More new evidence demonstrates Ontario’s Community Health Centres deliver superior care
Two studies released during the summer of 2010 by the Élisabeth
Bruyère Research Institute add to the growing body of evidence demonstrating that Ontario’s Community Health
Centres (CHCs) deliver superior care. The studies are part of the institute’s extensive overview comparing
four different models of primary health care delivery in Ontario. (CHCs, Fee-for-service, Family Health
Networks and Health Service Organizations).
The community orientation study, published in the July edition of Canadian Family Physician, shows Ontario’s Community Health Centres (CHCs) do a better job orienting their services to the needs of the communities they serve. Compared to other models, CHCs were found twice as likely:
- to assess and/or determine what programs and services are
needed by the communities they serve;
- to reach out to the populations in the communities they serve;
- and to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the services and programs they offer.
According to the researchers, the findings are similar to those
from the United States where Community Health Centres are also community-governed. In both countries, CHC
elected boards, made up of clients and community leaders, shape strategic planning about how to orient
“These findings are gratifying, but not surprising,” says Adrianna Tetley, Executive Director of the Association of Ontario Health Centres. “When primary health care agencies are community-governed, they have a built in advantage orienting their services to community needs.”
Another comparison of models study conducted by the Élisabeth Bruyère Research Institute and published in June’s edition of Family Practice points to a more comprehensive diversity of services as a potential reason why CHCs are better able to orient services to community needs. The researchers focused on how the four different models are providing care with respect to services offered in women’s health, psychosocial counseling and procedural and diagnostic services. When the scores were tallied, they found that CHCs offer at least ten points more comprehensive services than the other models that were studied.
“This superiority was likely due to the overlapping skills of a larger number family physicians and the presence of non-nursing allied health professionals with complementary skills,” according to the researchers. In fact, CHCs were found to employ three to five more allied health professionals than the other models that were studied.
The two comparison of model studies released by the Institute this summer follow two others released last year which revealed CHCs deliver superior health promotion and chronic disease prevention and management services.
Later this year watch for a new report AOHC will be producing which will present data from forthcoming research and analyses on CHCs' performance with respect to complexity of care, preventing emergency department visits and capability of addressing the social determinants of health.
Quick links to Comparison of Models studies:
Community orientation: www.cfp.ca/cgi/content/abstract/56/7/676
Chronic disease: www.annfammed.org/cgi/content/abstract/7/4/309
Health promotion: www.openmedicine.ca/article/download/233/262