Primary Care Services
Accreditation Canada's sector- and service-based standards help organizations assess quality at the point of service delivery and embed a culture of quality, safety, and client- and family-centred care into all aspects of service delivery. The standards are based on five key elements of service excellence: clinical leadership, people, process, information, and performance.
Accreditation is one of the most effective ways for organizations to regularly and consistently examine and improve the quality of their services. The standards provide a tool for organizations to embed accreditation and quality improvement activities into their daily operations with the primary focus being on including the client and family as true partners in service delivery.
Client- and family-centred care is an approach that guides all aspects of planning, delivering and evaluating services. The focus is always on creating and nurturing mutually beneficial partnerships among the organization’s team members and the clients and families they serve. Providing client- and family-centred care means working collaboratively with clients and their families to provide care that is respectful, compassionate, culturally safe, and competent, while being responsive to their needs, values, cultural backgrounds and beliefs, and preferences (adapted from the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care (IPFCC) 2008 and Saskatchewan Ministry of Health 2011).
Accreditation Canada has adopted the four values that are fundamental to this approach, as outlined by the IPFCC, and integrated into the service excellence standards. The values are:
- Dignity and respect: Listening to and honouring client and family perspectives and choices. Client and family knowledge, values, beliefs, and cultural backgrounds are incorporated into the planning and delivery of care.
- Information sharing: Communicating and sharing complete and unbiased information with clients and families in ways that are affirming and useful. Clients and families receive timely, complete, and accurate information in order to effectively participate in care and decision-making.
- Partnership and participation: Encouraging and supporting clients and families to participate in care and decision making to the extent that they wish.
- Collaboration: Collaborating with clients and families in policy and program development, implementation and evaluation, facility design, professional education, and delivery of care.
Following a review of national and international literature and organizations including the World Health Organization and Health Canada, Accreditation Canada defines primary care:
"As part of the broader primary health care framework, primary care is a service at the entry to the health care system that addresses diagnosis, ongoing treatment and management of health conditions as well as health promotion, disease and injury prevention, and referral to health care specialists."
The Primary Care standards contain elements of a concept known as the primary care "patient-centred medical home." Clients with a medical home are much more likely to receive high quality, safe and appropriate primary care services, and to be satisfied with the services they receive. The "patient-centred medical home" includes the following principles: a regular physician or setting of care; the physician or team take responsibility for the ongoing care of patients; enhanced access through open scheduling and a setting of care that is easy to contact during regular office hours; and the coordination and integration of care across all elements of the health care system such as other physicians, providers or settings.
This set of standards contains the following sections:
- Investing in quality services
- Building a prepared and competent team
- Providing safe and effective services
- Maintaining accessible and efficient information systems
- Monitoring quality and achieving positive outcomes
The primary care standards may be applied in the following settings: the family practice, clinic, hospital or in a community health centre. Primary care services can be delivered by one practitioner or a group, team, or network of primary care providers and can be co-located, or delivered in a number of sites.
All Accreditation Canada standards are developed through a rigorous process that includes a comprehensive literature review, consultation with a standards working group or advisory committee comprised of experts in the field, and evaluation by client organizations and other stakeholders.