Concurrent Sessions

B4 – Stop banging your head against a wall: how to measure, discuss, and improve timely access to team-based primary care

Theme 4. The “How to” stream

  • Date: Wednesday, October 24, 2018
  • Concurrent Session B
  • Time: 3:30-4:15pm
  • Room: Harbour B
  • Style: Workshop (session is structure for interaction and/or hands-on learning opportunities)
  • Focus: Practical (e.g. Presentation on how to implement programs and/or practices in the team environment)
  • Target Audience: Leadership (ED, clinical lead, board chair, board member, etc.), Clinical providers, Administrative staff

Learning Objectives

By the end of this session, attendees will:

  • Understand different ways to measure timely access to many health disciplines, with minimal effort required
  • Learn how they can partner with patients to understand and improve timely access
  • Learn what has worked, and has not worked, to improve timely access in one large and complex Family Health Team
  • Learn leadership and management strategies that help drive toward a culture of openly discussing access, and how to use data to improve
  • Understand how to lead operational changes using data-driven quality improvement methods, in a way that keeps the patient experience top of mind


Access to team-based primary care is a priority in Ontario, and yet measuring and improving access has proven challenging. For the past six years, The St. Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team has undertaken numerous initiatives to measure and improve access, to both physician and health discipline resources. In this presentation, we will describe the benefits and drawbacks of the many ways that we have measured access, how we led a culture shift toward openly discussing access, FHT-wide operational changes we have made to improve access to the whole team, and provider-specific initiatives that were aimed to improve access to individuals. Initiatives include data collection and feedback to physicians and health disciplines, one-on-one coaching with experts to improve access, having the department Chief review physician access data at annual reviews, implementing an urgent phone calls policy, and correlating physicians’ practice habits with their access data to learn what works. We will describe the qualitative and quantitative impact of each of these initiatives. Finally, we will discuss how we have partnered with our patients to understand their perspectives of access, and describe work to co-design improvement strategies with patients. Attendees will have the chance to discuss how they can apply insights from these initiatives in their teams, despite differences in context.


  • Sam Davie, Quality Improvement & Decision Support Specialist, St. Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team
  • Tara Kiran, Quality Program Director and Board Chair, St. Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team
  • MaryBeth DeRocher, Quality Improvement Site Lead, St. Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team
  • Karen Weyman, Department Chief, St. Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team
  • Linda Jackson, Executive Director/Program Director, St. Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team