Kim McGrail, PhD

Professor, UBC School of Population and Public Health
Faculty, UBC Centre for Health Services and Policy Research
Scientific Director, SPOR Canadian Data Platform
Scientific Director, Population Data BC
Director of Research, UBC Health

Please describe your most important contribution(s) to primary care research
My interest is largely in quantitative policy evaluation and analyses of “natural experiments” in health services delivery. Recent research includes studying the effects of incentive payments in primary care, assessing the impact of publicly funded virtual visits in primary care, and a comparison of different approaches in BC and Quebec to “attachment” of patients and primary care providers.

Please describe your current work or upcoming research projects related to primary care
I am part of a multi-province team led by Ruth Lavergne that is looking at early career decisions around primary care practice. I am also part of the multi-province research on performance measurement and reporting for community-based primary care.

What are the key messages from your primary care research to share with other stakeholders (e.g. clinicians, policymakers, patients)?
If we want primary care physicians to provide “full service” care like what is described for patient medical homes, we need to support true structural reform. Fee-based incentives without other changes do not work. Virtual care and other telehealth services are valued by patients and are seen by both patients and providers as a high-quality form of care in many (though not all) circumstances. How virtual care is embedded in the system – including how easy it is for primary care physicians to incorporate it as part of their practice – is critical. Virtual walk-in care is not truly patient-centred care.