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The PCN is a network of General Practitioners (GPs) supported by nurses and care coordinators in providing holistic and coordinated care for patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidaemia. This team-based care approach ensures patients are better cared for in the community.
Primary care forms the foundation of our healthcare system, and the key to enable the three paradigm shifts needed to sustain our healthcare system beyond 2020 - Beyond Hospital to Community, Beyond Quality to Value, and Beyond Healthcare to Health. To effect these shifts, we need to transform our primary care to ensure that good quality and affordable care is accessible and delivered in a sustainable manner in the community
GPs, like yourself, helm the majority of our primary care market share. Located in close proximity to your patients’ homes, you play an instrumental role in the management of our ageing and increasingly complex chronic patient population.
To support your role in providing a more holistic chronic disease management for your patients, funding and administrative support is now available to you under the PCN scheme.
The PCN Application Call was launched on 1 April 2017. From 1 January 2018 onwards, successfully awarded PCNs (and their GPs) will be able to tap on funding and administrative support to implement team-based care to better monitor and manage their patients’ healthcare needs. The PCN scheme also provides participating GPs a platform for cross-sharing of best practices for patient care.
How does the Primary Care Network (PCN) works?
First, the patient consults a PCN GP for his or her chronic condition(s). As a PCN GP, you will assess and diagnose the patient’s condition and your clinic may wish to register the patient on the PCN’s Chronic Disease Registry (CDR) if applicable. The patient should also be referred to see a nurse counsellor and the relevant ancillary services such as Diabetic Foot Screening or Diabetic Retinal Photography, if necessary
The care coordinator at the PCN-HQ level will then work with the respective clinic assistant to schedule the patient for the ancillary service appointment. Upon completion of the ancillary service(s), the doctor will review the test results and follow up with the patient.
The patient’s progress and clinical outcomes will be tracked and monitored to ensure that they follow through with their personalised care plans and treatment. The overall aim is to help patients better manage their chronic conditions and improve their health outcomes.
Through the PCN, your patients will now be able to access more holistic chronic disease management which includes the provision of ancillary services, such as nurse counselling, diabetic eye and foot screening which might not be readily available in the current GP clinic settings.
The primary care coordinators from the PCN will also help patients coordinate with other healthcare providers when they require other services (e.g. referral to podiatry services). Your patients will have access to nurse counsellors for individualised advice to manage their chronic conditions, including lifestyle and dietary modifications.
There will be closer monitoring of their chronic conditions for earlier intervention and the care coordinators will help to schedule services when appropriate for a more seamless patient experience.
Participating GPs would be able to manage patients with chronic conditions in a more holistic manner through the PCN. With additional government funding, the PCN GPs would be better supported to provide team-based chronic care for their patients and monitor their patients’ outcomes more closely. The PCN would also tap on better economies of scale for ancillary services (e.g. diabetic eye & foot screening).
As part of the PCN, participating GPs may also be provided with IT funding and support to increase the clinic productivity and smoothen the operational process. In addition, the PCN-HQ will organise regular meetings for cross sharing of best practices and seminars (i.e. Continuous Medical Education).
The two current models of Primary Care Network (PCN) are as follow
GP-Driven PCN Model – Driven and coordinated by solo GPs partnering together to form a network. The PCN leader is helmed by a Family Physician, while the Administrative leadership role can be helmed by the same PCN leader or by any other GP identified by the group.
GP-RHS/Polyclinics Partnership and GP group PCN Model – Driven by solo GPs in partnership with the Regional Health System (RHS) clusters or led by large GP clinic groups. The PCN leader is helmed by a Family Physician, while the Administrative leadership role is helmed by the RHS/large GP group with whom the GPs have partnered with.
1) What are the core ancillary services that you have to offer to your patients upon joining PCN?
As part of the holistic chronic disease management, your diabetic patients will be scheduled for periodic foot screening to identify any diabetic-related foot issues that can lead to amputations if not well taken care of. Advice on proper foot care and footwear will also be provided.
The PCN coordinator will help to coordinate periodic DRP screening for diabetic patients through service providers such as Community Health Centres (CHCs) to enable early detection of any diabetic-related eye conditions. This will ensure early interventions which will reduce the risk of complications that can lead to blindness.
Your patients will be able to learn more about their chronic condition(s) from the nurse counsellors. The nurse counsellors will provide them with personalised advice on positive lifestyle changes and empower them to self-manage their condition(s).
2) What are the optional initiatives that my clinics can participate in as part of being in a PCN?
The PCN-HQ will need to discuss with its GPs on whether to participate in any of the optional initiatives made available to the PCNs.
The PCN Mental Health Initiative aims to achieve the following:
Each PCN clinic will remain as an independent business entity, which means the day-to-day business-related decisions (e.g. consultation fees, operating hours) will still be determined by the individual clinic.
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Listing of Primary Care Networks GP Clinics
If you are interested to find out more, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will arrange with you for a discussion.
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