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BMJ Open. 2019 Oct 17;9(10):e029622. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-029622.

Regional variation in primary care improvement strategies and policy: case studies that consider qualitative contextual data for performance measurement in three Canadian provinces.

Author information

1
School of Nursing, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada ruth.martin-misener@dal.ca.
2
School of Nursing, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
3
Department of Family Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
4
Family Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
5
PolicyWise for Children & Families, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
6
Montfort Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
7
Radiology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands.
8
Peninsula Medical School, University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To explore regional primary care improvement strategies that are potentially determinants of primary care performance.

DESIGN:

Multiple comparative embedded case study.

SETTING:

Three regions in Canada: Fraser East, British Columbia; Eastern Ontario Health Unit, Ontario; Central Zone, Nova Scotia.

DATA SOURCES:

(1) In-depth interviews with purposively selected key informants (eg, primary care decision-makers, physician leads, regulatory agencies) and focus groups with patients and clinicians (n=68 participants) and (2) published and grey literature (n=205 documents).

OUTCOME MEASURES:

Variations in spread and uptake of primary care improvement strategies across the three study regions. NVivo (V.11) was used to manage data and perform content analysis to identify categories within and across cases. The coding structure was developed by researchers through iterative collaboration, using inductive and deductive processes.

RESULTS:

Six overarching primary care improvement strategies, differing in focus and spread, were implemented across the three study regions: interprofessional team-based approaches, provider skill mix expansion, physician groups and networks, information systems, remuneration and performance measurement and reporting infrastructure.

CONCLUSION:

The addition of information on regional improvement strategies to primary care performance reports could add important contextual insights into primary care performance results. This could help identify possible drivers of reported performance outcomes and levers for change in practice, regional and system-level settings.

KEYWORDS:

primary health care; qualitative research; quality of health care

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