September 2020 BC-PHCRN Update

Greetings from the BC-PHCRN. Undoubtedly it’s been a unique and challenging year for all of us in BC – and around the globe! Here at BC-PHCRN we have continued to move forward with timely and relevant research and knowledge translation initiatives to contribute to our overall mission of improving primary care in BC. In this update we would like to share some highlights from this past spring and summer. Please enjoy this newsletter and share with your colleagues and friends.

In this Update


SPOR-PIHCI Network 2020 Summer Learning Series and New Fall Learning Series

Between June and August 2020, the PIHCI Network Coordinating Office launched the first PIHCI Network Summer Learning Series. This included seven different sessions hosted by various provincial or territorial PIHCI Networks. Expert presentations were followed by a panel discussion (including at least one patient partner) with open Q & A from the audience. Topics ranged from the current state of primary care research to early COVID-19 research results in Canada and the United States.

BC-PHCRN hosted session 4 featuring Dr. Rebecca Etz from The Larry A. Green Center and Virginia Commonwealth University, who shared the Quick COVID-19 Primary Care surveys – highlighting both clinician and patient experiences in the pandemic, a project that has evolved to include multiple international collaborations. Recordings from all of the sessions and power point slides are available here.

After the success of the Summer Learning Series, SPOR-PICHI will soon be launching a Fall Learning Series. Keep an eye on the SPOR-PIHCIN national website for details.


Canadian Quick COVID-19 Primary Care Surveys

In April 2020 the SPOR PIHCI Network, in partnership with the Larry A. Green Center, launched the Canadian Quick COVID-19 Primary Care Survey. This survey has now had 11 cycles and the results are being used to inform policy makers and medical associations in BC and across Canada. In Cycle 11, we asked primary care providers what they needed to prepare for the fall within the context of the ongoing pandemic. They replied: a reliable supply of PPE, continuation of virtual care codes, and guidance and direction on what primary care ought to be doing as Canada heads into its flu season. We shred this information with provincial medical associations and policy makers across BC and Canada.

The current 4-minute survey is open September 18-21. Please click here to fill out the survey. We want to hear from you on what is needed to support your work during COVID-19.


BC-PHCRN Website Updates

This past spring we added some new sections to the BC-PHCRN website to highlight our researcher and organizational partners. Please take a look and read about the exciting work these BC-PHCRN stakeholders are currently working on to improve the health of British Columbians!


BC-PHCRN and ISU Collaboration

An online session held on April 8, 2020 aimed to contribute to the Innovation Support Unit’s (ISU) work on Primary Care Network (PCN) evaluation, specifically to help determine the scope of PCN evaluation, including what should be measured in the short term (6-12 months) and medium to long term (2-5 years) to enable evaluation if PCNs are working effectively. Using an active link, participants completed the online prioritization exercise by looking at a 28 diverse ‘buckets’ or concepts and prioritizing these according to what they thought were most important for PCN evaluation. Examples of concepts included: access to care, provider experience, patient experience, care coordination, and equitable services. Real time graphs were created that showed how certain buckets were prioritized by this group. This session with the BC-PHCRN Advisory Committee and Patient Advisory contributed to the ISU’s overall findings from Learning Cycle 5 and was combined with input other stakeholder sessions and provided to the BC Ministry of Health to inform PCN evaluation framework. The ISU and BC-PHCRN continue to support evaluation planning in the BC Ministry of Health.


Working Together to Build a Learning Health System in Kootenay Boundary

A collaboration led by the Kootenay Boundary Division of Family Practice and Interior Health Authority with the BC-PHCRN and Population Data BC aims to advance Primary Care Network (PCN) analysis and evaluation. The purpose is to build a foundational piece of a learning health system for the Kootenay Boundary Division of Family Practice and PCN. The project is proceeding in three phases:

Phase one: In moving towards a learning health system, primary care providers in Kootenay Boundary are accessing technology developed by the BC arm of the Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN), which is housed with BC-PHCRN. This technology uses the “extract-transform-load” processes with electronic medical record (EMR) data and then presents it to clinicians in a secure web-based form known as the Data Presentation Tool (DPT). The DPT facilitates in-depth visualization of physicians’ own patient panels allowing them to be able to conduct practice level quality improvement initiatives. Examples of DPT capabilities include: creating validated chronic disease registries, examination of practice patterns (i.e. medication prescription), and characterizing complex patients (e.g. multi-morbidity). The DPT can display data at the individual clinician, practice, and Kootenay Boundary levels.

Currently BC-PHCRN is onboarding all primary care clinics situated within Kootenay Boundary PCN. This has involved conducting a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) with Interior Health, regular meetings with Kootenay Boundary Division leadership, and numerous teleconferences with Kootenay Boundary physicians and other clinicians. Participation of clinicians is voluntary. Patients allowing their data to be part of this project is also voluntary. All clinics post project information posters and distribute information letters to patients. BC-PHCRN provides support to office mangers/lead clinicians at each clinic to ensure smooth uptake.

