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WCH family physician and scientist receives nearly $2 million for quality improvement research

June 30, 2015

Dr. Noah IversCongratulations to Dr. Noah Ivers for receiving one of seven competitive Ontario SPOR SUPPORT Unit IMPACT Awards. Valued at more than $1.8 million, the grant will allow Dr. Ivers to lead a project to optimize quality improvement initiatives in Ontario’s healthcare system.

“Dr. Ivers is an extremely passionate and dedicated researcher and a well-deserving recipient of this award,” says Dr. Ruth Heisey, chief of family and community medicine at Women’s College Hospital. “His background in epidemiology and knowledge translation, combined with his clinical expertise as a family physician, make him well-positioned to make meaningful quality-based improvements in patient-centred care.”

Dr. Ivers will lead the project as principal investigator, with Dr. Jeremy Grimshaw (Ottawa Hospital Research Institute; University of Ottawa) and Dr. Adalsteinn Brown (Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto) as co-principal investigators. The project brings together a diverse team of scientists, healthcare leaders, and patient partners as collaborators – a group that represents more than 15 organizations. They have also partnered with three Ontario SPOR SUPPORT Unit Research Centres – the Institute of Clinical and Evaluative Sciences, the Methods Centre, and Women’s Xchange – which will provide support and advice for the project.

The focus of the project will be to work in partnership with Health Quality Ontario (HQO) – the provincial advisor on quality in health care – to study and improve the organization’s quality improvement programs. More specifically, Dr. Ivers and his team will test and evaluate two initiatives already implemented by HQO:

  1. Audit and feedback – a program that provides doctors with information about how their practices compare with those of other doctors and how they can improve.
  2. The “quality-based procedures” funding model, which recognizes that many patient services (e.g., total knee replacement) require more than one healthcare provider’s expertise and reimburses each provider according to the type and quality of care they have provided.

The purpose of the team’s work will be to optimize the design and delivery of these and other province-wide quality improvement programs so that they lead to better patient outcomes.

“The two main streams of work highlight how different strategies can be complementary,” says Dr. Ivers. “The audit and feedback stream builds on our extensive work in the field regarding how data can be used to drive decision making, while the quality-based procedures stream focuses on understanding how to best use policy-levers to drive quality.”

By working closely with relevant health system decision makers, Dr. Ivers and his team are using a novel knowledge translation approach to create broad, sustainable health system improvements. The project will not only advance health system performance and patient care and outcomes, but also contribute to worldwide evidence on how to best implement large-scale quality improvement initiatives.

“Dr. Ivers’s partnership with HQO will ensure that the healthcare system works better for Ontarians and also help other systems around the world learn from Ontario’s example,” says Dr. Paula Rochon, vice-president of research at Women’s College Hospital.

The Ontario SPOR SUPPORT Unit (OSSU) is a collaboration across 12 leading Ontario health research centres. Jointly funded by the Government of Ontario and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the OSSU engages researchers, patients, clinicians, policy makers, industry representatives and other health system professionals to implement Canada’s Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research within Ontario.

The IMPACT Awards are designed to bring together diverse stakeholders – patients, clinicians, researchers, policy makers, knowledge users, industry and other health sector participants – to develop and implement promising research opportunities that improve patient health outcomes and advance our health system. These strategic awards, directly aligned with Ontario’s Action Plan for Health Care, will support translational patient-oriented research projects that are Innovative, Measurable, Patient-oriented, Appropriate, Collaborative and Transformative.

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