Recently attention has been focussed on the significance of primary care to the Canadian healthcare system. Nova Scotia, like other provinces, is seeking ways to improve the healthcare that it provides within a financially constrained publicly funded system. The Strengthening Primary Care Initiative in Nova Scotia (SPCI) was a primary care demonstration project to evaluate specific goals related to primary care. Although the provincial government conceived the SPCI, the approach to its planning and implementation was participatory and consultative. Funded through the federal Health Transition Fund (HTF) (Health Canada 2002) and the government of Nova Scotia, the SPCI involved changes in four communities over a three-year period (2000-2002). These changes included the introduction of a primary healthcare nurse practitioner in collaborative practice with one or more family physicians; remuneration of the family physician(s) with methods other than a solely fee-for-service (FFS)arrangement; and the introduction and utilization of a computerized patient medical record.
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