Primary Care Networks working to Reduce the Impact of Financial Strain are taking action to promote financial well-being.  

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What are clinics doing?

Clinics screen and support patients living with financial strain.

Primary care teams were critical in testing the feasibility, acceptability, and process for financial strain screening in practices in Alberta. The Alberta Clinical Poverty Screening Tool was tested by various team members to explore different ways it can be incorporated into practice, considering their context, access, and privacy. These members included:

  • Medical Office Assistant
  • Primary Care Network Nurse
  • Community Innovation Liaison
  • Physician 

“Nobody wants to admit they’re broke. I’m not sure if there’s much more that could have been done to make it more comfortable because it’s hard to speak about [being broke], even with your doctor.” - Primary Care Network Patient

By asking, ‘What matters to you?’, and talking openly about financial strain, the Life Medical Clinic and McLeod River Primary Care Network teams are improving the health and wellness of their patients.

What did they learn?

This is what staff discovered about the acceptability of implementing screening and tailored interventions:

  • Most staff agreed addressing financial strain improved patient outcomes and that screening is very important and relevant to practice.
  • After testing the tool, most agreed screening could be easily implemented and disagreed that it took too much time.
  • Staff felt the screening process itself did not take long, although it did depend on the specific situation of the patient.
  • Physicians and other allied health team members were more positive about the ease of implementation, and whether screening took too much time compared to other team members.

Patient Experience Survey Results (n=62)

  • Half of interviewees indicated they were having trouble making ends meet on the day of the interview. 
  • 87 per cent reported being the same or worse-off financially due to economic impacts of COVID-19, employment barriers, health status, or a change in the family situation compared to the previous year.
  • 93 per cent of patients agreed or strongly agreed that being able to make ends meet relates to better health. 
  • 68 per cent of patients were, or would be, comfortable or very comfortable being asked about making ends meet by their physician or other health care provider.

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What are clinics doing?

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