June 2017 BC-PHCRN Update

Happy summer! Highlights from the first half of 2017 for the BC-PHCRN included hosting two very successful pre-conference workshops on strategies for patient engagement in research and tools for primary health care reform at the Taking the Pulse of Primary Health Care Reform conference in March; and engaging with clinicians, researchers, patients, and policymakers at the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations (PIHCI) Research Day at the Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research conference in May. A selection of recommended tools for reform is now available in the News section of our web site, and reports from the patient engagement workshop and the PIHCI Research Day will soon be posted. Remember to check back regularly, or follow us on Twitter for reminders!

We are currently gearing up for a busy summer working with researchers and their clinician, patient, and policymaker partners to craft proposals for the SPOR Programmatic Grant competition, expected to be launched by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) this month. This funding opportunity provides up to $250,000 per year for four years to support cross-jurisdictional research projects based on the research priorities identified by the provincial PIHCI networks (view ours here). Note that a letter of intent is due the PIHCI networks on August 11, and find more details here.

This summer will also find us building our new province-wide patient advisory panel, which promises to be a powerful resource to guide the BC-PHCRN and the research proposals that we support.

Please share this Update with interested colleagues, and get in touch with us with any questions – or Programmatic Grant ideas!

In this Update


Progress on Funded Quick Strike, Knowledge Synthesis, and Comparative Program and Policy Analysis SPOR Grants in BC

The CIHR SPOR initiative awarded funding in 2015 and 2016 through three types of grant competition, Quick Strike, Knowledge Synthesis, and Comparative Program and Policy Analysis. Two Quick Strike, two Knowledge Synthesis, and three Comparative Program and Policy Analysis grants with BC investigators were funded. Updates on these projects.


Helping Primary Care Researchers to Actively Involve Patients

Individual primary health care researchers may not have the time, knowledge, or resources to engage with a diverse group of patients. Ruth Lavergne, a BC-PHCRN member and Assistant Professor at Simon Fraser University, and co-principal investigators Victoria Schuckel and Sabrina Wong, were awarded a CIHR SPOR Patient-Oriented Research Collaboration Grant in April to facilitate patient engagement in the research process. The goals of the project are to:

  1. Identify patient priorities for primary care research in BC;
  2. Build new projects and collaborations based on these priorities; and
  3. Help primary care researchers involve patients more actively in research.

Three activities were planned to achieve these goals:

  1. Build patient participation into the Taking the Pulse of Primary Health Care Reform conference (held in March 2017) by including and supporting patients to participate and provide input on policy changes in primary care;
  2. Build a panel of patients willing to provide ongoing input on primary care research in BC; and
  3. Building on discussion at the conference, undertake a priority setting exercise across the province to understand patient priorities for primary care research.

This grant allowed the BC-PHCRN to host a pre-conference workshop on strategies for patient engagement in research at the Taking the Pulse of Primary Health Care Reform conference and to support patient partners to attend and contribute throughout the conference. The workshop brought patients together with policymakers from government and health administration, as well as doctors, nurses, and researchers.

Attention has now turned to building a Patient Advisory Panel to advise the BC-PHCRN. Recruitment has just been completed, and the panel will guide the process of gathering patient priorities for primary health care research across BC. A first task for the panel members will be to help to review and rank letters of intent requesting BC-PHCRN support for the upcoming CIHR SPOR Programmatic Grant competition.

“I am looking forward towards meaningful engagement in patient-centred research and believe patient voices and experiences are essential to sustainable healthcare that meets the needs of British Columbians.” – Chad, Patient Advisory Panel member, Victoria


Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN)

CPCSSN is a pan-Canadian electronic medical record (EMR) surveillance system. The BC regional network, BC-CPCSSN, is embedded within BC-PHCRN. CPCSSN aims to improve the quality of care for Canadians suffering from chronic, mental health, and neurological conditions by making it possible to securely collect and report on information from Canadians’ electronic health records.

Since January 2017, BC-CPCSSN has added four sites with over 40 primary care providers. Thirteen sites and 64 primary care providers (family physicians and nurse practitioners) are now part of the provincial network. The list of chronic conditions used in CPCSSN I also being expanded, with ADHD, concussion, and chronic kidney disease recently added.

CPCSSN is also a novel source of research data. Rita McCracken, MD, a UBC PhD candidate, is using CPCSSN data to conduct a study on hypertension treatment targets and time to diagnosis of dementia. The study aims to see if people over the age of 70 being treated for hypertension and diabetes in Canada, and taking blood pressure lowering medication, have a faster cognitive decline if they achieve a systolic blood pressure below 130 mmHg. McCracken expects to have final results in the next six months.

“As a family doctor myself, I am very proud that the important generalist care provided in the community can now be translated to research findings that may help improve and change care across the country.” – Rita McCracken, UBC PhD candidate, Vancouver


Leadership Changes: Introducing Shana Ooms and Fiona Duncan

BC-PHCRN’s tripartite (science, policy, clinical) leadership team wishes our former clinical co-lead Garey Mazowita the best in his retirement, and is excited to welcome two new members. Shana Ooms, policy co-lead, is Executive Director of Primary Care in the Primary and Community Care Policy division of the BC Ministry of Health. Shana brings to the network more than a decade of experience supporting the advancement of primary health care through a variety of research, policy development, and leadership positions. Dr. Fiona Duncan, clinical co-lead, is a family physician and a Clinical Assistant Professor at the UBC Department of Family Practice. Fiona brings to the network her experience as a representative on the General Practices Services Committee, Chair on the Vancouver Division of Family Practice Board of Directors, and Chair on the Division’s Continuity of Care Committee. Welcome Shana and Fiona!


About the BC-PHCRN

The BC Primary Health Care Research Network (BC-PHCRN) is one of 11 Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations (PIHCI) networks in Canadian jurisdictions designed to support evidence-informed transformation of the delivery of primary and integrated health care.

The goal of the BC-PHCRN is to encourage, facilitate, and support collaborations between government, health authorities, health professionals, patients and researchers. The BC-PHCRN aims to seek out, develop, and facilitate adoption of health care innovations to improve BC’s health care delivery system.

The BC-PHCRN is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.

BC-PHCRN is an open network and welcomes individuals from all sectors involved in primary health care – researchers, patients, health care providers and policy makers. To join, visit our website.

Follow us on Twitter @BC_PHCRN.

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