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Plenary Sessions

Continuity in Context – Where the pieces add up to more than the whole
Dr. Richard Lewanczuk, Senior Medical Director, Primary Health Care, Alberta Health Services

The dictionary definition of continuity uses terms like "unchanging quality" and "something that remains consistent or uninterrupted throughout".  In movies and TV, continuity refers to consistency in the details from one part of a film or broadcast to another.  Health care continuity in relational, informational and management dimensions could be defined in a similar fashion.  It's been said that improving health care continuity is probably the single best thing we can do to improve patient and system outcomes.  What are doing here in Alberta?  What steps have we taken? What does it all mean? Join this session to see recent data on the impact PCNs are having on continuity of care and how provincial supports are aligning to help physicians and PCNs to deliver on one of the most crucial steps in patient medical home construction.

Falling Through the Cracks: Greg's Story - a short film presentation and panel discussion
Dave Price, Greg's Father
Teri Price, Greg's Sister
Dr. David Moores, Professor, Department of Family Medicine, University of Alberta
Martin Tailleur, Executive Director, Strategic IMT Services, Alberta Health

Experience an emotional and intensely powerful impact through this short film chronicling a brief part of the life of Greg Price and his journey through the health care system. The film gives a glimpse of who Greg was and focuses on the events of his health care journey that ended in his unexpected and tragic death. Greg's family is working to bring the message of the importance of continuity of care to audiences across the province. In spite of the sadness of Greg's Story, the message of the film is intended to inspire positive change and improvement in the health care system.  Following the screening, attendees will engage in a panel discussion with members of Greg's family, David and Teri Price.

What really does matter? A conference-wide participant panel perspective

Exploring the three dimensions of continuity – information, relational and management and asking the question, "What matters most – to patients, providers  and the system?" is the focus for this year's Accelerating Primary Care Conference.  Join this introductory session to meet an invited panel who will witness, engage, challenge and encourage the discussions throughout the event. The 11 panelists including eight patients, two providers and one system representative will each share a nano-story with participants and will play key roles throughout the conference by actively participating in breakout sessions, drawing input and providing insight. Gather with them again as a panel at the end of the day as they bring their observations, questions and perceptions to a closing discussion.

The Alberta advantage? A research, policy and system expert perspective on how our primary care stacks up
Greg Marchildon, Professor, Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto

Prepare for an eye-opening experience when Greg Marchildon reveals where Alberta health system improvements stand in comparison to our national and international cohorts. Greg will uncover the details in a number of areas such as:

  • The development of new models to facilitate patient access
  • Building and strengthening multidisciplinary teams
  • Paneling
  • Access to after-hours services
  • The effective use of IMT
  • Health system reorganization that facilitates accountability and alignment

You will learn where Alberta has seen success and what the opportunities are for continuity of care improvements.

Professor and author Gregory P. Marchildon is the Ontario Research Chair in Health Policy and System Design at the Institute of Health, Policy and Evaluation at the University of Toronto and founding director of the North American Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. He is the author of numerous academic articles on Canadian federalism and comparative health systems as well as a number of books including two editions of Health Systems in Transition: Canada.

How to change a system: research on health-system transformation and its implications for Alberta

Sara Kreindler, Manitoba Research Chair in Health System Innovation, University of Manitoba

It is often said that system transformation will be needed to ensure that all patients have reliable access to continuous, comprehensive primary care. But what does it mean to transform a system, and how do we do it? Join Sara Kreindler, Manitoba Research Chair in Health System Innovation, as she walks through the good, bad, and ugly of attempted system transformation, drawing on her own work on primary care renewal and patient flow, and highlighting the opportunities presented in Alberta. Discover a simple, evidence-informed conceptual model of how systems respond to attempted change, and key questions that can guide better decisions about what to do first, what to do next, and what not to do at all.

