Video: What is the PIHCI Network and why it is important for the health of Canadians

Here is a short (1 minute) video that describes the Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovation (PIHCI) Network. Dr. Gillian Bartlett-Esquilant, Executive Director of the National Coordinating Office of PIHCI Network discusses how this ‘network of networks’ plays a key role in strengthening primary health care in Canada.

Workshop Recap and Resources: Moving towards a learning health care system in primary care in BC

BC-PHCRN hosted a post-conference workshop at the 2020 UBC Centre for Health Services and Policy Research annual health policy conference, March 5-6, in Vancouver. The workshop provided a forum for learning and discussion about the infrastructure, tools, and initiatives currently underway in BC to support a primary care learning health system, and discussed the progress BC has made towards developing such a system. Speakers and participants shared reflections on these developments in their context. The workshop was sponsored by the BC General Practice Services Committee.

The workshop objectives were for participants to be able to:

  • Identify structures and supports involved in a learning health care system including:
    1. Building the infrastructure for secure and ethical use of primary care data,
    2. Developing tools and measures (i.e. patient and primary care surveys),
    3. Promoting learning and quality improvement initiatives for clinicians,
    4. Creating an iterative learning system.
  • Provide their reflections on these structures in the development of a learning health care system in primary care.

For further details about the workshop program and for access to selected speakers’ presentations please visit the CHSPR conference website.

Opportunity for Patients and Caregivers to Participate in a Primary Health Care Teams Policy Project

This study will be carried out in four provinces in Canada including British Columbia (BC), Alberta (AB), Ontario (ON), and Quebec (QC). The goal of the research is to study provincial and regional policy documents that support integration in health services through teams,where two or more providers work together in the community to care for the health and wellbeing of patients living with two or more chronic health conditions. These teams are called primary health care teams. We will also study if and how patients and caregivers are involved in building and applying policies related to these teams. The results will provide us with important data on primary health care teams to improve integrated health services.

We would like to invite you to take part in an interview to obtain the views of patients and caregivers. We would like to understand how you are involved or not in policy building and applying policies for primary health care teams, if you wish to be involved and how you wish to be involved. We are looking for 10 interview participants with varied locations of where they live, age, chronic conditions, and ethnicity. You can participate, if you:

  • Are a patient living in BC, AB, ON or QC
  • Are 19 years and over
  • Have two or more chronic health conditions
  • See two or more health care providers in the community that work together in a team
  • Are a caregiver (significant other, family member, friend) that lives in BC, AB, ON, or QC and provides care for a patient as described above living in these provinces

Note: You must be fluent in English or French; that is, you must be able to understand and communicate (speak and/or write) in English or French. If you do not understand or speak English or French, you can have a caregiver translate for you at the interview.

The interview will take about 45-60 minutes to complete. A copy of the consent form is attached with more information about the interview.

If you are interested in participating or receiving more information on the study, please contact:

Ashmita Rai
Research Assistant, School of Nursing, University of British Columbia, Okanagan
Telephone: 250-807-9948

Workshop March 6: Moving towards a learning health care system in primary care in British Columbia

BC-PHCRN is hosting a post-conference workshop at the UBC Centre for Health Services and Policy Research (CHSPR) annual health policy conference, which is focused this year on the balance of public and private financing of health care. The workshop will be held at the Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront in Vancouver on Friday, March 6, 2020, from 1:30 to 4 pm. Cost is $75 ($50 for students).

The workshop will be a forum to discuss BC’s progress towards a primary care learning health system. It will involve an update on structures being developed to support learning in primary care such as incorporating patient-reported experiences and outcomes of care, information sharing capabilities, and findings from the latest learning cycle meant to inform primary care network (PCN) evaluation. Participants will share reflections on these structures in their context.

This workshop will be of interest to a variety of stakeholders, including those engaged in PCN operations, primary care clinicians, and researchers with an interest in learning health care systems and team-based primary health care.


At the end of this session, participants will:

  1. Identify structures and supports involved in a learning health care system;
  2. Provide their reflections on these structures in the development of a learning health care system in primary care.


Registration for this workshop is separate from the main conference registration. Please visit

Questions? Please contact Allison Ezzat at

BC-PHCRN Patient Advisory recruiting new members for 2020

Who we are
A group of 10 diverse patient partners from across the province who work together with researchers, decision makers, and clinicians. Our goal is to improve the delivery of primary health care to British Columbians though collaboration and implementation of evidence-based innovations.

What we do
The Patient Advisory is a key stakeholder group in our Network made of 10 diverse patient partners who assist with the operations, development and leadership of the BC-PHCRN. Patients provide key perspectives that inform our Network direction and decisions. For example, the Patient Advisory was instrumental in the PRioritiEs For Research (PREFeR) project, which isolated patient-identified priorities for future primary care research in BC, and compared the importance rankings of these priorities between patients and primary care providers. Currently, the Patient Advisory will be assisting the network with passing on the results of BC-PHCRN funded research projects as well as providing input and perspective on new projects. This may include editing project results summaries, sending results to your networks/communities, participating in conferences, etc. There may also be some engagement with outside research projects as opportunities arise. Further details are here.

What we are looking for

  • Individuals interested in sharing their expertise and experiences with primary health care in British Columbia (as caregiver or patient)
  • English second language welcome (our communications will be in English)
  • New Canadians welcome
  • Urban, rural or remote location
  • Comfortable attending meetings via computer or phone call

The commitment
The time commitment fluctuates throughout the year as projects/conferences begin and wrap up. On average, the commitment will be 1-2 hours/month. We meet virtually by computer or phone call. We ask that you commit to joining for a 1-year term.

The compensation
All out of pocket expenses will be covered, such as mileage, parking, bus fares, conference registrations, etc. Honorariums are considered based on a case by case basis. Once the patient partner shows interest, we would like to have a conversation on individual preference and honorariums.

Who to contact
Dr. Allison Ezzat, manager of the BC-PHCRN, is the key contact for the Patient Advisory. We schedule monthly meetings well in advance and these are guided by an agenda and summarized with minutes. Dr. Ezzat is accessible and open to regular communication with all members of the Patient Advisory.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please email Allison at with your brief responses to the following questions:

  • Can you tell us a bit about your patient experience with primary care?
  • What appeals to you about this opportunity?
  • Do you have any experience sitting on advisory committees? If yes, can you tell us about it?
  • What do you think is important for primary care research?

TUTOR-PHC program accepting applicants

The Transdisciplinary Understandings and Training on Research – Primary Health Care (TUTOR-PHC) online training program is currently accepting applicants for its one-year certificate program. TUTOR-PHC is open to graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, mid-career clinicians, and decision-makers in primary health care.

TUTOR-PHC is a one-year, pan-Canadian, interdisciplinary research capacity building program that has been training primary and integrated health care researchers and decision-makers from family medicine, nursing, psychology, epidemiology, social work, occupational therapy, education, policy and many other disciplines since 2003.

TUTOR-PHC trainees gain enhanced evidence-informed decision making and leadership skills to help them become the primary health care leaders of tomorrow. Participants of TUTOR-PHC will receive:

  • Primary health care interdisciplinary research training
  • University Credit and CME credits
  • Valuable feedback on your own primary health care research
  • Mentorship from experienced interdisciplinary primary health care researchers and decision-makers
  • Networking experiences with research mentors & 200+ pan-Canadian/international alumni
  • Interdisciplinary team experience

The deadline to apply for TUTOR-PHC is December 2, 2019. More details

Upcoming seminar on practice patterns among early-career primary care physicians

Ruth Lavergne, Assistant Professor in the SFU Faculty of Health Sciences, is giving a seminar on Nov. 12 at noon, hosted by the UBC Centre for Health Services and Policy Research.

Practice patterns among early-career primary care physicians: Is avocado toast ruining primary care in Canada?
Ruth Lavergne, Simon Fraser University
Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019
12-1 pm
Room 219 (within 201), 2206 East Mall
UBC School of Population and Public Health

There are more primary care physicians in Canada than ever before, but Canadians report persistent problems accessing primary care. There is speculation that primary care physicians today are making different choices than previous cohorts. They may now be working less and/or choosing to practice in focused clinical areas rather than comprehensive family medicine, but there is little evidence to support or refute this. This seminar will describe a mixed-methods project now underway that is comparing practice patterns of early-career and established primary care physicians and exploring values and preferences shaping career intentions and choices.

Ruth Lavergne is a quantitative researcher who uses observational methods and linked administrative databases to study health care. She leads research in the areas of primary care delivery and physician workforce planning. She is an Assistant Professor at Simon Fraser University and completed her PhD at CHSPR in 2015.

A light lunch is included in this seminar. Please contact Joyce ( to RSVP for lunch by Friday Nov. 8. You may also join remotely via GoToMeeting: Please let Joyce know if you would like to join this way.

BC AHSN Learning Health Systems Webinar Oct 16

The BC Academic Health Sciences Network is presenting a Learning Health Systems Webinar
October 16 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Presented by: Professor Jean-François Ethier

Learning Health Systems require common, connecting infrastructure in order to operate at scale. This talk will describe the development of technology in Quebec that puts the patient at the centre of integrated research, knowledge transfer and care delivery. Fundamental features of this federated approach include semantic interoperability between health and research infrastructures, supports for complex health data queries, and formal models (ontologies) to link care, research and connected personal devices.

