Lindsay Hedden, PhD

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University
Assistant Scientific Director, BC Academic Health Science Network

Please describe your most important contribution(s) to primary care research
My work in primary care focuses specifically on how we can measure current and predict future supply and demand; how we can address physician workforce issues; and how we can improve access for patients all in the context of a developing a learning health system. Past projects have identified gaps in data use and infrastructure and the impact of these limitations on primary care accessibility and workforce planning. As a post-doctoral Health System Impact Fellow, I worked with BC’s Ministry of Health on an improved strategy for physician workforce planning, supporting physician recruitment and retention efforts, and the development and evaluation of new models of primary care delivery.

Please describe your current work or upcoming research projects related to primary care
My work seeks to inform the development of learning health systems with a particular focus on primary care. Current research covers three related areas:

  • Advancing the theory and application of the learning health system model in BC, focusing specifically on alignment with the rollout of team-based primary care and primary care networks
  • Examining the effects of the increasing corporatization and privatization of primary care on equity, accessibility, and quality of care
  • Exploring the increasing role of virtual care in the context of primary care, including implications for costs, service volumes (based on the degree to which virtual care duplicates or is a substitute for in-office visits), accessibility and continuity of care.

What are the key messages from your primary care research to share with other stakeholders (e.g. clinicians, policymakers, patients)?

  • Our understanding of primary care supply and access is hampered by missing data at the level of the team or clinic. As we move towards more team-based models of care, this data gap will become an even larger challenge.
  • More and more primary care physicians are looking to work in a supported team-based model where they are not responsible for running a small business. The lack of availability of this model in BC’s current system is driving physicians away from community based primary care.