Improving access to primary healthcare for vulnerable populations in Australia and Canada: protocol for a mixed-method evaluation of six complex interventions Academic Article uri icon


  • IntroductionAccess to primary healthcare (PHC) has a fundamental influence on health outcomes, particularly for members of vulnerable populations. Innovative Models Promoting Access-to-Care Transformation (IMPACT) is a 5-year research programme built on community-academic partnerships. IMPACT aims to design, implement and evaluate organisational innovations to improve access to appropriate PHC for vulnerable populations. Six Local Innovation Partnerships (LIPs) in three Australian states (New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia) and three Canadian provinces (Ontario, Quebec and Alberta) used a common approach to implement six different interventions. This paper describes the protocol to evaluate the processes, outcomes and scalability of these organisational innovations.Methods and analysisThe evaluation will use a convergent mixed-methods design involving longitudinal (pre and post) analysis of the six interventions. Study participants include vulnerable populations, PHC practices, their clinicians and administrative staff, service providers in other health or social service organisations, intervention staff and members of the LIP teams. Data were collected prior to and 3–6 months after the interventions and included interviews with members of the LIPs, organisational process data, document analysis and tools collecting the cost of components of the intervention. Assessment of impacts on individuals and organisations will rely on surveys and semistructured interviews (and, in some settings, direct observation) of participating patients, providers and PHC practices.Ethics and disseminationThe IMPACT research programme received initial ethics approval from St Mary’s Hospital (Montreal) SMHC #13–30. The interventions received a range of other ethics approvals across the six jurisdictions. Dissemination of the findings should generate a deeper understanding of the ways in which system-level organisational innovations can improve access to PHC for vulnerable populations and new knowledge concerning improvements in PHC delivery in health service utilisation.


  • Russell, G
  • Kunin, M
  • Harris, M
  • Levesque, JF
  • Descôteaux, S
  • Scott, C
  • Lewis, Virginia
  • Dionne, É
  • Advocat, J
  • Dahrouge, S
  • Stocks, N
  • Spooner, C
  • Haggerty, J

publication date

  • 2019