Primary Care Networks
What is a Primary Care Network? (PCN)
A PCN is a clinical network of local primary care service providers located in a geographical area, with patient medical homes (PMHs) as the foundation. A PCN is enabled by a partnership between the local division of family practice and health authority, along with local First Nations.
In a PCN, physicians (via patient medical homes), other primary care providers, allied health care providers, health authority service providers, and community organizations work together to provide all the primary care services a local population requires. Together, they:
- Enhance patient care using a team-based approach to care.
- Support each other and work to their strengths.
- Further link patients to other parts of the system, including the health authority’s specialized community services programs for vulnerable patient groups (e.g., frail elderly, mental health and substance use).
- Collectively increase a community’s capacity to provide greater access to primary care for people without a primary care provider.
Participation in a primary care network enables a patient medical home to operate at its full potential. In a PCN, patients get access to timely, comprehensive and coordinated team-based care, guided by eight core attributes:
- Access and attachment to quality primary care
- Extended hours
- Same day access to urgent care
- Advice & information
- Comprehensive primary care
- Culturally safe care
- Coordinated care
- Clear communication
When participating in a PCN, family physicians can:
- Get what they need for patients quickly and conveniently from an array of services in the community.
- Provide optimal care for patients with the support of teams, allied health care providers, and easily-accessed health authority services.
- Access expanded services for vulnerable patients and those with complex health conditions.
A PCN and patient medical home are mutually dependent:
- By expanding and improving access to services for patients, the PCN enables a PMH to operate at its full potential.
- As optimized family practices, PMHs are at the core of the PCN.