If you don’t already have an ongoing relationship with a local family doctor or clinic, the first step to establishing one is now as easy as clicking a button thanks to the efforts of Alberta Primary Care Networks and their partners. Click on www.albertafindadoctor.ca on a cellphone, tablet or PC for details of family doctors accepting new patients in communities all across Alberta. Search by location, physician gender and languages spoken. An advanced search tool also lists clinic hours and wheelchair accessibility.
Research shows that patients who have a long-lasting relationship with their family doctor and team, known as a Patient Medical Home, make fewer visits to emergency departments and spend less time in hospital. They stay healthier as they age, live longer, and are more engaged and satisfied with their health care.
Coordinated health care
"Here in the Bow Valley we have more than forty family doctors, working within the ten plus Primary Care Network (PCN) member clinics. Almost half are accepting new patients," says Yvette Penman, Executive Director of Bow Valley PCN. "Find a Doctor makes it easier than ever to link Bow Valley residents to the Patient Medical Home that best fits their long-term health care needs."
The main benefit is continuity of care, coordinated across different settings, leading to better preventive care and chronic disease management. Research confirms that timely, consistent access to a trusted primary health care team, who understands each patient's needs and preferences and their medical history, results in increased support to achieve personal health goals. Duplication is avoided and health information is transferred more smoothly between settings.
Community programs and services
Bow Valley PCN delivers community programs and services, in collaboration between local family doctors and the PCN team of health professionals: nurses, a pharmacist, mental health therapist, lactation consultant, dietitian, and active living consultants, to provide team-based care. PCN nurses are attached to local medical clinics and other professional staff are based in the PCN's offices in Canmore and Banff.
The Province's Primary Care Networks joined forces to build the website and launch the service, with support from Alberta Health Services. Because the website is interactive and regularly updated, there are no delays or long waits for information.
Trusting, patient-centred relationships
"Qualitative and quantitative research confirms that a trusting, patient-centred relationship is central to successful ongoing health management," says Dino Smiljic, Bow Valley PCN's Medical Director. "From the physician's point of view, partnering with patients who are actively engaged in health care decisions helps me better plan and coordinate care, leading to increased patient satisfaction and confidence, as well as positive health outcomes."
To access Find a Doctor, click www.albertafindadoctor.ca and follow the prompts.
Alternatively contact Bow Valley Primary Care Network at 403 675 3000 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org., or call HealthLink Alberta 811