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The Ottawa-area Greenboro Family Medicine Centre is enjoying great success achieving the goals of the Patient’s Medical Home (PMH) model of family medicine. The close-knit group is deeply involved in the community and demonstrates dedication to patient-centred care through continuous self-assessment and improvement.

The Centre, which is led jointly by nine physicians, was founded in an Ottawa strip mall in 1985 based on the idea that comprehensive and timely care is possible—principles that form the foundation of the PMH model.

“We are a group of physicians that work collaboratively, all under the same roof,” says Dr. Mark Nassim, who specializes in acute inpatient medicine. “Our goal is to minimize unnecessary referrals by working together.”

The provincial target in Ontario is same-day visits for emergency appointments, and regular appointments achieved within two weeks. According to Dr. Nassim, most of the Centre’s physicians are able to exceed these targets on a regular basis.

It’s clear that the team’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed, as it is the recipient of the Ontario College of Family Physician’s 2016 Family Practice of the Year Award. The question is: what is the Centre’s secret to success?

It may be the commitment to continuous quality improvement. The Centre is involved with a Ministry of Health-funded project to track, assess, and improve patient access. Physicians review their statistics, which they collect and report in order to develop strategies that improve patient access.

“We’re focused on maximizing efficiency while also providing cross coverage for overburdened practices,” says Nassim.

The Centre also focuses heavily on education. Using practical rotations and teaching on a regular basis, physicians supervise students—undergraduate medical, nurse practitioner, and physician assistant—and residents who are completing an extra year of enhanced skills. Several Centre physicians also teach classes and direct events at the University of Ottawa in addition to contributing to teaching programs at Ottawa General Hospital.

Perhaps the real key to the Centre’s 32 years of success is the work put into supporting team members. The staff organize social events, potlucks, and fundraisers, and several of the physicians take care of one another’s children and ageing parents.

“We foster open and constructive communication amongst all our members, and this approach has helped us build and maintain strong, collegial, and respectful relationships amongst our clinic members,” Nassim says. “We are privileged to have a great team spirit and gestalt in our clinic.”

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