- What is the Primary Health Survey?
- What is the purpose of this survey?
- What is primary health care?
- Why is it important to have a survey about primary health?
- Why is it important for citizens to respond to this survey?
- Who is selected to take part in this survey?
- Can anyone participate in the survey?
- When was the data collection completed?
- What kind of questions does the survey ask?
- How is the personal information of respondents protected?
- How are the survey answers used?
- Can health care staff also participate in this survey?
- What has been the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on primary health experiences?
- How did you address the fact the COVID-19 pandemic started during the data collection of the 2020 edition of the survey?
- How did you address the changes in geographic boundaries for some of the communities and zones?
- Why are some survey results in your publications and on your website different than those published in previous documents for editions prior to 2020?
- Who do I call if I have any questions or concerns?
1. What is the Primary Health Survey?
Citizens should be given the opportunity to express their opinions about the health care services they receive in New Brunswick. In this telephone survey, New Brunswickers are asked about their experiences with family doctors, nurse practitioners, emergency departments, specialists, after hours clinics, community health centres, ambulance services and mental health services. They are also asked about their use and access to primary health services, and their general health and wellness.
2. What is the purpose of this survey?
This province-wide survey evaluates the quality of primary health services provided to New Brunswickers, and their overall health and wellness. The results of this survey are made available through public reports on the NBHC website and help identify what is being done well and what could be done better. The results also help identify gaps and variability within New Brunswick by geography and different demographic groups.
3. What is primary health care?
Primary health care is usually the first point of contact with the healthcare system. Primary health care providers are essential for effective preventative medicine, health maintenance and management of chronic conditions, and may include family doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, dietitians, physiotherapists, social workers, and other health professionals.
4. Why is it important to have a survey about primary health?
Primary health services affect the lives of all New Brunswick citizens in many different ways. In 2011, the NBHC released the results of its first primary health survey, and follow-up surveys were done in 2014, 2017 and 2020. It is important for New Brunswickers to know if any improvements have been made to primary health services over time. This province-wide survey is an opportunity for New Brunswickers in all communities to share their views and help drive improvements in primary health services.
5. Why is it important for citizens to respond to this survey?
This survey provides information at the community level that can be used for strategic planning for our health services. This enables the NBHC to properly look at the six dimensions of quality: accessibility, appropriateness, effectiveness, efficiency, equity and safety factors, in all regions of the province. Citizens’ responses help us understand the difficulties and barriers citizens experience when in need of health services and help assess the general health status.
6. Who is selected to take part in this survey?
The Primary Health Survey targets citizens 18 years of age and older from communities all over New Brunswick, who are living in private households. Participation is voluntary. The respondents, who are selected at random (like flipping a coin), are called and invited to complete a telephone survey. Not all citizens are selected to participate.
7. Can anyone participate in the survey?
Unfortunately, only a sample of randomly chosen citizens receive the survey (like flipping a coin). In order to have the most accurate results, we need to use this survey method. The New Brunswick Health Council is committed to actively engaging citizens in quality improvement. Even if you do not have a chance to participate in this survey, there will be other opportunities for you to make a difference in the health system.
8. When was the data collection completed?
The 2020 survey started in January 2020 and continued until September 2020.
9. What kind of questions does the survey ask?
The survey asks New Brunswickers about:
- Their views about the New Brunswick health system
- How healthy they are
- If they have chronic conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease)
- If they have a primary care provider (family doctor or nurse practitioner)
- Where they go when they need care from a health professional
- Experiences with health services received from their family doctor, specialist, nurse practitioner, at community health centres, after hours clinics, walk-in clinics, hospital emergency departments, and ambulance services
- If they have a regular healthcare provider, how quickly they can get an appointment when they are sick or need medical attention
- Information about their age, income level, education, employment, postal code, and language spoken most often at home
- Preferred language when receiving health care services and how often they received the service they need in the language of their choice
- Difficulties they may have experienced in getting primary health care
10. How is the personal information of respondents protected?
Answers are kept strictly confidential and are combined with others for reporting of results. All the necessary steps are taken to ensure that the information collected from the Primary Health Survey is protected and secure. The survey adheres to the privacy laws of New Brunswick under the Personal Health Information Privacy and Access Act (PHIPAA - www.gnb.ca/0051/acts). Doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers will not know how individual participants responded. Respondents had the option to skip any question on the survey if they were not comfortable answering it.
11. How are the survey answers used?
Answers to this survey provide a strong voice for the citizens of New Brunswick. The responses help us understand the difficulties and barriers citizens experience when in need of health services and help assess the general health status. The results guide our work to keep citizens informed about progress in health services quality, as well as shape our recommendations to the Minister of Health.
Based on the survey results, the New Brunswick Health Council provides information that enables stakeholders (like provincial programs, Regional Health Authorities and communities) to identify priorities and elaborate plans to improve health service quality and health outcomes. For example, some communities used the results of the Primary health survey and were able to achieve (and measure) major improvements in access to primary health care services, and reductions in smoking rates and in prevalence of chronic health conditions.
12. Can health care staff also participate in this survey?
Yes, it is an opportunity for everyone to have their say as a citizen of New Brunswick. We are looking for answers from the perspective of the primary health service recipient.
13. What has been the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on primary health experiences?
The 2020 edition of the Primary Health Survey was not designed to measure the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on citizens’ experiences with primary health services.
14. How did you address the fact the COVID-19 pandemic started during the data collection of the 2020 edition of the survey?
The 2020 edition of the Primary Health Survey was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the pandemic did not influence the survey’s response rate, the NBHC had to assess the impact of surveying during the pandemic. Accordingly, advanced statistical analyses were performed to allow for comparison between the results obtained in 2020 and those obtained in previous PHS cycles. Some indicators had to be suppressed in the 2020 edition as part of this process. Despite these analyses, users are advised to use the 2020 data with caution, especially when creating estimates for small sub-populations or when comparing it to other PHS editions.
15. How did you address the changes in geographic boundaries for some of the communities and zones?
Some geographic boundaries have been modified and these changes were applied to the 2020 edition. These geographic areas include Zone 6 (Bathurst and Acadian Peninsula Area), the community of Shippagan, Lamèque, Inkerman Area, the community of Tracadie and Saint-Isidore, Zone 7 (Miramichi Area), the community of Neguac, Alnwick, Esgenoopetitj Area, the community of Bouctouche, Richibucto, Saint-Antoine Area, the community of Salisbury and Petitcodiac, and the community of Shediac, Beaubassin East and Cap-Pelé. Users are advised to exercise caution if comparing data from these geographic areas to previous data cycles. For the affected geographic areas, comparisons between data cycles may not be precise.
16. Why are some survey results in your publications and on your website different than those published in previous documents for editions prior to 2020?
Improvements were identified, and methodology changes were applied to the calculation of a subset of indicators from the 2020 edition. For these indicators, to allow comparisons over time, the same methodology was applied to indicators from previous editions, which means that the 2011, 2014 and 2017 indicators were recalculated using the improved methodology.
17. Who do I call if I have any questions or concerns?
If you have any questions or would like to have more information about this survey or its results, please call the toll-free number 1-877-225-2521 or visit the New Brunswick Health Council web site at www.nbhc.ca.