A history of innovation and community care: celebrating 10 years at 80 Bond

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A history of innovation and community care: celebrating 10 years at 80 Bond

Toronto, July 28, 2020

By Christy Janssens

Dr. Paul Das and Celia Schwartz
Dr. Paul Das and Celia Schwartz

Ten years ago, the clinic at 80 Bond opened its doors to provide an interdisciplinary approach to health care in the community. This month, it is celebrating a decade of team-based care for their patients.

80 Bond is one of six St. Michael’s Department of Family and Community Medicine Family Health Team clinics that uses a team-based model of primary health care. A patient comes in through one point or channel and, depending on their needs, they might be referred to another health-care professional within the clinic that specializes in the specific issue.

“The exciting thing about being at 80 Bond was that it was built to have a community feel to it,” says Celia Schwartz, a social worker at the clinic. “The way the circle was done for the offices upstairs and the way that psychology was integrated and social work downstairs; it was meant to feel like how a community centre feels.”

That community-based approach to care has changed the lives of some of their patients.

Related: An anniversary of advocacy: Five years of Sumac Creek in the community

“I was struggling with a lot of mental health issues,” said Miriam, a patient who was inspired to go back to school for social work after her experience at the 80 Bond clinic. “The team at 80 Bond provided me with the support I needed to help me figure out what I wanted in my life. They helped me come out of my depression and helped me believe in myself.”

That community feel extends to the network of partnerships who have worked together for the past ten years to create an innovative academic environment, where learners and faculty from, The University of Toronto, Ryerson University, City of Toronto, the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, and health justice partners work together to provide health services to patients who may face barriers in accessing care.

“This is a truly collaborative partnership,” says Deborah Kopansky-Giles, Chiropractic Program Lead and liaison between St. Michael’s Department of Family and Community Medicine and the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College.

Dr. Noor Ramji, Dr. Holly Knowles and Dr. Nanette Lang
Dr. Noor Ramji, Dr. Holly Knowles and Dr. Nanette Lang

She says that this model, integrating chiropractic services in a primary care setting, was the first of its kind in Canada. It also focuses on providing barrier-free access to chiropractic care, especially to those experiencing disadvantage.

80 Bond’s programs and services have been structured intentionally to reflect the inherent complexity in human health with a focus on the broad social determinants of health.

“Physical and psychological are very closely linked,” says Schwartz. “It is very important that we have a vision to support people through that, whether it is through their anxiety or their depression, through their financial needs or through their legal needs, because it all impacts their physical health and well-being.”

This means that the team constantly evaluates their work to help improve the patient experience.

“Our team has always been interested in looking at data about the care we are providing,” says Dr. Tara Kiran, a Family Physician at 80 Bond and a Scientist at the MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions. “We know, for example, that timely access is a challenge for many Canadians when it comes to primary care but we didn’t want that to be the case in our team. So we were mindful at the start about making access a priority and working to make it happen.”

As a result, 84 per cent of patients report that the length of time between booking an appointment and the actual appointment is very good or excellent.

80 Bond was also the test site for integrating an electronic medical record, an initiative led by Dr. Fok-Han Leung, who was also the physician lead when the clinic opened. He says that, although technology is important, the team-based approach is what has made the clinic succeed.

“Family medicine is intrinsically relationship-focused,” says Dr. Leung. “The team is the foundation.”

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in more than 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the Hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael’s Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

About Unity Health Toronto

Unity Health Toronto, comprised of Providence Healthcare, St. Joseph’s Health Centre and St. Michael’s Hospital, works to advance the health of everyone in our urban communities and beyond. Our health network serves patients, residents and clients across the full spectrum of care, spanning primary care, secondary community care, tertiary and quaternary care services to post-acute through rehabilitation, palliative care and long-term care, while investing in world-class research and education. For more information, visit www.unityhealth.to.

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