April 2023 BC-PHCRN Update

The BC Primary Health Care Research Network (BC-PHCRN) is excited to share updates on ongoing primary care research, the Canadian Primary Care Research Network, and upcoming events where you can learn from and contribute to research, policy, and practice change initiatives!

In This Update

Research Activity Updates

SPIDER – A research and quality improvement collaboration supporting practices in improving care for complex older patients with polypharmacy

Polypharmacy in the elderly contributes to an elevated risk of adverse drug reactions, falls, drug-disease interactions, frailty, and many other adverse outcomes. Choosing Wisely Canada and the Canadian Deprescribing Network have identified several drug classes as potentially inappropriate medications (PIPs) and targets for decreased prescribing. Currently, a pan-Canadian pragmatic cluster randomized controlled trial called SPIDER (Structured Process Informed by Data Evidence and Research) is proposed in BC, aiming to assess the impact of SPIDER compared to usual care in reducing PIPs. In the SPIDER intervention, a quality improvement (QI) coach will assist primary care providers to identify areas for improvement, set goals to improve care for the elderly, and implement changes to make practices more effective and efficient.

We are sending preliminary information about the upcoming study to Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN) participating practitioners to advise of study goals and that recruitment will commence in the coming months. The study will run for one year. Patient participation will require 20-60 minutes of their time. Provider participation will require up to 25 hours of their time.

If you are interested in participating in this study, please contact the research lead, Dr. Rubee Dev (rubee.dev@ubc.ca) or the research coordinator, Lanting Cheng (lanting.cheng@ubc.ca).

OECD Patient Reported Indicators Survey (PaRIS) – set to roll out in April

Little information is available about how users of health services experience care and to what extent it adds value to their lives. The PaRIS survey fills this critical information gap in primary care, by measuring the experiences that people have with health services and the outcomes they report. The survey was field tested across 6 provinces – thank you to those in BC who participated! The results of that field study have informed the full rollout, which will occur across Canada beginning in April 2023. Watch for details about participation! More information about this international survey can be found on the study website. For more information, email info@spor-bcphcrn.ca.

Development of a Frailty Screening Tool – The Electronic Frailty Index

We are developing a new screening tool that can automatically calculate a frailty score for your patients using existing electronic medical record (EMR) data.

Study 1 of this three-part project is complete. An expert panel of 23 participants (5 family physicians, 5 nurse practitioners, 5 primary care nurses, 4 allied health team members, and 4 older adults) reviewed 36 factors associated with frailty. Panelists also suggested additional factors they believe should be included in a frailty screening tool. We are currently working on mapping the frailty factors to EMR terminologies and will develop an algorithm to identify these factors in EMR data. Our anticipated outcome from this work is a validated frailty screening tool that may result in earlier detection of frailty and improved patient and system level outcomes. 

The anticipated frailty screening tool will only be accessible to CPCSSN clinicians. The tool will ultimately be built in to the CPCSSN Data Presentation Tool where clinicians will be able to see an automatically calculated frailty score for their patients. The tool is meant to flag patients who are at a greater risk of frailty in order to develop an effective treatment plan.

For more information, email info@spor-bcphcrn.ca.

Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN) Update

CPCSSN engages with clinicians, researchers, and policymakers to better understand primary care efficiencies and gaps to improve health care for Canadians. CPCSSN brings together fourteen primary care research networks under a common governance structure for the purposes of research, disease surveillance and quality improvement.

Primary care providers that are part of CPCSSN have access to the Data Presentation Tool (DPT) to visualize patient information and clinician practice patterns for quality improvement. Use theDPT to see an overview of your data, view prepared reports, and perform in-depth, patient-level searches. Providers can identify patients with particular needs and conditions to proactively follow-up with them for enhanced care.

We have seven new case definitions for the following chronic conditions, bringing our total to 23:

Adult asthmaCardiovascular diseaseCerebrovascular disease
CirrhosisCoronary Artery DiseaseDiabetic retinopathy
 Diabetic neuropathy 

For more information about CPCSSN or to join, visit https://spor-bcphcrn.ca/bc-cpcssn/ or email info@spor-bcphcrn.ca.

The Canadian Primary Care Research Network (CPCRN) Update

In 2022, the Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations Networks (PIHCIN) adopted a new name: the Canadian Primary Care Research Network (CPCRN). The CPCRN is an established interdisciplinary and intersectoral network of people who collaborate on generating solution-focused innovations in primary health care delivery. The CPCRN is composed of approximately 21 provincial practice-based research and learning networks (PBRLNs). BC-PHCRN is one of those provincial nodes.

We encourage you to visit the CPCRN website and join their newsletter mailing list to learn more about their vision and mission, and stay up to date with activities happening across the network!

CPCRN hosts a Learning Series, and the next event is coming up on May 2, from 9-10 am PT.

CPCRN Learning Series: Meaningful Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Efforts Across the Canadian Primary Care Research Network (CPCRN)

In this interactive virtual session, our CPCRN equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) specialists will facilitate conversations about our varying understandings of EDI, ways to support self-reflection, and doing meaningful EDI work in research. This session recognizes that teams and individuals start this work at different stages and have varying degrees of comfort with EDI. Panelists include Charlene Ronquillo, RN, PhD, UBC Okanagan; Aisha Lofters, MD, PhD, Women’s College Hospital, St Michael’s Hospital, and University of Toronto; Jackie Hanson, patient-partner, CPCRN Patient Council; and Ali Ben Charif, PhD, Scientific Consultant, CubecXpert. Register here

BC-PHCRN Activities at the CHSPR 2023 Annual Health Policy Conference

BC-PHCRN and CPCRN members presented research posters and hosted two associated events at the UBC Centre for Health Services and Policy Research annual health policy conference, held March 8-10, 2023 at the Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront in Vancouver. The posters were focused on the three research projects described above. In addition, BC-PHCRN hosted a workshop for clinicians and researchers interested in polypharmacy and potentially joining the SPIDER study. CPCRN hosted a roundtable discussion to co-develop a primary care policy hub for policymakers in primary care interested in patient-oriented research.


The BC Primary Health Care Research Network (BC-PHCRN) is a practice-based research and learning network, part of the Canadian Primary Care Research Network (CPCRN), 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 ofpractice quality improvement, disease surveillance and research.

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. For more information about BC-PHCRN, please visit our website at https://spor-bcphcrn.ca/ or email info@spor-bcphcrn.ca.

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