Innovating Patient Care in Montreal: Clinique Indigo’s interdisciplinary leap forward

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.

Nestled in the vibrant heart of Montreal, Quebec, Clinique Indigo (CI), a family medicine clinic, has embraced a critical challenge of comprehensive primary care: addressing the needs of the 21 per cent of Quebec’s population who remain unattached to primary care.

These unattached patients face a stark disparity in access to preventive care compared to attached patients. Unattached patients often experience an increased burden of finding and managing their medical history and information and navigating health and other service systems. There is also the cost to patients, including the time and increased travel distances for care. Often, unattached patients are only allowed to pose a single question during those rare physician encounters.

Responding to this disparity in health care access, CI is breaking new ground with its project “An interdisciplinary team serving the unattached population.” This ambitious initiative seeks to transform the care landscape for patients who find themselves navigating the health care system alone, offering them a holistic model of care that promises improved health outcomes and renewed satisfaction in the health care system.

“You don’t recognize the value of care unless you’ve experienced it,” explained Dr. Maxine Dumas-Pilon, CI’s project lead. This statement reflects CI’s vision for inclusive, comprehensive care regardless of attachment status.

CI’s innovative approach includes offering physiotherapy services, online mindfulness classes, and addressing physical and mental health needs without cost to the patient. Adding a mindfulness teacher and a physiotherapist trained in interprofessional care through COACH COLLABO exemplifies CI’s commitment to a holistic, team-based care model.

To bridge these complementary aspects of care, CI has integrated additional specialized professionals into its holistic framework, enhancing the spectrum of services available. This model emphasizes clear role definitions and improves communication strategies across team members, making sure everyone—from nurses to social workers—provides complete patient care, while enhancing the support provided by family physicians.

A key element of CI’s strategy is establishing a licensed practice nurse role. The person in this role is tasked with administering a triage process that enhances physician outreach, ensuring family physician can focus on patient care supported by a comprehensive primary care team offering specialized services. This approach has been underpinned by a rigorous analysis of human resources policies impacting team stability, documenting structural barriers and issues to pinpoint areas for improvement.

Fueled by the Workplace Integrated Demonstration (WID) Projects Grant, a Foundation for Advancing Family Medicine program funded by the Government of Canada’s Employment and Social Development Canada, CI provides equitable support to Montreal patients.

CI’s project is about more than improving health care delivery—it’s about crafting an ecosystem where comprehensive care is the norm and every individual, regardless of their attachment status, can experience the full spectrum of preventive and primary care.

As CI continues to refine its approach and expand its services, the project moves beyond the confines of traditional health care delivery and becomes a journey toward building a more connected, supportive, and empowered community.