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What’s new at Your Doctor’s Office?

Ontario citizens may soon find something new at their doctor’s office. Over the next year or so major changes will be made to the way health care is delivered in this province.

Doctors will join groups known as a Family Health Groups (FHG) or Family Health Networks (FHN). Patients who sign on to a formal roster with their doctor gain access to a range of other professionals such as mental health workers, nurse practitioners, nurses, dieticians, pharmacists, etc. These teams promise to deliver greater and more effective care right in the doctors’ office.

This past spring the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care announced the successful applicants to the third phase of new Family Health Teams (FHT). 150 teams are now at some stage of development across the province, with between 2 and 100 or more doctors in each team.

The goal of the FHT is to improve outcomes in patients with chronic common problems such as diabetes, asthma, bronchitis, high cholesterol, etc. through a team approach, and using the expertise of doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, respiratory therapists, health promotion experts, dieticians and diabetic educators.

As the Lead Physician for the newly developing Dufferin Area Family Health Team based in Orangeville, I am excited about the potential benefits of this approach, which has proven to make a significant impact on the well-being of patients and their families. We have 20 doctors in my team, and we will be looking for 20 other health care professionals to join us in developing and implementing programmes for about 35,000 people on our roster.

This innovative programme may turn out to be the best news for the family doctor’s patients in years.


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