Primary Care Initiative

What is the Primary Care Initiative?

In 2003, Alberta Health (formerly Alberta Health and Wellness), the Alberta Medical Association, and Alberta’s Regional Health Authorities (now Alberta Health Services) established the Primary Care Initiative (PCI) to improve access to family doctors and other frontline health care providers in Alberta. The purpose of the PCI is to develop Primary Care Networks (PCNs) and support them in meeting the objectives of the program.

In the 2003 PCI Master Agreement, the three health partners set the following objectives:

  • Increase the proportion of residents with ready access to primary care
  • Provide coordinated 24-hour, 7-day-per-week management of access to appropriate primary care services
  • Increase the emphasis on health promotion, disease and injury prevention, care of medically complex patients, and care of patients with chronic diseases
  • Improve coordination and integration with other health care services, including secondary, tertiary, and long-term care through specialty care linkages to primary care
  • Facilitate the greater use of multidisciplinary teams to provide comprehensive primary care

The PCI agreement has been an outstanding success. There are 42 PCNs operating throughout Alberta, with more in development. More than 3000 family doctors in Alberta are working in PCNs.

What is a PCN?

PCNs are a made-in-Alberta approach for improving access and better coordinating care for patients across the province. In PCNs, other health care professionals, including nurses, dietitians, behavioural health consultants, pharmacists, kinesiologists, and social workers, work closely with family doctors to enhance primary health services for patients.

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