Kootenay Boundary, BC Doctors in the Kootenay Boundary have a new tool today that will help them support patients with socio-economic challenges impacting their health.

Entitled the Poverty Intervention Tool, the document explores the profound impact that social determinants, like not being able to meet monthly expenses, have on patient health.

“Take diabetes as an example, which is a big issue across the province,” said Dr. Lee MacKay, Kootenay Boundary Division of Family Practice board chair. “The lowest income sector in BC has more than double the rate of diabetes compared to the highest income sector. This has a tremendous impact on our communities – an impact I witness daily in my practice.”

And the facts are equally powerful with respect to cancer rates, cardiovascular disease and low birth weight in infants.

The Poverty Intervention Tool guides doctors with a list of questions to help address the impact of poverty on their patients’ health and puts the resources they need to connect patients with the appropriate community supports and services at their fingertips.

The Division of Family Practice worked with a number of community organizations to develop the Poverty Intervention Tool, including Nelson CARES, a community based social services organization offering affordable housing; advocacy for victims of crime and those living in poverty; and residential and employment services to adults with disabilities.

Jenny Robinson, Executive Director of Nelson CARES said, “We were delighted to collaborate with the Kootenay Boundary Division of Family Practice on this project. Poverty and health are interrelated and it is vital to create tools that bridge the social and health sectors. It is exciting to see physicians taking a leadership role to support people living in poverty.” 

The Kootenay Boundary Division of Family Practice represents doctors in 13 communities across the region including Castlegar, Christina Lake, Fruitvale, Grand Forks, Greenwood, Kaslo, Midway, Nakusp, Nelson, New Denver, Rossland, Salmo, and Trail.

The KB Division works to improve patient access to local primary care, increase local physicians’ influence on health care delivery and policy, and provide professional support for physicians. www.kbdivision.org

The Division of Family Practice initiative is funded by a joint committee of the BC Ministry of Health and Doctors of BC.


Paul Edney Communications Manager pedney@divisionsbc.ca 250-551-1844 


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Comment by Laura Gottlieb on July 10, 2014 at 8:21pm

Ha! Just saw that you posted it earlier today. Thanks for sharing, Sam. 

Comment by Laura Gottlieb on July 10, 2014 at 8:17pm

Sam--This video is AWESOME! Can you repost so that HealthBegins members can find it without reading through our conversation...? 

Comment by Sam Burnett on July 10, 2014 at 11:00am


One of our collaborators embedded the poverty screening tool into an EMR here in BC. Here is what it can look like.  There is no audio in the video.


Comment by Sam Burnett on July 1, 2014 at 2:00pm

Thanks laura, Will do.  Here is an example of one of the other tools that we work with, Brief Action Planning (BAP), being integrated into an EMR: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_DJQ-nIiZA&feature=youtu.be.  In BC, different regions and health authorities use different EMRs (sometimes it is practice by practice).  Some are much more amenable to editing and new tool integration.  

Comment by Laura Gottlieb on July 1, 2014 at 11:36am

There are some places that have successfully integrated social screening into EHRs. (We haven't at SFGH in San Francisco, but we're starting to work on it! We have integrated e-referral for some Social Determinants interventions, though--small steps...) Folks at Johns Hopkins, St. John's CHC in LA, Boston Medical Center and Cincinnati Children's are all places that come to mind. Let me know if you want more contact information. 

Comment by Sam Burnett on July 1, 2014 at 10:55am

Hi Laura, Thanks for the question.  I spoke with the development team and so far no one has been able to get the tool embedded into the EHR--although there have been many discussions around it (there is a will).  Have you had a positive experience with editing/adding to an EHR?

Comment by Laura Gottlieb on June 6, 2014 at 11:41am

This is GREAT! Thanks for posting it, Sam. Any traction around getting these screening questions and interventions integrated in the EHR among participating practices? 


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