Dr. Jean-François Ethier is a clinician-scientist and associate professor in the departments of Medicine as well as Computer Science of the Université de Sherbrooke and is an attending physician at the Sherbrooke University Health Center. He is also the co-director of the Groupe de recherche interdisciplinaire en informatique de la santé ( Professor Ethier has extensive collaborations in Europe and is an associate researcher at the INSERM UMRS 1138 in Paris. He received his medical training from McGill University where he graduated MD CM in 2006 and completed his residency in internal medicine in 2011. He subsequently completed a Master STS (public health) and a PhD in health informatics in Paris at Paris IV (Université Pierre-Marie Curie). His research duties include the direction of the Data Access Group of the Quebec SPOR Support Unit and of the development of health information technologies in the SPOR Canadian Data Platform funded by CIHR.

Details at:

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.

Dalhousie University recruiting Canada Research Chair in primary care

Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Medicine invites applications for a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Primary Care. The appointment will be career stream at the rank of Assistant or Associate Professor.

Primary Care, in this context, refers to first contact and continuing care for patients by health system health care providers. It is nested within the broader notion of Primary Health Care, a community and population approach in policy and health service design, to meet the needs of populations. Primary Care research is a priority for Dalhousie University and its Faculty of Medicine and has been named a Health Priorities Cluster. Dalhousie University, along with Nova Scotia’s government, health authorities, post-secondary institutions, industry, and residents, is a member of the Nova Scotia Integrated Health Research and Innovation Strategy (NS IHRIS). The successful applicant for this Tier 2 CRC will be expected to develop their research program in partnership and aligned with Nova Scotia Health Authority priorities and through work with other researchers in the inter-faculty Collaborative Health Solutions research efforts.

The successful candidate will be located in the Department of Family Medicine, which operates a tri-provincial, multi-site program with a robust embedded research program engaging in interprofessional collaboration. Family Medicine is a key research partner in the Dalhousie Collaborative Research in Primary Health Care, a strategic interfaculty research initiative created to be health system responsive in its work. The Department hosts the CIHR SPOR primary and integrated healthcare innovations network known as Building Research for Integrated Primary Healthcare in Nova Scotia, and is home to a practice-based research network, the Maritime Family Practice Research Network (MaRNet), a node in the Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network. These research networks have strong participatory membership and co-leadership in research from Nova Scotia Health Authority health system partners. Patient and provider partners have also become strong members of our research collaborations. Over the last five years these partners have come together to form a dynamic, interactive health-system linked team focused on creating evidence to strengthen primary care. This integrated research partnership supports a provincial, national and international research agenda as evidenced by its leading annual KT event.

The CRC program was established by the Canadian Federal Government with the purpose of attracting outstanding researchers to the Canadian university system. Tier 2 Chairs are intended for exceptional emerging scholars (i.e. the candidate must have been an active researcher in their field for fewer than 10 years at the time of nomination). Applicants who are more than 10 years from their highest degree (and where career breaks exist, including maternity leave, extended sick leave, etc.) may have their eligibility for a CRC Tier 2 assessed through the program’s Tier 2 justification process. Please contact the research grants office and see the CRC website ( for more information on eligibility. Dalhousie recognizes that career paths can be diverse and that career interruptions may occur. Applicants are encouraged to include, in their cover letter, an explanation of the impact that any career interruptions may have had on their record of research achievement.

Candidates for this CRC Tier 2 position must be excellent emerging researchers who have demonstrated creativity in interdisciplinary research with a focus on Primary Care; have achieved a level of success which suggests the potential to achieve international recognition in their particular field of research over the next five years; and, have the potential to attract and teach excellent trainees, students and future researchers. Candidates must have a PhD and/or MD; those with an MD must also have a thesis-based Master’s degree or doctorate. This position will be considered tenure stream for candidates with a PhD and a continuing appointment for candidates with an MD. All candidates must have an excellent publication and teaching record and possess the necessary qualifications to be appointed at the Assistant or Associate Professor rank.

The application period will close Sept 27, 2019. Applications should include a curriculum vitae, a two-page description of your proposed research program, a brief statement of your teaching philosophy, and a completed Self-Identification Questionnaire, available at In addition, please arrange to have 3 letters of reference (2 of which must be academic) sent under separate cover. All materials should be sent as a single PDF file to Dr. Fred Burge, Chair of Search & Selection Committee c/o Eileen Brown, Research Secretary, Department of Family Medicine, Dalhousie University, 1465 Brenton Street, Suite 402, Halifax, NS Canada B3J 3T4. E-mail:

Dalhousie University is committed to fostering a collegial culture grounded in diversity and inclusiveness. In keeping with the principles of employment equity and the CRC program’s equity targets, this position is restricted to candidates who self-identify in one or more of the following groups: racially visible persons, women, Aboriginal or Indigenous persons, persons with a disability, or persons of minority sexual orientations or gender identities. (See for definitions of these groups.) All such qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

Dalhousie University recognizes its obligation to accommodate candidates in order to ensure full, fair, and equitable participation in the hiring process. Our complete Accommodation Policy can be viewed online at: To request accommodation at any stage in the hiring process, or for further information on this position, please contact Eileen Brown at