Send to

Choose Destination
Healthc Policy. 2018 May;13(4):65-82. doi: 10.12927/hcpol.2018.25493.

Centralized Waiting Lists for Unattached Patients in Primary Care: Learning from an Intervention Implemented in Seven Canadian Provinces.

Author information

Associate Professor, Department of Community Health Sciences, Université de Sherbrooke; Chairwoman, Canadian Research Chair in Clinical Governance on Primary Health Care, Longueuil, QC.
Professor, School of Nursing and Centre for Health Services and Policy Research, University of British Columbia; Co-Director, BC Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network, Vancouver, BC.
Doctoral Student, Université de Sherbrooke, Longueuil, QC.
Assistant Professor, Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba; Manitoba Research Chair in Health System Innovation and Community Health Sciences, Winnipeg, MB.
Professor and Researcher, Centre de formation médicale du Nouveau-Brunswick and École de psychologie, Université de Moncton, Moncton, NB.
Associate Professor, Centre for Health Services and Policy Research, University of British Columbia; Scholar, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, Vancouver, BC.
Director and Professor, School of Public Administration, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC.
Scientist, Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care, Women's College Research Institute, Women's College Hospital; Assistant Professor, Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.
Professor, Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University; Scholar, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research; Canada Research Chair in Health Service Geographies, Burnaby, BC.
Professor, School of Nursing, University of Victoria; Chairman, Research Chair Policies, Knowledge and Health (Pocosa/Politiques, Connaissances, Santé), Victoria, BC.
Research professional, Centre de recherche - Hôpital Charles-Le Moyne - Université de Sherbrooke, Longueuil, QC.
Associate Professor, Departments of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences, Queen's University; CTAQ Chair in Applied Health Economics/Health Policy; Director, Centre for Health Services and Policy Research; Associate Director, Centre for Studies in Primary Care; Adjunct Scientist, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Kingston, ON.

Erratum in



Centralized waiting lists (CWLs) are one solution to reduce the problematic number of patients without a regular primary care provider. This article describes different models of CWLs for unattached patients implemented in seven Canadian provinces and identifies common issues in the implementation of these CWLs.


Logic models of each province's intervention were built after a grey literature review, 42 semi-structured interviews and a validation process with key stakeholders were performed.


Our analysis across provinces showed variability and common features in the design of CWLs such as same main objective to attach patients to a primary care provider; implementation as a province-wide program with the exception of British Columbia; management at a regional level in most provinces; voluntary participation for providers except in two provinces where it was mandatory for providers to attach CWL patients; fairly similar registration process across the provinces; some forms of prioritization of patients either using simple criteria or assessing for vulnerability was performed in most provinces except New Brunswick.


Despite their differences in design, CWLs implemented in seven Canadian provinces face common issues and challenges regarding provider capacity to address the demand for attachment, barriers to the attachment of more vulnerable and complex patients as well as non-standardized approaches to evaluating their effectiveness. Sharing experiences across provinces as CWLs were being implemented would have fostered learning and could have helped avoid facing similar challenges.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Longwoods Publishing Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center