Primary care must lead care coordination

June 01, 2016

We assert the role of primary care providers to lead care coordination.

The Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario (AFHTO) endorses and embraces this position statement adopted with our colleagues in the Ontario Primary Care Council in November 2015.  Primary care providers work to ensure access to interprofessional care for patients and identify a single point of contact to help patients and families navigate and access programs and services. Furthermore, AFHTO implores the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to work with primary care teams and LHINs to bring greater efficiency and patient-centredness to care delivery, through steps to transition care coordination resources to primary care teams from community care access centres (CCACs). Primary care is an anchor for patients and families, providing comprehensive care throughout their lives. Primary care providers are the first contact or entry into the system for all new needs and problems, and they directly influence the responses of people to their health needs by listening to their concerns and preferences and providing clinical evidence-based assessment and treatment recommendations. Care coordination in primary care has the potential to significantly:

  • Reduce the duplication and role conflict that currently exists in our health system;
  • Improve patient outcomes through much greater continuity and coordination of person-centred care.

Click to read AFHTO’s position statement: Transitioning care coordination resources to primary care. Primary care teams want to coordinate care for their patients – this was clearly demonstrated by the 200+ leaders who participated in AFHTO’s October 2015 session on Leading Primary Care through the Next Stage. Through their work in Health Links, many primary care teams have demonstrated readiness to take on this role, and their success when they can mobilize the resources to fulfill this role. The transition of care coordination resources from CCACs to primary care teams is the logical next step.

Resources for AFHTO members:

Evidence and background on care coordination in Ontario: