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Primary care

Manitoba to test the use of physician networks

WINNIPEG – Manitoba has launched a pilot project to start developing ‘Physician Integrated Networks’ (PIN), groups of physicians who can deliver primary care to patients around the clock by working in teams.

According to the Manitoba Health web site, a mailing of the project information and an “Application of Interest” had been sent to primary care physicians. Interested fee-for-service group medical practices were asked to complete an Application of Interest form and to submit it by June 30, 2006.

By July 21, 2006, Manitoba Health said it intended to have identified the two (2) initial sites and would begin working with these groups in developing an implementation plan. Other practice groups that are not selected as the initial two implementation sites would still be invited to participate in many of the planning and evaluation activities.

The goals of the PIN are:

• To improve access to primary care.

• To improve Primary Care Providers’ access to and use of information systems.

• To improve the working environment for all primary care providers.

• To demonstrate high quality primary care with a specific focus on Chronic Disease management.

The core elements of the Physician Integrated Network (PIN) project include:

• Structure & Practice – the grouping together of primary care physicians into physician groups.

• Information Management – utilization of Electronic Medical Records to populate an Outcome Data Repository with the ability to track objectives and measure outcomes.

• Linkages to provincial information systems, including DPIN, immunization records with future connectivity to such areas as lab information systems, radiology information systems, public health information systems, provider and client registry.

• Funding & Remuneration – predictable, stable, and direct funding to autonomous Physician Groups.

• Ability to access services (e.g. hiring, contract, sub-contract) of providers as determined by the Physician Group using information such as Practice Population Profiles.

• Funding linked to measurable objectives and participation in evaluation.

• Developmental approach to blended funding options.

• Monitoring & Evaluation – framework is to be designed in partnership with the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy and the University of Manitoba. To be measured are quality of care, preventive practices, chronic disease management practices, utilization of other primary care providers, patient and provider satisfaction (to address patient access and provider lifestyle issues).

• Qualitative and quantitative evaluation approaches will be used.

The eligibility criteria for participating in the program requires that each site has:

• A staff compliment of, at minimum, five (5) Full Time Equivalent (FTE) family physicians or general practitioners in a family practice.

• Current patient roster of a minimum of 6,500 active clients.

• The capacity, in terms of both space and administration, to support access to multidisciplinary providers.

• A fully operational electronic medical record (EMR) integrated into the practice.

• A commitment to the 3-year process; specifically a commitment to participate actively in the development of the project, the evaluation process and the project objectives:

1. To improve access to primary care;

2. To improve primary care provider’s access to and use of Information Systems;

3. To improve the working environment for all primary care providers; and

4. To demonstrate high quality primary care with a specific focus on Chronic Disease management.

Details of the program are available at: