Patient and health care provider satisfaction with a new model of rural obstetric care


Carla Foolen, Carol Rowntree, Marta Shaw, Neil Drummond


Marta Shaw at, 403.210.9259


Manuscript In Development



During the past decades, many family physicians have stopped providing maternity care services. Recruitment and retention of maternity care providers, especially in rural locations, has been a challenge. Although a significant percentage of physicians still provide prenatal and postnatal care (42% and 33% in 2010, respectively), this is not the case for intrapartum care or medical care during the critical period of delivery and childbirth. In 1997, 20% of Canadian family physicians reported delivering intrapartum care. Recently released data from the National Physician Survey (2010) showed that only 10.5% of family physicians were still providing intrapartum care. In addition, the decreasing trend of maternity care providers is further indicated by the College of Family Physicians of Canada, as 2.2% of family physicians providing intrapartum care in 2010 reported plans to cease providing this type of care within the next 2 years. 

Therefore, efforts have been made to develop alternative models of care that make maternity care more palatable to practicing physicians and new graduates alike. A variety of approaches have been developed in the rural Alberta, Canada, with the goal to reduce the negative impacts of practicing obstetrics on physician lifestyle and to improve the retention and recruitment of physicians in this service. Currently, it is unclear how these alternative models of rural obstetric care are perceived by patients and their health providers. Gaining an understanding of the existing models of care and how these structures affect the satisfaction of the care provided will inform the sustainability and evolution of rural obstetric medicine.


The study design will consist of two components: 1) structured interviews with key informants such as clinic managers or other health professionals who have knowledge about their model of maternity care in rural Alberta; and 2) a cross-sectional satisfaction survey of patients and health practitioners in rural Alberta regarding their model of maternity care.


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