Learning from Effective Primary Care Teams


Santé Kildare was selected to participate in the University of Toronto Department of Family and Community Medicine Quality Improvement “teaming” project in 2016.  High functioning primary care teams were chosen across Canada with the goal of developing a blueprint and action plan to guide primary care teams to function effectively. The ultimate outcome leading to improved health of populations, improved and patient and provider experiences and improved value.  Santé Kildare was the only clinic studied from Quebec.

Launched in late 2014, the Quality Improvement (QI) Program set out to answer the question: What makes primary care teams effective or high-functioning?

“The evolution of health care provision in the community is moving from a single primary care provider (usually a family physician) providing health care patient by patient in a reactive context, to an organizational one – a primary care team proactively meeting the needs of a defined population. Teaming – a verb – refers to the collective actions or processes associated with a primary health care team performing optimally”.

In April 2016, the environmental scan for the teaming project was completed with case studies of nominated, high-functioning primary care teams. The case studies, representing teams from Alberta, Ontario and Quebec, marked the last element of the scan that included a robust literature review and a series of expert interviews.

Last Fall, the Quality Improvement (QI) Program published themes that were identified as attributes of high-functioning teams.  They include:

  1. A practice environment where members of an interprofessional team work in close proximity (co-location)
  2. Effective use of electronic medical records (EMRs)
  3. A focus on patient experience
  4. An effective communication culture
  5. Leadership
  6. Right skill mix
  7. A combination of clarity and flexibility around roles
  8. Ensuring that all team members work to their full scope of practice
  9. Professional development
  10. Collaboration with external partners and agencies

It was pleasure for Santé Kildare to participate in this project.  The full report can be found here.