Family medicine obstetrics. Collaborative interdisciplinary program for a declining resource.
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PROBLEM BEING ADDRESSED: A continuing decline in the number of family physicians in Canada providing obstetric, and particularly intrapartum, care. OBJECTIVE OF PROGRAM: The Maternity Centre of Hamilton in Ontario was a pilot project initiated to help family physicians provide full obstetric care through a collaborative interdisciplinary model and shared call. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: Eleven family physicians provided care in collaboration with a nurse practitioner and other health professionals. Women came from the Maternity Centre's own practices, community physicians, or agencies, or through self-referral. More than a quarter of the women were considered psychosocially high-risk patients. Key features of the program included interdisciplinary collaboration and information technology that supported prenatal and birth documentation. CONCLUSION: The program has helped family physicians, and even recruited some, to practise full obstetric care and has provided high-quality, accessible services to pregnant women. Physicians experienced increased jab and personal satisfaction, and patients were highly satisfied with the service.