Primary Care Services for Standalone Clinics
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.
The Primary Care standards contain the following sections:
- Supporting a broader approach to primary health care
- Having the right resources to deliver effective service
- Working together to keep clients healthy
- Providing access to the entry of the health care system
- Delivering and coordinating care across the life cycle
- Maintaining accessible and efficient clinical 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.
The primary care team may include physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, physiotherapists, pharmacists, psychologists, social workers, spiritual care providers, or other therapists. The team may also include representatives from community partner organizations that work closely with the team. Different members of the team may be responsible for the care of the client at different points along the care continuum or at any time during the clinical encounter.