The Cold Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce believes the health of a population plays an increasingly important role in economic outcomes. That’s why the Chamber recently contracted 143 HealthCARE Consulting (143 HCC) to provide recommendations and a business plan for review and consideration to support the enhancement of primary health care for Cold Lake and the surrounding area.
At its heart, primary care is caring for people rather than simply treating specific diseases or conditions. Primary care is usually the first point of contact people have with the health care system. It provides comprehensive, accessible, community-based care to meet the health needs of individuals throughout their life.
Primary health care extends to more of a social model of health based on the foundation that for health improvement to occur, social, political, environmental, and economic determinants of health must be addressed. Primary health care assists in the socio-economic development of a community by providing care using a wide range of providers, services, and functions.
The Chamber recognizes that healthier populations contribute to a stronger local economy, which in turn, contributes to a healthier population. The Chamber also acknowledges that traditional recruitment and retention strategies for physicians and other healthcare professionals need to change and seeks to understand how the Chamber can better position itself to be part of this effort.
By providing support, networking, and marketing opportunities for businesses, the Chamber is focused on driving economic growth. Chamber President Ryan Lefebvre believes this same focus can also be applied to empowering physicians and healthcare professionals seeking to practice and live in Cold Lake and the surrounding area. “By supporting physicians and healthcare professionals and their businesses, we strengthen our community”.
143 HCC is a grassroots Alberta-based consulting company that engages and collaborates with healthcare entities and community stakeholders to help them better understand and be part of the ever-changing healthcare landscape. “It is a privilege to work with the Chamber on this project,” says Stacey Strilchuk, Principal and Co-Owner of 143 HCC. “We believe the role of the Chamber is an important one and to have the Chamber reach out to us and recognize that they can be a positive influencer is exciting”.
Changing population demographics and new technology make the healthcare system complex for patients as well as for physicians and healthcare professionals. Colleen McKinstry, Principal and Co-Owner of 143 HCC notes “We know the needs of patients and their communities are evolving”.
“143 HCC believes caring and supporting patients throughout their healthcare journey is at the heart of primary care and having the Chamber want to be part of a larger team that is needed to provide high-quality, timely care is essential”. McKinstry adds.
Over the next (3) months 143 HCC will be preparing to present recommendations and a business plan to the Chamber Board of Directors that align with the Quadruple Aim concept in healthcare. This includes improving population health, enhancing the care experience, care team well-being, and reducing costs.
143 HCC will also be providing recommendations that support advancing health equity and will be spending time in the community to understand how best to promote and operationalize primary care to current and new recruits who wish to practice in the community. For example, practice style, alternative funding models, location, and virtual care will be considered.
Chamber Executive Director Sherri Buckle believes this project is in line with the Chamber’s values including exploring ideas that are progressive. “We want physicians and healthcare professionals that choose Cold Lake to live and practice to have an outstanding experience,” says Buckle.
“To do this, we have asked 143 HCC to identify how the Chamber can support this type of experience including creating and sustaining a positive physician culture and practice style so that physicians and healthcare professionals can not only care for patients in our community but feel cared for along with their families”.