When Renée Smith was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes about seven years ago, she didn’t have to go far for personalized advice on managing her chronic illness.

“Right away, the doctor put me in touch with their nurse and dietitian,” she says. “I had a meeting together with them. They explained everything to me and put me on a diet to control it. It was very helpful.” The part-time French teacher, 60, is now in good health.

Smith’s physician belongs to one of Ontario’s 184 family health teams, the one-stop medical shops that the provincial government has trumpeted as the future of primary care.

The great hope for this teamwork approach is that it can keep patients, especially those with complex, chronic illnesses, as hale as possible by offering them the help of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dietitians, social workers and other health professionals – ideally all in the same place.