International Journal of Integrated Care
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INTRODUCTION: In 2019, Ontario's Ministry of Health (the Ministry) introduced Ontario Health Teams (OHTs) to provide population-based integrated healthcare. Primary care was foundational to this approach. We sought to identify factors that impacted primary care engagement during OHT formation from different perspectives.
METHODS: Interviews with 111 participants (administrators n = 80; primary care providers n = 17; patient family advisors = 14) from 11 OHTs were conducted following a semi-structured guide. Interviews were transcribed, coded, and thematically analyzed.
RESULTS: Participants felt that primary care engagement was an ongoing, continuous cycle. Four themes were identified: 1) 'A low rules environment': limited direction from the Ministry (system-level), 2) 'They're at different starting points': impact of local context (initiative-level); 3) 'We want primary care to be actively involved': engagement efforts made by OHTs (initiative-level); 4) 'Waiting to hear a little bit more': primary care concerns about the OHT approach (sector-level). Thirteen factors impacting primary care engagement were identified across the four themes.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: The 13 factors influencing primary care engagement were interconnected and operated at health system, integrated care initiative, and sector levels. Future research should focus on integrated care initiatives as they mature, to address potential gaps in the involvement of primary care physicians.
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