Phase two: In phase two, EMR data (primary care and specialist) in the Kootenay Boundary community will be linked to Health Authority and Ministry data to examine patients’ journeys across the healthcare system. Physicians will be able to answer questions such as, “what was the impact of adding a chronic disease management clinic in my practice on total health system resource utilization?” or “did changes to how we collaborate with specialist and health authority services impact patients’ wait times for specialist appointments?” To enable this process, Kootenay Boundary family physicians will be asked if they would like to link their data to Interior Health data. This will require the signing of appropriate information sharing agreements and extraction of an identifying file for the purposes of linking.

Phase three: In phase three, family physicians will be asked if they wish to allow a copy of their de-identified data to become part of the larger pan-Canadian CPCSSN repository to provide additional comparative data for clinicians across Canada and enable robust research and communicable/non-communicable disease surveillance (e.g. COVID-19; antimicrobial resistance to antibiotics among those diagnosed with a urinary tract infection in the community).


For CPCSSN Sentinels: New Data Presentation Tool (DPT) Instructional Video Clips

The CPCSSN team has been hard at work creating new short, targeted video clips to orient clinicians to the various quality improvement features of the DPT. This rigorous tool allows visualization of patient information and clinician practice patterns. It has integrated algorithms for 13 chronic diseases (e.g. depression, diabetes, osteoarthritis, Parkinson’s) which can assist in creating disease registries and other aspects of panel management and optimization.

The DPT videos range from 2 to 5 minutes and are aimed at maximizing clinicians’ use of the DPT. Shorter videos provide a general overview of components including the DPT Dashboard, and the Search and Reports pages. Longer video provide step-by-step guides to help clinicians utilize more advanced DPT features including Re-identification and Custom Searches.

These videos can found on the CPCSSN websiteand the CPCSSN YouTube channel.


Study Recruiting Primary Care Providers to Better Understand Lyme Disease in Canada

A new study aiming to better understand the perspectives, experiences, beliefs, and knowledge of health practitioners on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of Lyme disease in Canada is seeking primary care providers to participate in 30-45 minute interviews. For further information please contact Madison Robertson or Dr. Rylan Egan.


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 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.

New study is recruiting primary care providers to better understand Lyme disease in Canada

The purpose of this study is to better understand the perspectives, experiences, beliefs, and knowledge of health practitioners on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of Lyme disease in Canada. We are seeking primary care providers to participate in 30-45 minute interviews. 

For further information please contact Madison Robertson at 12mar9@queensu.ca or Dr. Rylan Egan at rulan.egan@queensu.ca

How Do We Improve Care for Cancer Survivors?

Are you a family/friend caregiver for an individual who has completed treatment for cancer? If so, you may be interested in taking part in a Nova Scotia Health Authority study.

They are looking to interview family/friend caregivers of cancer survivors, and would like to talk about your views on what you feel is most important after a family member has received cancer treatment.

Participation in this study would involve one (1) telephone interview (45 minutes) with a researcher from the Nova Scotia Health Authority.

If you are interested and want more information, please contact Sarah Dickieson at 902-473-7290 or sarahm.dickieson@nshealth.ca

How can we use AI to improve primary health care? To address COVID-19? Opportunity to participate in a study

The Upstream Lab at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, ON is conducting a virtual study to understand what patients, providers, and health system leaders think about the use of AI technology in primary health care settings. Participants will identify priority areas for research and development in this area through four progressive rounds of dialogue with other primary care stakeholders.

We are inviting primary care providers currently practicing in any Canadian primary health care setting to participate. Knowledge of AI is not required. There are no restrictions by practice location or health profession; we welcome the participation of both physician and non-physician primary care providers.

By agreeing to participate in this study, you will be asked to:

  1. attend at least one 90-minute virtual group discussion session, called a dialogue. Dialogues will be hosted on a weekday in September and October; multiple times are available. All participants are welcome to participate in up to three sessions.
  2. complete a 30-minute online informational module.
  3. complete a short survey at the end of each session about your experience.

Your participation in this study is completely voluntary and you can withdraw at any time. Your decision to participate, not participate, or withdraw from the study will not affect your employment. Information collected for this study will be used for research purposes only and will be kept confidential unless required by law.

If you are interested in participating in this study or learning more, please contact Tara Upshaw, the coordinator for this study, at (416) 864-6060 (ex. 77468), or send an email to tara.upshaw@utoronto.ca.

Summer Learning Series Session 4 (July 28): Quick COVID-19 Primary Care Surveys: Clinician and Patient Experiences in the Pandemic

The Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations Network (PIHCIN) and the Pan-Canadian Patient Advisory Council are pleased to host the fourth session in a series of summer learning seminars on primary care on July 28, 2020.

