June 2021 BC-PHCRN Update

Greetings from BC-PHCRN. It has been yet another unique and challenging year in BC. We have remained committed to moving forward with research and knowledge translation activities with the goal of improving primary care in BC.

BC-PHCRN is one of 11 networks in a pan-Canadian primary care network, the Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations (PIHCI) Network. Our BC network is funded by CIHR with matching funds from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR), the BC Ministry of Health, and the General Practice Services Committee. Our current funding cycle finishes in September 2021 and the renewal process for the next iteration of the Strategy for Patient Oriented Research (SPOR) PIHCI Networks has begun. BC-PHCRN would like to invite our partners and stakeholders to participate in the renewal process in BC. Please contact us at info@spor-bcphcrn.ca for more information.

In This Update

Partnership with the Innovation Support Unit on COVIDtoolkit.ca

The Innovation Support Unit (ISU) at the UBC Department of Family Medicine supports innovation and improvement in primary care by collaborating with primary care programs and projects and connecting academic knowledge to applied projects. In the spring of 2020 the ISU engaged with the BC-PHCRN Advisory Committee and Patient Advisory in a prioritization exercise to inform evaluation planning for Primary Care Networks, as part of a learning cycle with the BC Ministry of Health. More recently, the ISU launched the COVID Immunization Preparedness Primary Care Clinic Toolkit (COVIDtoolkit.ca), with national and province-specific content. The toolkit includes a section on identifying eligible patients that was informed by collaboration with the Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN), the BC arm of which is part of BC-PHCRN. The toolkit provides resources to support primary care clinics to use electronic medical record data to stratify patients according to their risk of complications from COVID-19. The resource includes instructions for using CPCSSN data (automated), as well as step by step instructions for practices to do this manually. These resources support clinicians to prioritize vaccinations for their patients.

SPOR PIHCI Network Learning Series 2020-2021

The PIHCI Network Coordinating Office presented an online seminar series throughout the past year. Each session features a different provincial or territorial PIHCI network as host. The format includes an expert presentation, followed by a panel discussion (including at least one patient partner), and an open Q&A. One of the speakers at session 5, which focused on PREMs (patient-reported experience measures) and PROMs (patient-reported outcome measures) in primary health care (April 27, 2021), was Sabrina Wong, BC-PHCRN Science Lead, talking about implementation of internationally comparable patient-reported indicators in Canada. All sessions are recorded, and the recordings and the details of upcoming sessions are available on the national PIHCI network website.

Collaboration to Deliver Point of Care SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Testing

BC-PHCRN collaborated with UBC nursing students, UBC student residences, UBC student health services, and Vancouver Coastal Health public health teams to offer point of care SARS-CoV-2 rapid antigen test using BD Veritor technology in the Orchard Commons residence on UBC campus during the winter 2021 term. The rapid antigen testing model using BD Veritor was shared with rural Divisions of Family Practice and multiple post secondary institutions across BC and Canada. A summer clinic is currently underway – the first in Canada to use the Roche SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Test Kit in a university setting. The summer clinic includes a clinical trial component testing the feasibility of offering self-administered rapid tests. If you are asymptomatic and live or work at UBC, you are eligible for testing.

A Learning Health System for Physician Quality Improvement

BC-PHCRN is working with the Kootenay Boundary Division of Family Practice in BC’s Interior region to create indicators to help physicians with quality improvement, targeting accessibility, relational continuity, screening and prevention, and patient experience. Ask us to learn more!

For CPCSSN Sentinels: New Diabetes Dashboard in the Data Presentation Tool

Primary care providers that are part of the Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN) have access to the Data Presentation Tool to visualize patient information and clinician practice patterns for quality improvement. We have added a Diabetes Dashboard, which has dedicated reports for managing diabetes patients. We have created new short, targeted video clips to orient clinicians to the various quality improvement features of the Data Presentation Tool. Learn more on the CPCSSN website and YouTube channel.

BC-PHCRN has also continued to be involved in development of CPCSSN as the backbone of an information infrastructure for primary care to assist with health system performance assessment. For example, CPCSSN data managers sought to understand how COVID-19 test results are stored in the various different electronic medical record systems in preparation for extracting those data in spring 2021.

OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) Patient-Reported Indicator Survey

The Canadian OECD Patient-Reported Indicator Survey (PaRIS) working group is comprised of SPOR PIHCIN provincial/territorial leads, Canada’s representative to the OECD PaRIS advisory group, and a Health Canada representative. Objectives include the ability to systematically collect data on what matters most to patients and report internationally comparable health care outcomes and experiences of adults with chronic conditions who are treated in primary/ambulatory care through indicators reported by patients themselves and that can be repeatedly measured over time. BC-PHCRN patients are providing input into governance, research, and research priorities. To learn more, listen to the PIHCI Network Learning Series presentation on PREMs and PROMS in primary care.

Canadian Quick COVID-19 Primary Care and Physiotherapy Surveys

In April 2020, BC-PHCRN led the SPOR PICHI Network in launching a primary care survey to understand the impact of COVID-19 on primary care practices. Initially the survey ran on a weekly basis (open for four days each time), to be able to capture the current and evolving state of primary care in BC during the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 12 survey cycles were conducted and results and an accompanying infographic are available on the PIHCIN website.

In May 2020, BC-PHCRN launched a similar pan-Canadian survey to examine the impact of COVID-19 on physiotherapists, including their contributions to the containment and management of COVID-19, as well as their stresses and challenges during this time. Results are available on the BC-PHCRN website.

Help Needed to Refine a Tool to Measure Patient-Oriented Research

The Saskatchewan Centre for Patient-Oriented Research (SCPOR) is looking for researchers, patient partners, and decision-makers to assist in the refinement of a tool to measure patient-oriented research via participation in an online survey. The SCPOR Team has created an objective and replicable measure for determining how well proposed research meets the Canadian Institutes of Health Research definition of patient-oriented research. This measure is known as the Patient-Oriented Research Level of Engagement Tool, or the “PORLET.” The PORLET was initially designed to help grant review committees evaluate patient-oriented research grant proposals and has been used for this purpose on multiple occasions. It is also used to help explain patient-oriented research to those new to the process or to assist those who require supportive guidelines during the grant-writing phase of research proposals. Your participation is completely voluntary and is estimated to take between 30-40 minutes. Any information you provide will be anonymous. Patient Partners who complete the survey are eligible for an honorarium in acknowledgment of their time. Access the survey here.


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 in order to improve BC’s health care delivery system. The 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.

The BC arm of the Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN) is housed within BC-PHCRN, where we specifically reach out and work with primary care clinicians (e.g., family physicians, nurse practitioners, etc.) to provide analytic support of electronic medical record data for purposes of practice quality improvement, disease surveillance and research. BC CPCSSN is supported by the General Practice Service Committee.

Follow us on Twitter @BC_PHCRN.

To become a member of BC-PHCRN or to join CPCSSN, email us at info@spor-bcphcrn.ca or click here.

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.

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