CALGARY (Tuesday, August 23, 2016) – More than 300 family doctors in the Calgary area and over 800 province-wide are now accepting new patients, as Albertans’ access to physicians continues to improve.
Research shows that patients who regularly visit a family doctor are healthier and live longer. There are currently 373 family doctors listed as accepting new patients on www.calgaryareadocs.com, a website developed by the seven Calgary-area Primary Care Networks (PCNs) to make it quicker and easier for local residents to find a doctor. That represents almost one in four of more than 1,400 physicians listed on the site locally and an increase of more than 60 per cent, or 106 doctors in the past 12 months.
“This is great news for people living in the Calgary area and ultimately for the health of local patients and their families,” said Calgary family doctor and co-chair Primary Care Network Physician Lead Executive, Dr. Phillip van der Merwe.
“We believe every Albertan should have access to a family doctor and a medical home. There appears to be a perception that it’s difficult to find a family doctor and patients may not be aware that this service has been developed to help them. Primary Care Networks have done a great job of making it easier to find a family doctor close to home, work or wherever is most convenient.”
In Alberta, most family doctors are members of PCNs. PCNs improve access to family doctors and strengthen the services offered at clinics. Residents in urban Calgary and surrounding communities including Airdrie, Banff, Canmore, Cochrane, High River and Strathmore can find a family doctor by logging on to www.calgaryareadocs.com. Visitors to the website are given one of two options: Search an interactive map listing doctors taking patients or ask a PCN for help. The website lists physicians by location, as well as by gender and languages spoken. The service is free to use and can also be accessed by calling Health Link at 811.
“PCNs are important partnerships between Alberta Health Services and our physicians which ensure Albertans receive the right care in the right place at the right time,” said Dr. Ted Braun, Acting Vice President, Medical Director Central and Southern Alberta. “Tools such as findadoctor and Health Link are great resources for the community.”
There are 42 PCNs in Alberta and seven in the Calgary area. Calgary-area PCNs help provide care for about 1.1 million patients, while province-wide, PCNs help 3.3 million patients. The www.calgaryareadocs.com website is operated by the seven local PCNs in partnership with local physicians and Alberta Health Services. Elsewhere in Alberta, a similar service is available via www.pcnpmo.ca/findadoctor.
Calgary-area PCNs first launched an online Find a Doctor service in 2010. A new, self-search tool was added last summer. Because it is interactive, there are no delays or long waits. The listings are updated a minimum of once a month and in urban areas they are typically verified at least once a week to ensure the data is as up-to-date and as accurate as possible. In addition to being able to search by location, physician gender and languages spoken, patients will soon be able to review clinic hours and disabled access as well.
Visits to the www.calgaryareadocs.com website average over 9,000 per month. Historical data shows that between 2010 and 2015, more than 63,000 people registered to find a family doctor via the website.
Edmonton-area PCNs launched a similar find a doctor service in 2012 and earlier this year the remainder of the province was added via www.pcnpmo.ca/findadoctor. In addition to the 373 doctors listed as taking patients in the Calgary area, there are more than 480 doctors accepting patients throughout the rest of the province.
ABOUT PRIMARY CARE NETWORKS:
Primary Care Network services and programs are developed in partnership with family doctors and Alberta Health Services. They are designed to meet the everyday health needs of patients in Alberta. There are seven PCNs in Calgary and the surrounding areas and together they serve about 1.1 million patients. For more information about Calgary-area PCNs, please visit www.mypcn.ca.
For media inquiries, contact:
Senior Manager, Communications
Calgary West Central Primary Care Network
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