The Team Approach: Charlottetown Patient Medical Home
“Our Patient Medical Home is like a soccer team,” said Dr. Mark-Antoine Parent with a grin. He’s a family physician at the Charlottetown Patient Medical Home (PMH).
“Behind us, we have a full team: the management that brought everyone together and coached us on how to play together. And here we are on the field delivering care daily.”
Originally from Quebec, Dr. Parent has practiced family medicine on Prince Edward Island for three years. Before that, he practiced for 16 years in Îles de la Madeleine. It was the idea of working in a collaborative environment that helped lure him here.
“The philosophy of the medical home is that when there is something that has to be done, when there is a service to be delivered to a patient, we ask: who is the best person to deliver that care?”
A Patient Medical Home (PMH) is built around the idea that a team of allied health professionals work together to deliver the appropriate care. A PMH team includes physicians, primary care nurses, physiotherapists, and other health professionals, covering everything from nutrition to vision care and beyond.
When a patient calls for an appointment at their PMH, a front-line administrator helps determine the best path forward for that patient.
“Very often it’s me, but not always,” said Dr. Parent. “Sometimes an allied healthcare worker like a pharmacist will be the best. So, it helps a lot, and I don’t feel like everything is on my shoulders. Sometimes the other allied healthcare workers are more competent than me to deliver care.”
The Charlottetown PMH has also transitioned to Electronic Medical Records (EMR), another step in creating a more streamlined and efficient system.
“We have a few thousand patients here,” he said. “Fortunately, there’s a person who enters that data for an appointment, all the past medical history, family history, surgery, and valuable information I need. When I get into my patient's chart and everything is already there, that’s awesome. I don’t need to touch the paper chart anymore.”
Dr. Parent said the teamwork environment means he no longer needs to bring his work home with him. It wasn’t unusual for him to work another two hours every evening to stay on top of patient files.
“I receive on average eighty to ninety messages a day,” he said. “In order to stay up to date, I would have to bring my computer home with me every night. We have a team meeting on Wednesday mornings. One week, I brought it up to the team. I couldn’t keep working into the evenings. Right away, we came up with some solutions.”
A nurse practitioner and a licensed practical nurse with more free time during regular business hours offered to help sort through and respond to emails.
“From one day to another, it changed dramatically,” he said. “All of a sudden, my inbox went from 200 emails to 20 emails because everyone was picking away at it.”
Dr. Parent said medicine is a large field of practice where the professionals all need to work together.
“The important thing we’re trying to put into real-life action is to work to our full scope of practice,” he said. “If everyone can reach that goal, that’s what the Patient Medical Home is all about. The best person delivers the right service, and I think it’s working well.”