What is a Primary Care Network?

Primary Care Networks (PCNs) are a unique, made-in-Alberta approach to improve and better coordinate patient access to primary health care. Primary health care is the first point of contact most people have with the health system. In each PCN, a group of family doctors works with Alberta Health Services to deliver quality services to patients.

A PCN is not necessarily an actual bricks-and-mortar building, although the SCPCN has the PCN Wellness Centre that your doctor may refer you to for mental health supports, workshops or group learning classes, to name a few. What PCNs really are is a network of doctors and other health providers, such as nurses, dietitians and social workers, working together to provide excellent health care.

While each network provides primary care services, priorities are set locally. Each PCN designs programs and services to best meet local needs, which may vary from area to area. This flexibility to develop local solutions to local health issues makes each PCN unique.

Today, there are 41 PCNs operating throughout Alberta with more than 3,800 family physicians, and more than 1,400 other health care providers. At any given time, there are hundreds of PCN family doctors accepting new patients. And research shows that patients who regularly visit a family doctor are healthier and live longer!

What are the goals of a PCN?

  • Accountable and Effective Governance – Establish structures and processes that support the evolution of primary health care delivery.
  • Strong Partnerships and Transitions of Care – Coordinate, integrate and partner with health services and other social services across the continuum of care.
  • Health Needs of the Community and Population – Plan service delivery on high-quality assessments of the community’s needs through community engagement.
  • Patient’s Medical Home – Implement the Patient’s Medical Home to ensure Albertans have access to the right services through the establishment of interdisciplinary teams that provide comprehensive primary care.
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