Province helps better connect patients to primary-care providers

As more family doctors and nurse practitioners join BC’s health-care system, the Province is expanding the Health Connect Registry to better connect primary-care providers to the people who need them.

Starting summer 2023, the registry will continue to support patients to find a primary-care provider closer to where they live.

“The Health Connect Registry is a crucial action, delivering on our government’s commitment to strengthen health care, and it will help us provide better, easier access to primary care for generations to come,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Between the new doctors who signed up with our new-to-practice incentive program, doctors who are joining the new payment model, as well as new nurse practitioners and the many more to come, we are ensuring people throughout the province can connect with those primary-care providers and others as medical professionals enter family practice and build their patient panels.”

On July 1, 2023, with new family doctors and nurse practitioners ready to accept patients, the Province expanded the Health Connect Registry, hosted by HealthLink BC, from select communities to all communities throughout BC People will be connected to a primary-care provider based on their health needs, the provider’s ability to take on those needs, and the region.

The Health Connect Registry is the patient-facing side of the Province’s action plan to strengthen primary care and better connect people to primary-care providers, including:

  • a new family doctor compensation model to attract and retain family doctors that has nearly 3,300 signups;
  • a new-to-practice incentive program that has 156 new family doctors registered;
  • a new provincial rostering registry for individual family doctors and nurse practitioners to manage their patient panel information and identify when they can accept new patients;
  • a new clinic and registry provider for medical directors and staff to provide information about their clinics, so the government can better support practitioner needs;
  • working directly with Doctors of BC, and Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC to support family doctors and nurse practitioners with new registries;
  • adding more coordinators who will help connect families of doctors and nurse practitioners with patients locally;
  • creating more incentives for clinics, family doctors and nurse practitioners to join, so that more people can connect with them;
  • a broader health human resources strategy to recruit and retain more health professionals to ensure people in BC get the health services they need and are cared for by a healthy workforce; and
  • providing more support for new team-based primary care in family practice clinics, urgent and primary-care centers, community health centers, nurse practitioner clinics and First Nations primary-care clinics.

Through the registries, BC will have a comprehensive list of who is looking for a primary-care provider and who already has one, as well as which providers and clinics can accept new patients. Starting Nov. 30, 2023, and continuing quarterly, the Province will report on progress to add more family doctors and nurse practitioners, and on connecting more patients from the Health Connect Registry to a primary-care provider.

Quotes:

Dr. Joshua Greggain, president, Doctors of BC –

“Today’s announcement builds on last year’s achievements to help more patients get better access to a family doctor. With the ongoing work to make family medicine sustainable, including implementing the longitudinal family physician model, there is now a need to help doctors and patients navigate getting access to care. The improved Health Connect Registry will make things easier and faster for patients and more efficient for doctors and other health-care providers, while being flexible to ensure the best outcome for everyone – a strong long-term family doctor/patient relationship.”

Sherri Kensall, board chair, Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC –

“The launch of the registries is a positive step forward in creating equitable access to primary care. Nurses know that primary care must be well coordinated and with multiple points of access to ensure high-quality outcomes. Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC look forward to working with all of our health-provider colleagues as we continue to improve co-ordination of and expand access to primary-care services.”

Learn More:

For the Health Connect Registry, visit: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-connect-registry.

To learn about BC’s Health Human Resources Strategy, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BCHealthHumanResourcesStrategy-Sept2022.pdf

Two backgrounders follow.

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