Team Based Care at Orchards Walk
The team is what really makes Orchards Walk Medical a gratifying place to work. “We’re all good friends and some of us finished residency together.” - Dr. Shehata
“[Kamloops] is by far one of the best medical communities you could work in. To be able to know the specialists and just call them up and ask questions is unheard of in other cities. It allows us to coordinate care in a timely manner.” - Dr. Dhanoa
Supporting Team Excellence with Patients Society (STEPS) has a mission to develop team-based, holistic, equitable, relationship-centred health care centres. They have done that with Orchards Walk Medical Clinic, where STEPS operates. Their objective was ambitious – to improve the health and well-being of the local populations and to foster the accessibility, quality, innovation, and comprehensiveness of health care in the region. They also aim to contribute to the attraction and retention of primary care providers and the enhancement of team-based care.
Orchards Walk Medical (OWM) opened in May 2018 as the initial phase of building an inter-professional primary healthcare centre. There are currently five family physicians working at the clinic: Drs. Ramneek Dhanoa, Hisham Shehata, Natalie Lee, Lisa Harvey, and Meghan MacDonald. They are joined by two registered nurses, an executive director, a clinical councillor, seven medical office assistants, residents, medical students, and nursing students. There is a pharmacy right next door and STEPS is in the process of recruiting a nurse practitioner. They hope to expand to include respiratory, diabetic, social work and further mental health services in the future.
OWM is a true team-based care clinic. Patients are attached to the clinic instead of individual primary care providers. They can book an appointment with any provider or they can identify a provider they connect with. Patients are able to book an appointment within 1-3 days or same day appointments for all urgent concerns. They provide general family practice, primary care access for Ask Wellness patients, and services for LGBTQ2S. As well, Dr. Harvey provides gender-affirming care and general primary care for the LGBTQ2S community (read the next article for more information about how to connect LGBTQ2S patients with Dr. Harvey).
The clinic has attached over 4,000 patients to date. The majority of patients on their panel are complex and it takes detective work to piece together the medical history of individuals who have not had a primary care provider for years. OWM attaches patients from HealthLinkBC’s Primary Care Waitlist (8-1-1) when space is available. They also attached from a retiring physician and connected with people who called or walked in. Like all community primary care practices, they continue to be inundated by the community need for primary healthcare.
The team is what really makes Orchards Walk Medical a gratifying place to work. “We’re all good friends and some of us finished residency together,” Dr. Shehata said. The group trusts each other and helps each other by making team decisions, recommendations, or observations. “Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses,” Dr. Dhanoa said. They make team decisions and can hand work off to each other. It is a learning and growth experience.
Although it has been very rewarding, the clinic is not without its challenges. Taking on previously cared for patients was not as easy at it seemed, and unattached patients require regular appointments to build up continuity of care. Helping their patients resolve these issues has been a gratifying experience. “Having a very, very sick patient population is a huge learning experience for all of us but very rewarding,” Dr. Shehata said.
As for working in Kamloops? “It is by far one of the best medical communities you could work in. To be able to know the specialists and just call them up and ask questions is unheard of in other cities. It allows us to coordinate care in a timely manner,” said Dr. Dhanoa.
Orchards Walk Medical Clinic is open 8:30-4:30 pm Monday to Friday, and 9:00-4:00pm on Saturdays. The clinic is also looking to increase providers and provide evening and weekend coverage as part of a network of possible providers and clinics in our area. They are located at 102-3200 Valleyview Drive. The clinic has space for two to three physician FTEs. There are two compensation models for physicians at the clinic: a base rate of pay and fee-for-service split. If you’re interested in trying out Orchards Walk Medical Clinic please contact Christine Matuschewski, Executive Director, to arrange a locum.