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St. Michael’s leads way in team approach to patient care

St. Michael’s Hospital now has one of the largest university-affiliated family practices in North America with the opening of its fifth location, which Premier Dalton McGuinty visited today (October 27).

Toronto, October 27, 2010

Ontario Premier Dalton McGunity with St. Michael's family health team physician lead Dr. Fok-Han Leung. Ontario Premier Dalton McGunity with St. Michael's family health team physician lead Dr. Fok-Han Leung.
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The hospital’s Family Health Team is also one of the leaders in Canada in bringing together various health care professionals in one location to treat patients collaboratively and to share knowledge about new and innovative practices.

St. Michael’s new family practice unit at 80 Bond St. will consist of 11 physicians, four nurses, a social worker, dietician and pharmacist who will provide care to a growing and increasingly diverse population of inner city residents, students, immigrants and condo dwellers. The clinic expects to have about 30,000 patient visits a year.

The Family Health Team will include chiropractors and clinical psychologists who will provide services not usually found at a family practice thanks to expanded partnerships with the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College and Ryerson University.

In partnership with Toronto Public Health, patients will also be able to see a dentist and dental hygienist, a big advantage for low-income patients who will no longer have to visit two different locations for dental and primary health care.

“Interprofessional education is the way of the future,” said Jim O’Neill, program director of the Inner City Health Program. “Through collaboration with academic partners, we are able to enrich the student and patient care experience.”

Dr. Philip Berger, chief of family medicine, said St. Michael’s Family Health Team may be using interprofessional education more extensively than anyone else in Canada. He said interprofessional education teaches future health care professionals how to work and learn together rather than in silos, and that patients benefit from the multidisciplinary approach and improved communications.

“Feedback from patients in each of our five locations is consistently and exceptionally positive with respect to the quality and timeliness of the care they receive,” Berger said. “Similarly, our medical residents and other health professional students rate their learning experience as outstanding thanks to the interprofessional nature of the teams and the diversity of our patients.”

The Family Health Team is also moving to a paperless practice. By next spring, all patients will have electronic records, to which all their health care workers would contribute and have access.

The Family Health Team at 80 Bond St. occupies about 17,000 square feet on two floors. The site has 22 exam rooms, eight consult rooms, two chiropractic treatment rooms and two dental labs. In addition, there are two conference rooms and two large interdisciplinary review and team areas where all the clinical teams can touch base at the end of the day, thereby using both policy and physical space to break down professional silos.

St. Michael’s other Family Health Team sites are at 61 Queen St. E., the Health Centre at 410 (410 Sherbourne St.), St. Jamestown Health Centre and St. Lawrence Health Centre.

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