New Vision Family Health Team is a busy primary care practice in Kitchener, Ontario. On average, outcomes for patients in the practice who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes were not meeting clinical best practice guidelines. The team realized it needed to redesign its chronic disease management system to improve care for these patients.
The Athens District Family Health Team (FHT), located within the South East LHIN, serves 3,500 rostered and 300 unrostered patients. In November 2008, the team was experiencing a wait time of 27 days, as measured by the time to the third next available appointment. As a result, the registered nurse had to do telephone triage to fit patients into an already doublebooked schedule or offer telephone advice.
With the goal of maximizing the purchasing power of FHTs regardless of their size or location, AFHTO established a Commercial Advisory Council (CAC). An AFHTO survey had found that FHTs were interested in accessing a range of quality goods and services at discounted prices and/or with other benefits. CAC's role has been to develop a fair and transparent process for working with vendors in order to make recommendations to the AFHTO board on establishing contractual arrangements with suppliers of goods and services at discounted rates and/or with other benefits for AFHTO members.
AFHTO has served as the forum for sharing FHT issues, concerns, and ideas, and formulating policy statements and recommendations to the government. The November 2009 FHT Leaders Retreat is an excellent example of collective idea-sharing and problem-solving: it achieved remarkable consensus on the most pressing issues for FHT success. The following March AFHTO board members met with the Health Minister’s staff and exchanged correspondence with Minister Deb Matthews. The Minister’s Office welcomes AFHTO as a credible advocacy voice for FHTs and will ensure on-going communications.
As you are probably aware, the new FHT contract, which came into effect on April 1, 2018, requires that teams "make reasonable efforts to ensure the option of email communications is available for patients." To help you with this, AFHTO has partnered with Cliniconex and Cognisant MD (Ocean) to make their patient contact systems available to your team at a discount. These packages are available on a first-come, first-served basis. See below for details.