Ruth Lavergne, PhD

Assistant Professor, Health Policy
Faculty of Health Sciences
Simon Fraser University

Please describe your most important contribution(s) to primary care research
Ruth is a quantitative researcher who uses observational methods and administrative datasets to examine primary care delivery and evaluate policies. Her doctoral thesis built new theory and methods to understand how and why health care use and spending varies among geographic areas. She subsequently led research examining the use of incentive payments to physicians as part of primary care reform in BC. With support from a CIHR SPOR Patient Engagement Grant and BC-PHCRN she also led a structured priority-setting process to identify patient priorities for primary care research in BC.

Please describe your current work or upcoming research projects related to primary care
Ruth currently leads research examining changing practice patterns within the primary care physician workforce. Findings will support more accurate workforce planning and inform transformation in the organization and delivery of primary care. Ruth also leads research exploring integration of care for patients with mental health and substance use disorders and access to primary care for immigrant and refugee populations.

What are the key messages from your primary care research to share with other stakeholders (e.g. clinicians, policymakers, patients)?
The practice of family medicine is changing. To meet patients’ need for a regular place of care the organization of primary care needs to change as well. Modifications to incentives within existing payment systems show only limited impact.