Alberta Medical Association

Alberta Medical Association

January 30, 2013 15:30 ET

Primary Care Summit: Alberta Doctors Begin Consultations With Patients on Primary Care Networks (PCNs)

EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Jan. 30, 2013) - This Saturday, February 2, Alberta doctors will seek input from their patients on how to improve the delivery of primary care, when the Alberta Medical Association (AMA) and the Primary Care Alliance host this Primary Care Summit at the Hotel Macdonald in Edmonton.

Edmonton-area patients and physicians from across the province will discuss primary care delivery in Alberta today and what their expectations are for the future. This summit will seek the input of patients to facilitate family physicians providing excellent comprehensive care and to achieve access that better meet the needs of patients.

Alberta's family physicians are undertaking a review of the first 10-year phase of primary care network (PCN) development, and are delighted to include the perspectives of patients to add to the analysis. The viability and role of the proposed 140 family care clinics that the provincial government has promised to introduce will also be discussed and included in the analysis. Doctors attending the summit will discuss how the government's proposed family care clinics will impact current PCNs operating across the province today.

"Now we need to take PCNs to the next level, which is being described as PCNs 2.0," said AMA President Dr. Michael Giuffre. "It's our firm belief that our patients need to have a strong voice in what comes next, and patients and doctors working together will truly enable us to create an efficient and effective primary health care system in Alberta."

Primary care in Alberta has changed significantly since the innovation of PCNs a decade ago. Today, 85% of all family physicians are in PCNs that provide care to 2.8 million Albertans. PCNs were, and continue to be, the catalyst for creating primary health care teams comprised of physicians and other health care professionals such as nurses, pharmacists, dieticians, psychologists, social workers, therapists, etc.

Dr. Giuffre added: "If we are going to be successful in improving primary care in this province, we need to hear the patients' views on how the family doctor's office functions within a primary care network, including what innovations should be considered." An independent facilitator will guide the session.

  • What do you like about how the office of your family physician operates?
  • What could be improved?
  • What should be added?
  • What should be dropped?

Results of the consultation will be used to design broader public research, which will then be considered at the second primary care summit to be held in Calgary.

Keynote speakers include:

  • Dr. Giuffre
  • Dr. Ann Vaidya, President of the AMA's Section of General Practice, "Can you really see the future in a crystal ball?"
  • Dr. Phillip van der Merwe, representative for the PCN physician leads, "An innovation called primary care networks."
  • Dr. Tobias Gelber, President of the AMA's Section of Rural Medicine, an in-camera assessment of Alberta Health's application to become a family care clinic.
  • Dr. Cathy Scrimshaw, President of the Alberta College of Family Physicians, an in-camera perspective on the development of family care clinics.
  • Jim Swaffield, a full-time lecturer with the University of Alberta's School of Business, "Rethinking the notion of patient service."

The Primary Care Alliance includes the sections of General Practice and Rural Medicine, the PCN physician leads and the Alberta College of Family Physicians.

The afternoon in-camera session (with physicians only) will focus on Alberta Health's planned introduction of family care clinics and its 121-page application.

Other topics being considered for future summits are:

  • Secondary and tertiary care, and Alberta Health Services' plans for strategic clinical networks.
  • Health care in rural Alberta.


9 a.m. - Presentations by Dr. Giuffre, Dr. Vaidya, Dr. van der Merwe and Mr. Swaffield.

10 a.m. - Media availability.

1:15 p.m. - Media availability: What did we hear this morning.

Contact Information