A primer on primary health care
family physician, a registered nurse and a dietitian to
get his condition under control.
“My primary care associate (nurse Dianne Moreau)
has given me great advice, put me in touch with all
sorts of resources and given me the moral support to do
what I needed to do,” says Folks. “They didn’t just give
me a bunch of pills and send me away; they made me
feel my case mattered.”
Worldwide research consistently shows strong
primary care leads to healthier patients and lower
“It’s common sense. If we can help people be healthy,
avoid disease or injury, manage chronic conditions and
remain independent as they age, they will have less
need to see specialists, have surgery or go to hospital,”
says Dr. Richard Lewanczuk, senior medical director,
AHS Primary Care and Chronic Disease Management.
Alberta has made great strides in developing
a primary care system that provides a variety
of resources for patients. Seventy-five percent of
Alberta’s primary care doctors and 70 percent of
Albertans are part of a primary care network. And
the numbers are growing.
Folks is part of the Big Country primary care
network. “If I had left my diabetes unchecked, I
would have had huge health problems down the road.
With the support I have now, I feel more in control.”
Reported by BE TH FRANK
often called the front door to health care, primary care is also the foundation of a strong, sustain- able and effective health-care system.
It’s a patient’s first point of contact with health professionals — an appointment with a family physician,
a phone call to Health Link Alberta or a visit to a local
pharmacist. And it’s about keeping people well, and
giving them choice and control over their own health.
“When people think of health care, they usually think
of hospitals,” says Heather Toporowski, vice-president
of Community & Rural/Primary Care and Chronic Dis-
ease Management at Alberta Health Services. “But most
health care is delivered outside of hospital walls — in
the community, in doctors’ offices, in physiotherapy
clinics, over the phone.”
After being recently diagnosed with diabetes, 43-
year-old Andy Folks of Delburne has worked with a
shows that strong primary
care leads to healthier
patients and lower health-care costs.
Big Country primary care network registered nurse Dianne
Moreau and patient Andy Folks.