Primary care is a vital building block of many successful health systems. It is, however, coming under strain as health systems look to this sector to deliver a wider range of preventative, diagnostic and treatment services 24/7, typically as part of plans to reduce reliance on inpatient hospital care and enable better coordination of care for group such as the frail elderly, those living with mental health problems, and vulnerable families.
Greater innovation in primary care is fast becoming a burning priority for health systems around the globe in an effort to ensure that it can serve the needs of modern users. Canada’s primary care system performance faces certain challenges when compared to other high-income countries. Specifically, Canada is behind best-performing countries on timely access to care; communication across healthcare settings; development of inter-professional teams; adoption of electronic medical records; systematic feedback on performance; and addressing health and healthcare inequities.