Seamlessness in the Narrative – closing thoughts and next steps

In this closing session, the participant panel will reconvene to share their thoughts from the conference.  They will outline their perceptions and observations of the discussions  and help set the stage for future progress. Join this group and your fellow attendees to consider the following question categories:

  • What is sticking? What matters most to me? 
  • What is promising? What am I taking away from this experience?  What solutions have I found?
  • What is puzzling? What don't I know? What is my greatest concern?

Participants will be able identify barriers and roadblocks and look for opportunities and linkages.

Concurrent Sessions

Attendees will have the challenge of choosing which sessions to attend from these excellent examples of continuity.

How Simple and Secure Tools can Improve Patient Access to Clinical Experts
Jeff Mackay, Senior Marketing Manager, Brightsquid Secure Communications Corp
Regan Paddington, Director, Clinical Operations, Highland Primary Care Network

Many Primary Care Networks in Alberta provide services to patients over broad geographical areas. It is difficult for that scattered population to have timely access to front-line clinicians. Highland PCN is no exception, with the area's population having high demands on their time from long commutes and young families. The Highland PCN Health Improvement Program took on the challenge of improving availability, efficiency and effectiveness by connecting with patients through a compliant, secure, digital communication channel for information exchange.  Preliminary findings show a positive patient response as well as a significant increase in patient engagement and improved access to information such as treatment plans.  Session attendees will be equipped to investigate Secure-Mail as an option to improve patient and care team access to information.

ENCOMPASS: Utilizing Community Health Workers in Care for Patients with Multiple Chronic Conditions
Kerry Mcbrien, Assistant Professor, University of Calgary

Often chronic disease patients experience system navigation, language and financial barriers to care, or are unaware of appropriate community resources. This impacts care plans and results in inefficient use of resources and poor health outcomes. Researchers as the University of Calgary partnered with Mosaic Primary Care Network and patients to develop and pilot a possible solution by involving community health workers. ENhancing COMmunity health through Patient Navigation, Advocacy and Social Support (ENCOMPASS) assists patients in navigating the healthcare system, accessing resources, enhancing connections with their care team and increasing self-management.  Attend this session and hear about experiences in the one-year trial program from the perspective of patients, physicians, nurses and community health workers.

Optimization of Hospital-Primary Care Continuity for Underserved Populations – A QI Workshop
Dr. Jessica Kirkwood, Boyle McCauley Health Clinic
Dr. Karine Meador, Assistant Director, Inner City Health and Wellness Program, Royal Alexandra Hospital
Melanie Garrison, Interprofessional Practice Manager, University of Alberta
Shanell Twan, Patient Advocate, Alberta Addicts who Educate and Advocate Responsibly

We know that medically and socially complex populations are more likely to access acute care services, yet often struggle with additional barriers and poor connection back to primary care. Join this quality improvement workshop as representatives from the Addiction Recovery and Community Health team at the Royal Alexandra Hospital and the Boyle McCauley Health Centre, an Edmonton inner city primary care facility, describe the collaboration they undertook to understand, analyze and optimize the hospital to community continuity process.  Attendees will hear how patients were involved throughout the QI process including identifying gaps and providing insights for the improvement cycles. 

Informatics Spaghetti- What Does It All Mean for Primary Care?
Dr. Heidi Fell, Chair, Informatics Committee, Alberta Medical Association
Kim Wieringa, Assistant Deputy Minister, Health Information Systems Division, Alberta Health
Tim Graham, Alberta Health Services

You've likely heard the acronyms and titles: CPAR, CII, Netcare, Epic, Connect Care and more. But, what do they really mean to primary care now and in the future? What is the impact on providers and their patients? Join this session for short presentations followed by an interactive question and answer period to learn the rationale for these initiatives and the benefits for patients, providers and the health system.  Hear about the linkages and enablers as well as the challenges and issues and what the future state looks like. Participants will come away with clear picture of how the plans align with one another to form a coherent, integrated provincial health information strategy that will enhance informational continuity for all Alberta patients.

