September 2019 BC-PHCRN Update

Greetings from the BC-PHCRN. It’s been a busy year and we have lots of news to share. Our goal is to make these updates more frequent as we continue to grow and evolve our network. Highlights from this past year include: the ongoing engagement of our Patient Advisory; exciting growth and projects involving the BC Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (BC-CPCSSN); hosting a sold out Multi-Stakeholder Learning Session at the Centre for Health Services and Policy Research (CHSPR) conference in March, and welcoming new BC-PHCRN leadership and staff members.

Since 2015, the BC-PHCRN has supported 29 SPOR PIHCI grant proposals; 13 were funded by CIHR (44.8% success rate). Three of these are led by BC investigators. The majority of these projects are in progress, some in their final stages, and one is complete. Our next update will focus on highlighting these research projects and other collaborations across the province.

BC-PHCRN will be hosting a booth at the upcoming General Practice Services Committee (GPSC) Summit in October, as well as presenting a workshop at the Family Medicine Forum entitled: What should you know about the PIHCI Network? Opportunities for family physicians (Oct 30 1:30-2:30pm). Please stop by and say hello if you are attending these events!

Please share this update with colleagues who you think may be interested in our activities. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions.

In this Update

BC-PHCRN Patient Advisory and PREFeR (PRioritiEs For Research) Project

The Patient Advisory, consisting of 10 members from across the province, has assisted the BC-PHCRN in evaluating research projects and grant submissions, participated on supported projects as patient partners, and been active in knowledge dissemination and transfer. Members have been heavily involved in PrioRitiEs For Research (PREFeR), a project that aimed to identify the differences and similarities between patient and clinician ratings of patient-identified priorities in primary care research. Project results indicate considerable overlap between patient and clinician priorities, including the top-rated topics of being unable to find a regular family doctor/other primary healthcare provider, support for living with chronic conditions, mental health resources and information sharing, including electronic medical records. This project demonstrated the feasibility of including patients in priority setting exercises for primary care. In addition, a half-day Dialogue event was hosted in September 2018 to facilitate conversation between patients and primary care providers to discuss the results of PREFeR, specifically exploring the similarities and differences between patient and primary care provider perspectives in the province wide survey results.

A paper describing project findings was published in BMJ Open in Spring 2019. The findings from the PREFeR project were also integrated into the BC-PHCRN Strategic Plan, and have been disseminated to the Ministry of Health and some of the regional health authorities in BC.

BC Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (BC-CPCSSN)

BC-CPCSSN is the primary care data platform used by BC-PHCRN. CPCSSN is the first and only pan-Canadian network of networks that creates a repository of primary care electronic medical record (EMR) data for purposes of quality improvement, communicable and non-communicable disease surveillance, and research. Currently, in BC it extracts data from four EMR systems and reaches over 90 providers and 135,000 patients. BC-CPCSSN has implemented two data reporting tools, InQuiRE (Interactive Quality Improvement Reporting Environment), and the Data Presentation Tool (DPT), to assist clinicians with managing their patient panels, undertaking quality improvement initiatives and implementing primary care networks (PCNs).

Through BC-CPCSSN, the BC-PHCRN has been involved in:

    • Implementation of PCN information infrastructure
      A pilot project is underway with the Kootenay-Boundary Division of Family Practice and Interior Health to integrate the CPCSSN quality improvement tools into practices for the purpose of patient panel management – e.g. creating individual and clinic level chronic disease registries. These partnerships provide a model that could be scaled to the rest of the province using CPCSSN’s ability to facilitate implementation and evaluation of primary care networks.
    • Data driven quality improvement for panel management
      CPCSSN provides primary care clinicians with a rigorous quality improvement tool at the clinic level. CPCSSN technology provides reliable data back for the purposes of quality improvement through the Data Presentation Tool. This allows visualization of patient information and to make comparisons across the clinic, health network, and province.

      Clinicians can learn details about their practice patterns (e.g. how often are SSRIs prescribed for depression management in younger patients). CPCSSN has developed algorithms for 11 chronic diseases (e.g. depression, diabetes, osteoarthritis, Parkinson’s) which can assist in panel management and optimization. For example, using the DPT a clinician could easily examine which patients aged 65 years and older have not received an influenza immunization this year.

    • Clinician-led research projects
      We have a number of clinician-led research projects underway involving CPCSSN technology that facilitate collaboration between specialist and primary care clinicians. One involves the identification and management of heart failure in patients with COPD and the other is examining chronic kidney disease and diabetes along with other multi-morbidities. Stay tuned for more details about these and other research initiatives in our future updates.

For more details about CPCSSN for clinician, download our Information Sheet.

If you are interested in learning more about opportunities with BC-CPCSSN, please contact Allison at or 604.822.0574.

BC-PHRCN Hosts Multi-Stakeholder Learning Session

In March 2019, the BC-PHCRN hosted a workshop as part of the 31st annual Centre for Health Services and Policy Research (CHSPR) Conference. Workshop attendees learned about the provincial context concerning Patient Medical Homes (PMHs) and Primary Care Networks (PCNs), as well as the data tools available to assist with the implementation of and participation in these networks. They also learned how to use these tools for quality improvement within clinical practice as well as research more broadly. This workshop had 107 attendees from various stakeholder groups, including patients, policymakers, clinicians, and researchers. We were turning people away at the door, and are cognizant that this is an area of opportunity for us moving forward.

BC-PHCRN Leadership and Staff Changes

The BC-PHCRN is led by a tripartite leadership team bringing together science/research, clinical, and policy expertise. We would like to thank Dr. Anne Junker for her contributions as clinical co-lead and wish her well in her retirement. We welcome Dr. Shazhan Amed, a pediatric endocrinologist at BC Children’s Hospital, who has recently stepped into this clinical co-lead role. Dr. Amed brings to this network her experience in conducting clinically relevant research and building collaborations between specialist and primary care physicians to deliver optimal health services for patients. Also welcome to Dr. Allison Ezzat as the new Network Manager. Allison is a physiotherapist who recently completed her PhD in the School of Population and Public Health at UBC. She is thrilled to be in this new role helping to build collaborative relationships between researchers, decision-makers, clinicians, and patients to improve primary care.

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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