In our modern world, ‘next gen’ releases of technological devices and apps seem to come along before we have even figured out the previous version. We have a new generation of communication, new systems of tracking information and a new level of data availability.
Our healthcare system, accessed by millions of Canadians each day, has also entered a new generation as it produces trillions of bits information that could be harnessed to understand the comparative effectiveness of different treatments, the causes of potentially avoidable adverse events, unnecessary costs and missed opportunities for prevention, and to improve patient experience. But to this point, we have not really been able to use this information to produce knowledge on how we can do better. In order to do so we need a ‘next gen’ health system. ...continue reading →
Grant Russell is a primary care clinician and health services researcher, as well as Head of School of Primary Health Care, Director of the Southern Academic Primary Care Research Unit (SAPCRU) and Professor of General Practice Research at Monash University in Australia. He spent 6 years working in Ontario, Canada
A CMAJ editorial once, famously, described Canada as being the ‘country of perpetual pilot projects’. “Pilotomania” is nowhere better seen than in Canada’s long running experimentation with models of delivering primary care. Given that experiments need some sort of professional interpretation, in 2007 the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (as it was then) commissioned our team at the University of Ottawa (where I was working at the time) to review Canada’s primary care research capacity. Our report: Mapping the future of primary health care research in Canada, allowed us to unpack what turned out to be a fragile enterprise.
We were particularly struck by the challenges facing the primary care research workforce. Many researchers were isolated, especially those working outside nursing schools or Departments of Family Medicine. While islands of innovation existed, there was little sense of a sustainable system for primary care research and development.