The Complex Patient; a local definition
Dr. Joseph Ojedokun, Life Medical Clinic, McLeod River Primary Care Network
Shirley Bennett, Patient Representative

Relational continuity is about providing the right care to the right patient by the right healthcare professional(s) over time.  Evidence shows that team-based care for complex patients can decrease emergency room visits and hospitalizations. The problem comes in defining the term complexity, specifically for the patients on your panel. You may be asking who you should be targeting for team-based care and which patients will benefit most. Join this session's authors as they explain how they identified patients, their methodologies and what they achieved through the process. You will also see how this effort can significantly impact relational and management continuity.

Can Enhanced Primary Care Pathways Improve Patient Care and Referral Processes in Alberta?
Dr. Julia Carter, Committee Member, Digestive Health Strategic Clinical Network, Alberta Health Services
Kerri Novak, Division of Gastroenterology, Calgary

If you ask patients about the links between their primary care and specialty care they will often have stories to tell about the challenges they have encountered.  Join members of the Digestive Health Strategic Clinical Networks as they demonstrate how continuity of care between primary and specialty can be improved for digestive health conditions.  Listen in as the session leads describe the work that is underway to spread and scale this initiative across the province.

Alberta Screening and Prevention for Indigenous Peoples (ASaP for IP)
Alison Doyle, Evaluation Associate, Alberta Cancer Prevention Legacy Fund, Alberta Health Services
Lisa Cerato, Alberta Cancer Prevention Legacy Fund, Alberta Health Services
Nicole Eshkakogan, Research and Innovation, Alberta Health Services
Sandra Johansen, Screening and Prevention, Alberta Health Services

How do you support cancer screening and prevention essentials in a high needs population? Indigenous groups have higher preventable cancer rates and higher death rate from preventable cancers. Initial information review points to challenges in the accessing cancer programs, awareness about cancer, or screening barriers including structural, interpersonal and socioeconomic circumstances. Participate in this session to observe how Alberta Screening and Prevention for Indigenous Peoples was implemented in an urban setting. See the clinical improvement rates that resulted from process changes and maximizing the functionality of the electronic medical records.

Providing Continuity of Care to At-Risk Seniors through Team Based Outreach
Brenda Lamoureux, Clinical Pharmacist, Edmonton West Primary Care Network
Jan Carlson, Nurse Practitioner, Edmonton West Primary Care Network

Helping seniors remain safely in their homes while ensuring continuity of care is the goal of the Edmonton West Primary Care Network' s Frail Elderly Outreach Program.  Session authors will explain how the program was designed to make this valuable service available through using a multidisciplinary methodology and developing relationships between levels of the health care system. Hear how the program takes a patient-centred approach to developing services and what their one-year evaluation has uncovered.  Discover the potential this program has to serve as a model for other primary care providers that support frail seniors in the community.

Designed by Albertans: The foundational concepts of a health home
Judy Birdsell, Co-chair, IMAGINE Citizens Collaborating for Health
Dr. Christine Luelo, Member, Steering Committee, Primary Health Care Engagement Project, South Calgary Primary Care Network

If you put yourself in the shoes of the average Albertan – as a patient, not a health care provider, how would you perceive the ideas of attachment and health home? Finding out that answer was the purpose for this patient/citizen-led project. They worked with a steering committee that included Alberta Health, Alberta Health Services, Health Quality Council of Alberta and IMAGINE members affiliated with universities of Alberta, Calgary and Lethbridge. Listen in on this session as speakers review their multifaceted approach to engaging and collecting input from a diverse group of Albertans.  Learn how this effort is being used to inform future steps as Alberta Health explores the health home model along with strategies to effectively communicate with citizens about the key concepts. 


Thursday, November 29

5:00 - 6:30 p.m. Kick-off Event (New!)

6:30 - 9:00 p.m. Program

Friday, November 30

8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Program