Primary care networks organize, coordinate, and deliver high-quality primary care services for Albertans. The clinics, offices, and ‘Health Homes’ are often our first point of contact with the healthcare system. First and foremost, we need to make sure these networks and their multidisciplinary teams are well resourced. By investing in primary care and reducing the barriers people face using them, we will avoid expensive visits to the emergency department, admissions to hospital, and the negative potential healthcare outcomes associated with poor access to preventive care.
In addition to investing in primary care, we should experiment with new models for how they are organized and funded. The key to the experimentation is putting the patient at the centre, enabling collaboration and integration of providers from specialists and pharmacists to mental health supports and nutritionists. Alternative funding models could help incent a kind of bundled service delivery model and encourage primary care providers to leverage adjuncts to care that help to promote a holistic approach to health and wellness for patients, including nutrition, fitness, and mental health.