A groundbreaking initiative in Penticton, British Columbia, is creating a transformative health care landscape and aiming to improve community care

The Workplace Integrated Demonstration Projects (WID), launched by the Foundation for Advancing Family Medicine, were grant initiatives designed to strengthen the comprehensive primary care workforce through training, mentorship, and coaching. These projects aimed to expand interprofessional teams, enhance primary care practices, and develop curricula to improve the delivery of comprehensive care.

The South Okanagan Similkameen (SOS) Community Outpatient Services project emerged when the local walk-in clinic was on the brink of closure due to an overwhelming number of patients. This crisis prompted a revolutionary reimagining of health care delivery centred around operational efficiency, role clarity, and an integrated approach that brings together diverse health care disciplines. By focusing on these core areas, the SOS project offers a sustainable solution to the challenges of patient care that once pushed the clinic toward closure.

The integration of a registered nurse with extensive experience in team-based care and a community pharmacist are key aspects to the SOS’s strategy. This move has optimized clinic operations by streamlining patient visit preparations and increasing physician availability, while enhancing overall clinic efficiency. The introduction of the “pitch-in model,” developed in collaboration with local family physicians, further exemplifies the project’s innovative approach. The SOS’s project focuses on maximizing the roles and capacities of the nurse and the medical office assistant, enabling the clinic to extend its reach to more patients and showcasing the SOS project’s response to community health care needs.

The SOS project’s success is underpinned by clear objectives, including transitioning medically complex, vulnerable hospital inpatients to primary care and establishing a replicable training and mentorship framework across other community practices. This initiative has attracted physicians from varied backgrounds, further supporting longitudinal and episodic care. The SOS project has also fostered a nurturing environment for medical residents and locum physicians, ensuring the continuity of care for over 100 patients through its longitudinal panel. The community’s positive feedback, reflected in Google reviews and social media comments, underscores the significant impact of the enhanced team-based care approach.

At the heart of the SOS project is a commitment to advancing a holistic health care model that meets medical needs and addresses operational workflows to provide timely and effective patient care.

This project is made possible through the generous support of the Foundation for Advancing Family Medicine’s Workplace Integrated Demonstration Projects Grant funded by the Employment and Social Development Canada.

By building on traditional health care delivery paradigms, the SOS project is pioneering a supportive, interconnected community where operational efficiency and compassionate care converge.