Enhancing Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Primary Health Care Initiative

More Collaboration the Key to Primary Health Care Reform

OTTAWA, September 9, 2022 � Canada's leaders in primary health care are joining  forces to examine how they can work together more collaboratively to deliver quality health services and improve health outcomes for their patients and clients.

An injection of $6.5 million in funding from the Health Canada Primary Health Care Transition Fund has created an opportunity for health care professionals on the front line to take a fresh look at how to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration. This will lead to better co-ordination of their work to improve access to health promotion, disease and injury prevention and health care services in our communities.

The Enhancing Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Primary Health Care (EICP) Initiative, has already established an ambitious schedule of research and consultations so it can complete its work by the spring of 2006. 

Specifically, the EICP Initiative will deliver:

  • A set of principles and a framework that will enhance the prospects and options for more collaborative care in settings across the country;

  • Research describing best practices and the state of collaborative care in Canada;

  • Tools to help primary health care providers work together more effectively; and

  • Recommendations that will help the public, provincial/territorial governments, regional health authorities, regulators, private insurers and educators embrace and implement the principles and framework.

�Our ultimate goal is the development of a set of principles and a framework for collaboration that primary health care providers can really run with, � says Dr. John Service, Executive Director of the Canadian Psychological Association and chair of the EICP Steering Committee. �This Initiative will be successful if we can prove the �value added� of collaborative care for patients/clients and their health care providers, and start a movement within the health care sector to champion this new approach.� 

Primary health care refers to the first level of care and the initial point of contact that a patient/client has with the health system. Collaboration in primary health care can mean anything from the co-location of primary health care providers (e.g. physicians, nurses, dietitians, occupational therapists, pharmacists, psychologists, physiotherapists, social workers, speech-language pathologists and audiologists) to more holistic teams of professionals with complementary skills and training.  Collaboration among the professions can also lead to a stronger emphasis on preventative approaches and health promotion.

�Collaboration among the various providers of health services at the primary care level is absolutely the key to getting more out of our health care system and improving health outcomes for patients and clients, � says Dr. Service. �This Initiative will allow us to highlight best practices and share the wisdom of those professionals who recognize the power of collaboration to ensure that patients/clients have access to the right professional and the right services, at the right time.�

�Reforms at the primary health care level will have a ripple effect through the entire health care system, � says Dr. Glen Roberts, Executive Director for the EICP Initiative. �If we get it right at the front line, we have a better chance of sustaining our system in the longer term, by achieving savings while enhancing our capacity to deliver quality services.�

This fall, the Initiative commenced a series of consultations with stakeholder groups and governments, and is gathering Canadian data about collaborative practices.  The EICP Initiative will devote considerable attention to the impediments and �enablers� to collaboration (e.g. funding structures, resistance to change by the professions, regulations, professional liability and the application of technologies in health care).

Funding for this initiative originates from the $800 million Primary Health Care Transition Fund (PHCTF), which was established in September 2000 by the Government of Canada to support the efforts of provinces and territories, and other stakeholders, to develop and implement transitional primary health care reform initiatives, as part of the overall renewal of Canada's health care system.

The EICP Initiative is guided by representatives of many of the key primary health care providers in Canada and is managed by The Conference Board of Canada.  Partners include: Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists; Canadian Association of Social Workers; Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists; Canadian Medical Association; Canadian Nurses Association; Canadian Pharmacists Association; Canadian Physiotherapy Association; Canadian Psychological Association; College of Family Physicians of Canada; Canadian Coalition on Enhancing Preventative Practices of Health Professionals; and Dietitians of Canada.

The EICP Initiative also launched a web site today at www.eicp-acis.ca.

that will track the Initiative's progress and provide background information about collaboration in primary health care.  The web site will also provide an opportunity for input and feedback via interactive features, such as on-line surveys.

For more information:

EICP Initiative Media spokespersons:
Dr. Glen Roberts, EICP Executive Director
& Dr. John Service, EICP Chair
Tel:      613-526-3090 ext. 460
Fax:     613-526-4857
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site: www.eicp-acis.ca.

EICP Steering Committee � Media Contacts

Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists
Lauren Klump

Communications Coordinator
613- 523-CAOT (2268) ext. 225 (Ottawa)
1-800-434-CAOT (2268) toll free from Canada and continental USA

Canadian Association of Social Workers
Eugenia Moreno
Executive Director

Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists
Ondina Love, CAE
Executive Director
613-567-9968 ext. 27

Canadian Coalition on Enhancing Preventative Practices of Health Professionals
Paula Stewart
(613) 841-2259

Canadian Medical Association
Owen Adams
Assistant Secretary General

Canadian Nurses Association
Janet Davies
Director, Policy, Regulation and Research
Tel: 613-237-2133

Canadian Pharmacists Association
Barry Power
Director, Practice Development
613-523-7877 ext. 220
Toll Free: 1-800-917-9489 ext. 220

Canadian Physiotherapy Association
Pamela Fralick
Chief Executive Officer

Canadian Psychological Association
Dr. John Service
Executive Director (Chair, EICP Initiative)

College of Family Physicians of Canada
Leslie Stafford
Communications and Media Relations Officer
905- 629-0900 Ext. 303

Dietitians of Canada
Marsha Sharp
Chief Executive Officer

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