January 16, 2018 5:52 pm
Updated: January 16, 2018 5:55 pm

Team coverage expected to improve patient access in New Brunswick

WATCH: The first team of doctors to share a list of thousands of patients has begun working together under the Family Medicine New Brunswick model. Jeremy Keefe reports.

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A team of four doctors in Oromocto are the first to operate under the Family Medicine New Brunswick model, a collaborative approach to patient care never seen before in the province.

Doctors Naomi White, Stephane Paulin, Tim Snell and Kristen Brown make up the team which is responsible for approximately 4,800 patients.

Working together is expected to improve access to a physician for those patients as each doctor is able to retrieve medical records for the patients regardless of who cared for them last.

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“It’s really the way forward for medicine,” said Dr. White, who has been practising medicine in New Brunswick for six years.

“A team-based approach with continuity of care and using health technology.”

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Before moving to the province, White had spent time in Alberta while a similar model was being implemented. She says it’s an efficient way for physicians to offer care to patients.

“I was really intrigued by a team-based approach to care and having improved patient access,” she said. “The ability to cross cover each other, having access to patients’ medical records on a regular basis.”

“The four of us work really good together. We’ve known each other well,” Dr. Brown said. “It’s nice having that coverage to know that, you know, if I’m off for a day and there’s someone that really needs to be seen, I have that person to count on.

“They can give that same care to the patient,” said Brown.

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New Brunswick Medical Society President Dr. Dharm Singh says there’s a wide array of benefits to this new system.

“Physicians are able to spend more time with the patients, so better management of chronic disease management, better preventative care management,” he said.

In addition to improved access, the Department of Health anticipates the new model will also help encourage doctors to set up in New Brunswick.

“This is a recruitment tool,” said Health Minister Benoit Bourque. “We know that we’re able to have some doctors, some come from outside New Brunswick, because they were interested in this model. They like the way it’s made, the way it’s conceived and because of that we’re attracting more doctors.”

Bourque indicated more teams will be rolled out in the near future, although no timeline or regions for implementation have been announced at this time.

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