Peter Bell, medical director of the newly opened MacEwan University Health Centre and a clinical lecturer with the U of A’s family medicine department, says the clinic will lead the way in teaching a new model of care to U of A medical residents. Photo: Ross Neitz.
A newly opened health centre at MacEwan University that operates under a team-based medical home model will serve as a new training site for University of Alberta family medicine residents and other allied health learners.
“This is not the physician-centric model,” explained Lee Green, chair of the U of A’s Department of Family Medicine. “It is we—the doctors, nurses, medical office assistants, psychologists, social care workers, pharmacists and others—we take care of these patients together, all under the same roof. So it's a different mindset.”
The MacEwan University Health Centre is at the forefront of an effort to strengthen primary care in Alberta by embracing the medical home model—an approach to care that is patient-centred, systematic and team-based.
The health centre opened in July 2018 and serves more than 5,000 patients. It is funded by Alberta Health and operated by a non-profit corporation called the Northern Alberta Primary Care Academic Clinics. Similar medical home models of care have been tested in other jurisdictions outside of Alberta with great success—which is now hoped to be replicated here.
“When you look at the data, it shows that patients who are cared for in this way—especially patients with complex chronic diseases—have fewer emergency visits, fewer hospital admissions and higher patient satisfaction,” said Green. “They do better. Patients just do better.”