Provincial primary care and cancer engagement strategy.
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PROBLEM ADDRESSED: To improve integration of cancer care, Cancer Care Ontario-a provincial agency responsible for planning, advising on, implementing, and monitoring initiatives to improve cancer outcomes-proposed a primary care and cancer engagement strategy in its Ontario Cancer Plan 2008-2011. OBJECTIVE OF PROGRAM: The strategy was designed to focus initially on improving screening for colorectal cancer in primary care settings and would expand to improving primary care integration, early detection, decreased mortality, and better patient experiences throughout the whole cancer journey. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: Following a symposium on integrating family practice and cancer care, leaders from Cancer Care Ontario and the Ontario College of Family Physicians developed an action plan. A Provincial Primary Care Lead and 13 Regional Primary Care Leads (RPCLs) were identified. Broad provincial, national, and international consultations and environmental scanning resulted in the development of a strategic conceptual framework guiding the integration initiatives of the primary care and cancer strategy. It includes 3 key domains of interest (vertical, clinical, and functional integration) surrounded by 2 broad and encompassing activities (knowledge transfer and exchange; measurement and monitoring). The RPCLs are the local contacts for primary care providers and regional cancer programs in Ontario. CONCLUSION: It is early days, but the RPCLs are already busy participating in key organizational governance structures as decision makers; acting as key contacts for primary care providers who need information about the cancer system; and helping to organize educational events. Together they are developing a strategic plan with long- and short-term goals and are advocating for the resources required to improve integration and engagement of the primary care and cancer system.
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