primary health care will ensure better health for all of us.
 
Benefits of primary health care:

  • Provides continuous, coordinated, comprehensive care for the "whole person"

  • Helps keep waiting lists down

  • Reduces pressure on emergency rooms

  • Makes the health care system more sustainable in the long term

 

*Modified from material from Heartland Health Region, Saskatchewan

What's Northern Health doing to support primary health care?

Primary health care is an important part of Northern Health's vision. Its Strategic Plan for 2009-2015 states, "Northern people will have access to integrated health services, built on a foundation of primary health care." 

In six Northern communities, Northern Health is integrating services around the primary care home:
The Prince George Division of Family Practice is a group of family doctors who work together for better health care. The group was chosen as one of three provincial prototypes to begin working on providing access to a family doctor for each person who wants one.

What's the government doing to support primary health care?

Activities of the BC government around primary health care include the following: 

Answers to quiz

 

 Scenario

 Is this an example of primary health care?

 Explanation

 
  Angela is in a car accident and is rushed to emergency.   

 No

This scenario involves acute care (the hospital). Primary health care is the kind of care you'd receive from your family doctor, nurse practitioner, physiotherapist, or other first-contact health care provider.
 

 

Mark takes his baby son Tyson to the doctor for a checkup.   

 Yes

Ongoing contact with a family doctor for preventive care throughout a person's life is an important part of primary health care. Baby Tyson is off to a good start!
 
  Emily has surgery to remove her appendix.

 No

As with Angela's visit to the hospital (above), this is not a primary health care situation. However, if Emily's family doctor was the one who discovered  that she had appendicitis and referred her for surgery, that would be an example of primary health care.
 
  Working with a dietitian, James and his family doctor develop a plan to help him manage his diabetes.

 Yes

This is an excellent example of primary health care, which often involves teams of health care providers working together to help people live better with chronic diseases, such as diabetes.  



 
     

Quiz: What is primary health care?

     
 
     

Related reports

Community Consultations on Primary Health Care, Fall 2009 (PDF, 51 pages)



Northern Health Strategic Plan 2009-2015


     
 
     

Where can I get more information?

Your Health

 

Patients and Communities as

Partners

  • Patient Voices Network 
    The Patient Voices Network brings BC patients together to connect, share their experiences and learn from each other.

  • Patients as Partners
    Patients as Partners is a project of ImpactBC that's designed to help patients and families become involved in their own health care.

Other Resources