NAPCRG Conference 2023


Developing a Primary Care Team Capacity Estimator (CapEs) to support Canadian primary care planning in a time of crisis


Elka Humphrys, Morgan Price, Ada Okonkwo-Dappa




Context: In Canada, primary care is in a crisis of both growing demand and dropping supply, with an estimated 22% of Canadian adults without a regular healthcare provider in 2023. Team-based care is a key element to effective primary care, as high-functioning, appropriately structured teams can provide both clinical and system adaptive capacity to better respond to changing demands. However, evidence is limited for guiding policymakers and planners in considering team composition when planning health human resources. Objective: To co-develop clinical capacity estimates when allied health providers are embedded in primary care teams and to build an evidence-based software that simulates primary care need and capacity, CapEs (Capacity Estimator), to support decision makers in primary care planning. Study Design and Analysis: A combination of rapid literature review and modified Delphi methods will be used to explore seven primary care roles: registered nurses, pharmacists, physician assistants, social workers, dietitians, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists. Published literature and primary care professional scope of practice documents will be summarized for each role to inform the modified Delphi process. Each role will go through a three-round Delphi process with a panel of 10 experts to explore and validate the evidence related to the role’s primary care capacity, visits that could be shared in primary care and additional services that could be delivered beyond the scope of what a primary care provider typically offers. Evidence will be synthesized and used to develop the CapEs simulation software. Setting or Dataset: Canadian primary care. Population Studied: Primary care allied health providers. Intervention/Instrument: None. Outcome Measures: To describe and validate the scope and capacity added by allied health roles in primary care teams, and to create and share the CapEs simulation software to estimate primary care team capacity in the Canadian context. Results: The seven rapid literature reviews will be completed by November 2023 and up to four Delphi processes will be in progress and/or completed. Expected Outcomes: The CapEs study will support Canadian primary care planning in a time of crisis through synthesizing knowledge to help better predict capacity gains provided by team members and use this knowledge to build an evidence-based simulation software (CapEs) to help guide policy makers and planners to better meet primary care needs.


The CapEs study evidence and simulation software will help support team-based care capacity planning to better meet primary care needs in Canada.

Learning Objectives         

On completion of this session the participants should be able to:

  • Interpret how allied health providers add capacity in primary care teams;
  • See how allied health provider capacity knowledge could be applied in team-based care settings through the CapEs simulation software.

Research Category

Healthcare services, delivery and financing

Practice management and organization

Study Design

Mixed methods research