Longwoods Blog

Primary Care 2025: Capitalizing on rapid change to improve Ontario’s primary healthcare system

The COVID-19 pandemic in Spring 2020 has resulted in rapid adaptive shifts in healthcare design and delivery. The crisis highlighted many fractures and weaknesses within our system, creating chasms in care delivery.

Innovative solutions to emerging challenges were implemented, capitalizing on existing strengths. Galvanized by a cultural shift away from many embedded assumptions and laboured decision-making processes, the pandemic accelerated the momentum towards integrated care and exacerbated the challenges where care is more fragmented.

The objective of this report is to ensure that reforms either implemented during or revoked after the COVID-19 pandemic are aligned with the changes necessary to achieve sustainable high quality care across the province, with a specific focus on the role of primary care. In commiting to improving the provincial health system, it is important to reflect on the gains that rapid change has afforded us, without losing sight of the essential foundational elements required for a high functioning healthcare system.

As a group of primary care leaders, we wish to catalyze this important conversation in order to highlight key areas for change in the immediate future. As we continue to deal with COVID-19 through response, recovery and stabilization, we must remain mindful of medium and long-term goals for establishing the highest level of population health in our province into the future.

Our vision is built on the guiding principles of the Patient Medical Home and Patient Medical Neighborhood – concepts rooted in the understanding that high performing healthcare systems around the world all have strong high-functioning primary healthcare systems. These guiding concepts are inclusive of a holistic model of wellness preservation and illness management that addresses the social determinants of health. We understand leadership of primary care teams to come from any provider in that group, including family physicians and nurse practitioners. This care should be socially accountable, community-responsive and built around a robust ethical framework for population health planning and care delivery.

Overall, our recommendations build on a priority of creating interprofessional, team-based, primary care hubs which have responsibility for the well-being of all people within a geographically defined population and are aligned with work done to date to establish Ontario Health Teams.

We organized our recommendations in accordance with the 10 pillars of the patient medical home.

This report represents the beginning of a conversation. While it was created by a group with professional, geographical, and population diversity, more voices are needed. Further engagement with patients and the broader primary care community is necessary.

Republished with Permission.

This entry was posted on Friday, September 4th, 2020 at 12:50 pm and is filed under Longwoods Online.