A panel of patients in British Columbia recommended more support for team-based care in community health centres and improved electronic medical records among ways to improve primary health care in the province.
“This is a unique opportunity we’ve had to hear from patients,” said Goldis Mitra, the B.C. lead for the OurCare project.
“I was heartened to see how thoughtful, passionate and brave all of these citizens were,” added Mitra, who is also a North Vancouver family physician, teaches at the University of British Columbia and is on the executive of the group BC Family Doctors that represents the profession. “As someone who does work in primary care policy I think it’s really helped me orient my focus to the key issues we really need to be tackling in the province.”
There were 31 randomly selected British Columbians, roughly matching the province’s demographics, who participated on the OurCare B.C. Priorities Panel. They spent some 30 hours together last spring hearing from speakers and discussing ways to make the system better.
The panel was part of a national process to engage Canadians on the future of primary care. Similar panels have been or will be convened in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Manitoba. An earlier phase in the project surveyed some 9,000 people across the country.
Funders of the project, led by Toronto family physician and academic Tara Kiran, include Health Canada, the Max Bell Foundation and Even the Odds, a partnership between retailer Staples and the MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions.
The B.C. panel’s 25 recommendations are included in a 75-page report released this week.