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Terrace’s Spruce Medical Centre puts patients first


A view from above of four people sitting at a desk, looking at papers and a laptop.
Staff at the Spruce Medical Centre reviewing Quality Improvement data. L to R: Tamara Stephens, Practice Support Coach; Dr. Jordan Hynd; Dr. Eloise Laing; Angie Slanina, LPN/Office manager.

At the Terrace Spruce Medical Centre, patients can book online, go to appointments after work and check themselves in!

Spruce Medical Centre has made it easier for patients to see their family doctors by staying open late three days a week. They’ve also successfully set up a system that allows patients to book appointments online. As well, they have a kiosk at Reception where patients can update their address and phone number themselves.

The physicians didn’t make these changes lightly, says Tamara Stephens, Practice Support Program Coach. “They contemplated the effect it would have on their patients and their own work-life balance. They saw the need to give patients in Terrace greater access, because many were being seen in the ER after hours and on the weekends.”

Spruce Medical also supports patients who don’t have a family doctor. The doctors do their best to see these patients and assign them to a doctor when possible. Patients without a doctor can still make appointments at Spruce Medical, up to four days in advance.

If you are a patient at Spruce Medical, there’s also the convenience of being able to see any one of the doctors if your family doctor is away; they all cover for each other so patients can keep their appointments. 

In the near future, Spruce Medical will be implementing convenient appointment reminders for patients by text message, email, or phone call, with options to cancel their appointment instead of having to phone.

In addition to the Terrace Spruce Medical Centre fostering great work-life balance and putting their patients first, all the doctors at Spruce Medical actively engage with the Practice Support Program, an initiative of the General Practice Services Committee (GPSC), which helps doctors and staff improve both patient care and their own work environments. The coaches in the Practice Support Program work in alignment with Northern Health to provide services and support to doctors and staff.

Currently, doctors at the clinic are completing phase three of Panel Management, a piece of work that aims to help them better understand their patients, including proactively managing chronic and preventive care needs.  

The doctors welcome Tamara, their local Practice Support Program coach, to “set up shop” whenever she wants in their clinic, which she does weekly.

One doctor said, “Tamara has been a huge support with clinic start-up and ongoing office flow, helping with our electronic medical records and the chronic disease management billing process. She also connects us with needed support and resources when she doesn’t have the answer.”

Soon, the clinic wants to start surveying patients using the GPSC Patient Experience Tool to see whether their needs are being met. The results should help them find new ways to help people access health care more easily and with greater satisfaction.