On September 21, 2011, the College of Family Physicians of Canada officially released its new position paper called A Vision for Canada: Family Practice – The Patient’s Medical Home. The document provides an important vision of the future of primary health care in Canada: front-line patient-centred care to meet the health care needs of all Canadians. It incorporates feedback from a broad cross-section of stakeholders, including family physicians, other health professionals and their associations, governments, and patients.
The Patient’s Medical Home (PMH) is a family practice defined by its patients as the place they feel most comfortable, most at home, to present and discuss their personal and family health and medical concerns. Its three over-arching objectives are that:
- Every person in Canada will have the opportunity to be part of a family practice that serves as a Patient’s Medical Home for themselves and their families.
- Patients’ Medical Homes will produce the best possible health outcomes for the patients, the practice populations, and the communities they serve.
- Patients’ Medical Homes will reinforce the importance of the Four Principles of Family Medicine for both family physicians and their patients.
To achieve these objectives, the PMH vision sits on 10 pillars, each representing a goal to achieve for the enhancement of primary health care in Canada::
- Patient-centred care
- A personal family physician for every Canadian
- Team-based care offering patients a broad scope of services
- Timely access to appointments within the practice, and advocacy for and coordination of timely appointments with other health and medical services
- Comprehensive care that meets individual patient and public health needs
- Continuity of care, patient-physician relationship and communication
- Adoption and maintenance of electronic medical records (eMRs) for its patients
- Operation as ideal site for training medical students, family medicine residents, and those in other professions, as well as providing research opportunities
- Ongoing evaluation of the effectiveness of its services as part of its commitment to continuous quality improvement
- Internal support, through governance and management structures, as well as external support, through stakeholders, the government, other health professions and organizations, and the public
Based on research and evidence looking at their impacts on patient health and the health care system, the goals have specific recommendations. These recommendations aim to build on the strengths of family practice and primary care, thus improving the levels of satisfaction and health outcomes of Canadians.
The PMH Vision Paper is available in its full and unabridged version and as an Executive Summary.