Primary Health Care
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Primary and Community Care

Primary and community health care includes the basic health care services that people access through primary care providers such as family doctors and nurse practitioners.

Primary health care is about:

  • Prevention and health promotion services and supporting people to be well (disease and injury free);
  • Supporting people and families to manage chronic disease, like diabetes or high blood pressure;
  • Supporting people and families to take a more active role in their own care (patient as partner approach);
  • Effective use of the expertise of all health care professionals; and
  • Efficiency and coordination in service delivery.

Primary Health Care

Northern Health is committed to working with physicians and the Divisions of Family Practice to implement a model of primary and community health care service delivery that is centred on the person and their family. This approach involves creating interprofessional teams who work in collaboration with primary care providers to provide a range of health care services. This model of service delivery will increase the quality of care by providing continuity of care over time and across settings, resulting in better long-term health outcomes.

Nurse Practitioner examining patient

How is Northern Health making sure care is centred on the person and their family?

Interprofessional teams are being put in place in communities across northern British Columbia. These teams will work closely with primary care physicians and nurse practitioners to accomplish shared health care goals with the person and their family.

In addition, one Electronic Medical Record will be kept for each person instead of multiple electronic and/or paper records. The Electronic Medical Record will be used by the doctor or nurse practitioner and/or interprofessional team providing care for a person, improving the planning and delivery of care.

What is an interprofessional team?

Interprofessional teams are made up of a variety of health care professionals who work with a person’s doctor or nurse practitioner to support their total care.

Interprofessional teams may include:

  • A physician and/or nurse practitioner 
  • Team leader
  • Primary care nurse
  • Mental health clinician
  • Social worker
  • Occupational therapist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Life skills worker
  • Licenced practical nurse
  • Primary care assistant
  • First Nations clinician (First Nations Health Authority)

What is a primary care home?

A primary care home is a person-centred medical care setting, such as a family doctor’s office, where people establish a long-term relationship with a personal physician or nurse practitioner who provides and directs their medical care.

Interprofessional teams are available to the person and family if the person and their primary care provider, including the primary care nurse decide together that the person might benefit from team involvement.

How will health care delivery improve under this new model?

The benefits of taking a person and family centred approach to health care include:

  • Supporting continuity of care over time and across settings;
  • Reducing pressure on emergency rooms;
  • Making health care more sustainable over the long-term.

This approach will increase the quality of care, especially for:

  • The frail elderly;
  • Perinatal (the period immediately before and after birth);
  • Those with mental health and problematic substance use issues;
  • People with one or more complex chronic diseases; and
  • Children with complex health issues.

Will this approach replace visits to my family doctor?

Physicians will continue to be primary care providers for people who have a family doctor. People will be assisted by an interprofessional team if they have more complex needs and require additional support and care to maintain their health.