Improving Physician Health and Wellness in Manitoba – A Regional Community of Practice Model

With a funding contribution from Scotiabank of $1.022 million over 3 years and in collaboration with the CMA and MD Financial Management, Doctors Manitoba is launching a pilot project that utilizes a community of practice model to assess the environments and systems in which physicians work and to identify achievable changes that can be implemented at both organizational and system levels. We will be identifying community-specific needs by engaging with physicians, health care administrators, and other community stakeholders.

Doctors Manitoba will partner with 3 pilot communities – one northern and two rural. Community of practice hubs will be created in Interlake/Eastern Regional Health Authority (Beausejour, Pinawa, Lac du Bonnet and Pine Falls), Northern Health Authority (Thompson), and Prairie Mountain Health Authority (Brandon).   At the conclusion of the pilot project, Doctors Manitoba will incorporate the successful program outcomes into core operations and expand the program in other areas of Manitoba. Lessons learned from the pilot will also be incorporated into future planning. The program evaluation will be robust and include both formative and quantitative analysis so that any positive outcomes can be replicated locally, provincially and nationally.  

We are working towards improved partnerships with physicians, health authorities and health organizations as well as increased engagement with physicians and health organizations as it relates to physician health and wellness.

Doctors Manitoba is pleased to work in close collaboration with our various partners, who also understand the significance of this project in improving physician health and wellness.

“On behalf of Prairie Mountain Health, we are pleased to partner with Doctors Manitoba on this project,” says Penny Gilson, CEO of Prairie Mountain Health.  “We are committed to the health and wellness of all of our providers, including our physicians. We recognize that physician wellness serves to enhance patient care and we are excited about this opportunity for improved healthcare in Manitoba.”

Another outcome of this pilot project will be the increased influence of the Doctors Manitoba Physician Health and Wellness Committee in rural and northern communities. With a new mandate and renewed focus, Dr. Philippe Erhard, Committee Chair, is looking forward to creating change together and improving both physician and patient health.

“Physician Health and Wellness is a very important issue for Manitoba physicians. This project is a significant step in hearing directly from physicians about the issues that impact them. Healthy physicians are able to provide better care to patients and working with our regional partners will enable us to develop sustainable solutions together.”

This contribution to Doctors Manitoba is part of Scotiabank, MD, and CMA’s commitment to supporting the medical profession and advancing health in Canada. Over the next 10 years, the organizations plan to invest $115 million to support physicians and the communities across the country.

The project implementation plan involves learning about current systems and health organizations within each pilot site that enhance or create barriers to physician health and wellness. One of the benefits of working collaboratively with our partners will be that we will be able to evaluate the current relationships with physicians in each community and determine any areas for improvement and further outreach.

Once evidence-informed and achievable intervention strategies are developed for each community of practice hub, the specific initiatives will be implemented. Initiatives will be driven by each specific community’s needs and may include supports such as increased access to child care, access to wellness initiatives such as mindfulness, gym equipment, nutrition and rest areas, enhanced education, and incorporating physician health and wellness in strategic plans. 

By virtue of the fact that these initiatives will be identified by each community, there will be a sense of ownership and commitment to the required improvements. The success of these initiatives will be measured so that we can determine how the pilot project can be replicated at the local, provincial and national level.  Doctors Manitoba will then create a long-term program sustainability plan to ensure that initiatives that have demonstrated measurable success will continue beyond the scope of the pilot project.

For more information on this pilot project, please contact Trina Larsen, Director of Policy and Planning at tlarsen@doctorsmanitoba.ca.

The main adaptation that this project is making to the community of practice model is the development and implementation of achievable action plans/initiatives along with a robust evaluation.

Domain: The area of shared inquiry is physician health and wellness and the systemic and organizational factors that support or impede it.

Community Members: Physicians, other stakeholders such as hospital or clinic administrators, health authority leaders, Doctors Manitoba staff and others that the community members feel are integral to success of the pilot.

Practice: Community needs assessment and gap analysis, education and training, development and prioritization of achievable action plans, resources identified and secured, additional stakeholders brought in if needed. Implementation of community specific initiatives.

Continuous Improvement: Selection of evaluation consultant. Development of an evaluation framework and necessary tools (needs assessment survey, focus groups, etc.). Development and implementation of measurement (KPI) tools. Preparation of evaluation updates and annual reports. Reflection and changes as needed to achieve desired results.