On March 19, 2020, The Green Center, in partnership with the Primary Care Collaborative, launched a weekly quick clinician survey to better understand the response and capacity of US primary care practices to COVID-19. In early May 2020, they also began the COVID-19 patient primary care survey seeking to understand the experiences of patients seeking primary care in the pandemic. In collaboration with the Green Center, the Strategy for Patient Oriented Research in Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovation Network (SPOR-PIHCIN) has launched parallel pan-Canadian surveys. 

Dr. Rebecca Etz and panelists will discuss the key findings from the Quick COVID-19 Primary Care Surveys. They will explain how these results are being used to inform policy that could positively influence the lives of primary care clinicians. The clinician survey is now being done in the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

Learn more: http://spor-pihci.com/summer-learning-series-session-4-quick-covid-19-primary-care-surveys-clinician-and-patient-experiences-in-the-pandemic/

The full slate of webinars in this series is listed here, with links for registration: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1To_2X_I3VKwYm0A-NTrSmB-bfLDWv8ao/view

Summer Learning Series Session 3 (July 14): Making the Invisible Visible: The Power of Patient and Community Partnerships

The Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations Network (PIHCIN) and the Pan-Canadian Patient Advisory Council are pleased to host the third session in a series of summer learning seminars on primary care. This session, on July 14, 2020, will be a series of short presentations by members of the Advisory Council on their experiences with being partners in primary care research. The four initial presentations will be followed by an interactive Q & A session with the remaining Advisory Council acting as panel members moderated by the Executive Director of the Network Coordinating Office, Gillian Bartlett. This interactive seminar is an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in partnering with patients and community members in primary care and will cover topics from practical advice to impactful testimonials. Everyone is welcome but registration is mandatory.

Learn more: http://spor-pihci.com/summer-learning-series-session-3-making-the-invisible-visible-the-power-of-patient-and-community-partnerships/

The full slate of webinars in this series is listed here, with links for registration: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1To_2X_I3VKwYm0A-NTrSmB-bfLDWv8ao/view

Power of Population Data Science Webinar July 15 – Achieving quality primary care EMR data: A description of CPCSSN data in Alberta

The proliferation of electronic medical record (EMR) systems in healthcare settings has created an opportunity for these data to be reused for a variety of secondary purposes. Because EMR data are generated for clinical care and administrative functions, they may not be suitable for all intended secondary uses. Assessing EMR data quality is essential to determine whether the data are ‘fit-for-purpose’ and to help identify potential biases and limitations.

This July 15, 2020 webinar will introduce participants to primary care EMR data from Alberta that are collected as part of the Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN). CPCSSN is a pan-Canadian collaboration that extracts de-identified EMR data from primary care settings across the country and makes these data available for research and surveillance. The national CPCSSN database contains information from nearly 2 million patients and over 1,500 primary care providers. We will describe the full data lifecycle of CPCSSN data in Alberta including data capture, extraction, and processing. We will then provide a summary of the data quality for select data elements and discuss the advantages and limitations of these data. This webinar is intended to provide more comprehensive and technical information for prospective CPCSSN data users or for those interested in learning how raw EMR data from clinical practice are transformed into useable datasets for analysis.

Learn more: https://www.popdata.bc.ca/events/etu/PPDS_Webinars_Jul15_2020

Summer Learning Series Session 2 (June 23): Preparing for the Post-COVID World Using Primary Care Data

In the wake of COVID-19, primary care systems across Canada have shut down, adapted, or transformed rapidly. For many patients, particularly those who experience complex healthcare needs, this disruption has created gaps and left them uncertain about future care. Frontline primary care providers and health system decision makers are facing the challenge of how best to shape practice and policy to address this. On June 23, 2020, Dr. Andrew Pinto and panelists will discuss how primary care data may be a valuable tool to appropriately prioritize and respond to patient needs as primary care systems emerge beyond the peak of COVID-19.

Learn more: http://spor-pihci.com/summer-learning-series-session-2-preparing-for-the-post-covid-world-using-primary-care-data/

Summer Learning Series Session 1: The State of Art for Primary Care Research

The SPOR PIHCI network and the Saskatchewan SPOR PIHCIN are pleased to host the first session in a series of summer learning seminars on primary care on June 16, 2020. This session will start with a presentation exploring primary care research, the role PIHCIN plays in promoting primary care and how this might evolve within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The presentation will be followed by an interactive Q & A session with invited panel members. This interactive seminar is an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in primary care to gain a greater understanding of the current Canadian primary care research environment with a glimpse into what the future might look like. Everyone is welcome but registration is mandatory.

Learn more: http://spor-pihci.com/summer-learning-series-session-1-the-state-of-art-for-primary-care-research/