Primary Care Networks

Primary Care Networks (PCNs) are the most common model of team-based primary health care delivery in Alberta. PCNs are groups of doctors working collaboratively with teams of health care professionals, such as nurses, dietitians and pharmacists, working together  to meet primary health care needs in their communities. Approximately 80% of primary care physicians are registered in a PCN.

Established in 2003 through the Primary Care Initiative, Alberta now has 41 PCNs involving more than 3,800 physicians and the full-time-equivalent of over 1,000 health care providers. PCNs provide services to close to 3.6 million Albertans.

  • The last PCN to form was the Drayton Valley PCN in 2014.

In April 2018, the PCNs of  Sexsmith / Spirit River and West Peace merged to create Saddle Hills PCN. Both PCNs have been operational since August 1, 2007. This merger aims to comprehensively address population health needs of both communities, improve program and service delivery, increase patient attachment and utilize shared resources within the North Zone.

Current information can be found regarding the services offered by the Saddle Hills PCN in the West Peace PCN and Sexsmith / Spirit River PCN community profiles. An updated community profile for Saddle Hills PCN is currently under development.

The way PCNs operate is evolving to ensure Albertans have seamless access to consistent and comprehensive primary health care. A new PCN leadership structure is being created that includes a Provincial PCN Committee and five Zone PCN Committees. The 41 individual PCNs will continue to exist and will maintain grant agreements with Alberta Health.

Primary Care Networks are:

  • reducing the use of emergency rooms and wait times through extended and after-hours service;
  • providing comprehensive patient education; and
  • optimizing the skills of clinical care teams through outreach programs.

The Alberta government provides supplementary funding to hire other health professionals to help deliver enhanced services to their patients. Each network has the flexibility to develop programs and to provide services in a way that works locally to meet the specific needs of patients.

PCNs four objectives

  1. Accountable and effective governance – Establish clear and effective governance roles, structures and processes that support shared accountability and the evolution of primary healthcare delivery.
  2. Strong partnerships and transitions of care – Coordinate, integrate and partner with health services and other social services across the continuum of care.
  3. Health needs of the community and population – Plan service delivery on high quality assessments of the community’s needs through community engagement and assessment of appropriate evidence.
  4. Patient’s medical home – Implement patient's medical home to ensure Albertan’s have access to the right services through the establishment of interdisciplinary teams that provide comprehensive primary care.

More information