Research partnerships

Developing new knowledge through measurement and research is a key part of HQC’s strategy to accelerate improvement in Saskatchewan’s health care system.

Here’s how we’re initiating collaborations to build capacity and relationships for this work in Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan Centre for Patient-Oriented Research (SCPOR)

HQC has partnered with health regions and post-secondary educational institutions in Saskatchewan to create the Saskatchewan Centre for Patient-Oriented Research (SCPOR). Supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), SCPOR brings together a number of organizations to build provincial and national capacity for research that focuses on patient perspectives to inform policy decisions.

HQC leads the Patient Engagement and Empowerment Platform and co-leads the Data Services Platform of SCPOR with eHealth Saskatchewan.

The SCPOR Patient Engagement Platform is housed at HQC. Platform staff collaborate with SCPOR and research teams to increase opportunities for patients and families to participate as active partners in health research. This work includes providing training, supporting recruitment and onboarding of patient and family advisors, and coaching on effective engagement strategies.

The Data Services Platform aims to: 1) improve access to high-quality health related data and information for research and decision-making, 2) develop approaches and tools for capturing data as part of health care work processes, and 3) establish networks of data analysts, decision support personnel, patient/family advisors, clinicians, researchers, and learners. Through this partnership, Platform staff are working with researchers and health system partners to develop new ways to use data to generate evidence for decision-making. For example, by using computer simulation modelling to test various possible interventions, the team determined the key to reducing waits in Emergency is to shorten patients’ length of stay in hospital.

Are you a patient, family member or caregiver, researcher, policy maker, or graduate student interested in getting involved in patient-oriented research? Visit SCPOR’s web site to learn more.

Drug Utilization, Safety, and Effectiveness

Prescription drugs are a vital and necessary part of the health care system. However, they can also pose risks to patients if the safety and effectiveness of medications are not fully understood. It’s important to continue to study these medications after they are approved and used in the real world, outside of controlled research settings. As part of our mandate to evaluate and monitor prescription drug utilization, safety, and effectiveness, HQC participates in provincial and national partnerships: the Saskatchewan Drug Utilization and Outcomes Research Team (SDUORT), and the Canadian Network for Observational Drug Effect Studies (CNODES).

Saskatchewan Drug Utilization and Outcomes Research Team (SDUORT)

The Saskatchewan Drug Utilization and Outcomes Research Team, known as SDUORT, is a collaboration between HQC and the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition at the University of Saskatchewan. It was set up to evaluate and monitor prescription drug policy and drug-prescribing practices in Saskatchewan. SDUORT’s work is funded by the Ministry of Health’s Drug Plan and Extended Benefits Branch. 

This team’s research is having a positive impact on our health care system. A study they published in 2014 found that a drug called ezetimibe, which should be designated as a secondary medication for lowering cholesterol, was commonly prescribed as a first-line therapy in Saskatchewan – and that its overall use and cost were increasing every year. In response to these findings, the government changed its reimbursement policy for the drug. As of July 1, 2013, it is now listed under the Drug Plan’s Exception Drug Status Program, meaning it is only covered for patients meeting specific criteria.

In the 2016-17 fiscal year, the team began research on the following topics:

  • Describing the use of medications for multiple sclerosis;
  • Describing the use of biological response modifiers (biologics);
  • Evaluating utilization of overactive bladder medications accessed under the Saskatchewan Drug Plan; and,
  • Self-monitoring of blood glucose and hypoglycemia-related health care utilization in Saskatchewan.

Drug Safety and Effectiveness Network/Canadian Network for Observational Drug Effect Studies (DSEN-CNODES)

The Drug Safety and Effectiveness Network/Canadian Network for Observational Drug Effect Studies(DSEN-CNODES) provides rapid evidence-based responses to questions about the safety and effectiveness of medications prescribed in Canada, and is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) . HQC is the Saskatchewan site of this national network that includes seven provincial/regional centres. CNODES is developing state-of-the-art analytical methods and networks of highly skilled researchers, data analysts and clinicians able to rapidly evaluate the risks and benefits of drugs on the health of Canadians. In 2016, a CNODES study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found incretin-based drugs (a type of medication used to treat type 2 diabetes) do not increase the risk of being hospitalized for heart failure relative to commonly used antidiabetic drugs. 

In the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the team began research on the following topics:

  • Trends in rates of prescription opioid-related deaths across Canada;
  • Use of systemic oral fluoroquinolones in Canada;
  • Utilization and comparative effectiveness of rheumatoid arthritis medications;
  • Direct oral anticoagulants for the treatment of venous thromboembolic events; and,
  • Describing utilization and adverse outcomes of ondansetron and fluconazole therapy during pregnancy.

Other Research Partnerships

HQC collaborates with researchers in Saskatchewan and beyond to conduct and promote research that directly impacts the quality of health care delivered to Saskatchewan residents. Our researchers and research analysts have been using large health databases for health system research, monitoring and evaluation for more than a decade.

Working with academic and clinician researchers allows us to explore a wider range of questions that matter to researchers, policy and decision makers, and Saskatchewan residents.

 We work on projects that: 

  • Are consistent with our legislated mandate in the Health Quality Council Act
  • Involve data analysis methods, research designs, or data sets that we would like to learn or become more skilled at using;
  • Have the potential to directly influence the delivery of health services or the development of health care policy in Saskatchewan; and,
  • Are consistent with the health care system’s strategic improvement priorities 

Interested in partnering with HQC on a project that fits these criteria? Submit your idea here. 

Here are some examples of projects that we started work on in the past six months:

  • The epidemiology and pharmacoepidemiology of multiple sclerosis in Saskatchewan
  • Medication adherence in multiple sclerosis: A model for other chronic diseases?
  • Evaluating drug-related outcomes in inflammatory bowel disease
  • Assessing the prevalence and predictors of and subsequent health care utilization associated with loss of response to anti-TNF therapy in patients with inflammatory bowel disease
  • Cost of pain within long-term care residents in Saskatchewan
 

Latest news: Research partnerships

HQC partners with U of S researcher on studies of multiple sclerosis
Monday, Jun 12, 2017

HQC partners with U of S researcher on studies of multiple sclerosis

As part of its mandate, the Health Quality Council collaborates with researchers in Saskatchewan and beyond to conduct and promote research that can directly impact the quality of health care...

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Partners launch Saskatchewan Centre for Patient-Oriented Research
Tuesday, Apr 18, 2017

Partners launch Saskatchewan Centre for Patient-Oriented Research

The Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan, along with provincial partners, announced on April 18 a combined investment of $63 million in funding and in-kind contributions for the launch of the...

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Some Saskatchewan women become pregnant while on acne medication known to cause birth defects, despite Canadian prevention guidelines
Monday, Apr 25, 2016

Some Saskatchewan women become pregnant while on acne medication known to cause birth defects, despite Canadian prevention guidelines

Despite a prevention program aimed at prescribers and patients, some women are becoming pregnant while taking an acne medication known to harm the fetus, says a new study involving the...

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For more information about our research partnerships, please contact: