Call for Applications: Nominated Principal Applicant for Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations Network (PIHCIN)

Funded in 2014, the Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations Network (PIHCIN) is a pan-Canadian “network of networks” that was created to support patient-oriented, evidence-informed transformation and delivery of more cost effective primary and integrated health care to improve patient experience and health, health equity and health system outcomes for individuals with, and at risk of developing, complex health needs.

The PIHCIN is funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research through the Strategy for Patient Oriented Research (SPOR). Currently, the PIHCIN consists of 11 provincial and territorial networks, each with their own governance structures and CIHR-matched funding. Each provincial/territorial network is directed by a tripartite leadership team (researcher, clinician, and policy maker), with patient partner involvement. These networks are autonomous and are responsible for activities and initiatives at the provincial/territorial level. Pan-Canadian activities are coordinated by the Network Leadership Council and supported by the Network Coordinating Office. The governance structure also includes a Pan-Canadian Patient Council.

The PIHCIN is preparing to apply for renewed funding for a five-year term and is looking for a Nominated Principal Applicant (NPA) to lead this process and guide the network once is it funded. The PIHCIN is committed to:

  • Engaging patients as partners in governance and research
  • A collaborative leadership model
  • Fostering the creation of learning health systems to improve the uptake of innovations into practice and policy

In collaboration with the Network Leadership Council, the successful NPA will have the ability, skills, time, and passion to:

  • develop the proposal for PIHCIN 2.0 to CIHR, acting as lead applicant;
  • develop a plan for Phase II of the funding from CIHR (2021-2026);
  • act as the PIHCIN’s representative to CIHR, other SPOR entities, and other relevant organizations;
  • develop a plan for sustainability after Phase II.

The following criteria outlines the required and desirable profiles the Selection Committee considers relevant to the position of NPA.


Required profile:

  • Nominated Principal Investigator/Applicant on a CIHR-funded grant, currently or in the past;
  • Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of the primary health care system in Canada;
  • Demonstrated experience with, and passion for patient-oriented research and learning health systems;
  • Demonstrated capability to lead a diverse group of stakeholders with different areas of expertise and different approaches to getting work done;
  • Leadership experience within a non-hierarchical governance structure, including the ability to work and build consensus;
  • Demonstrated commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion;
  • Experience working with interdisciplinary teams, patient partners, decision makers at all levels, primary health care practitioners, and other relevant stakeholders;
  • Demonstrated ability to motivate, facilitate, delegate, encourage, communicate, build trust, and resolve conflict to accomplish team goals;
  • Experience leading teams in a complex grant environment, similar to the PIHCI Networks;
  • Demonstrated success in knowledge translation and exchange with multiple stakeholder groups;
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills.

Desirable characteristics:

  • Clinical, researcher, or decision maker experience in primary health care;
  • Experience managing multi-institutional or multi-jurisdictional grants;
  • Demonstrated understanding, knowledge, and recognition of the experiential knowledge of Indigenous people and other equity-seeking populations;
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the trajectories of patients and an in-depth understanding of the issues associated with their experiences in the health care system, including in primary health care settings;
  • PIHCI Selection Committee – May 11, 2021
  • Experience leading collaborations with patient partners and in implementing, evaluating, or researching collaborative people-centred care; • Experience with learning health system initiatives;
  • Bilingual (French and English);
  • Previous success in securing matching funds for grants.

Note: The NPA of the PIHCI Network can be a Lead for a provincial/territorial network.

How to apply

To submit your application, please include the following:

  • CCV (Biosketch)
  • One page overview of your most significant contributions related to this position (single space)
  • Cover letter
  • Contact information for 2-3 references

Please send documents electronically to the attention of the Selection Committee no later than June 1, 2021 to PIHCI2021@gmail.com

PIHCIN partners invite women, Indigenous people, visible minorities, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities to apply. During recruitment, our selection tools can be adapted according to the needs of people with disabilities who request them. Please be assured of the confidentiality of this information. PIHCIN partners promote the inclusion and diversity of its staff and encourage people of all orientations and gender identities to apply.

PIHCI Network Learning Series: PREMs & PROMs in Primary Health Care

The Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations Network (PIHCIN) is pleased to host the fifth session in a series of learning seminars on primary care on April 27, 2021.

Sabrina Wong, Professor in the UBC School of Nursing and Centre for Health Services and Policy Research, will speak about the implementation of internationally comparable patient-reported indicators in Canada via the OECD PaRIS (Patient-Reported Indicator Survey) Project.

Andrew Pinto, Associate Professor at the University of Toronto, will discuss screening for poverty and related social determinants, and intervening to improve knowledge of and links to resources.

Mrs Olive Bryanton & Mrs Lynne Mansell will participate in the panel, in their role as patient partners.

Learn more: https://spor-pihci.com/save-the-date-pihci-network-learning-series-5-prems-proms-in-primary-health-care/

Participate in the Canadian Patient Partner Study

The aim of this study is to improve our understanding of the origins and motivations, defining features, experiences and contributions of the patient partner and advisor role in the Canadian health system. The online survey will provide a key source of data to explore these questions.

You can complete the survey English or French. The survey should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.

Recruiting BC Primary Care Clinicians for research project integrating risk-based care for patients with chronic kidney disease in the community

The objective of this study is to introduce a kidney failure risk equation tool and education into primary care clinics to help provide information to clinicians about patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and provide guidance for all aspects of CKD care. 

This is a cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT) being done in collaboration with the Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN). Primary care clinics will be randomized to either receive the intervention (where patients and providers receive individualized information explaining kidney failure risk, as well as risk-based criteria for referral, alongside usual care) vs. usual care alone (no information on personalized risk and no risk-based referral). 

Each clinic will receive $1,000 for their participation in the project. 

For further information about the study please contact Stephanie Garies at sgaries@ucalgary.ca

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