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Dr. Noah Ivers awarded Health System Research Fund Capacity Award

May  4, 2015

Dr. Noah Ivers After a patient has recovered from a heart attack, their doctor will typically send them home with prescribed medications and a referral to a cardiac rehab program to improve their quality of life and reduce their risk of having another heart attack or dying.

Unfortunately, research shows that many heart attack patients do not stick with their doctor’s recommendations. A year after their heart attack, only half are still using their heart medications and about a third have participated in a rehab program.

“We see this issue not just in cardiac patients but across the map and it’s a concern because it leads to adverse outcomes in patients and higher costs of care,” says Dr. Noah Ivers, family physician and scientist at Women’s College Hospital.

As a clinician-scientist focused on quality improvement, Dr. Ivers points out that there are strategies that can be used to effectively remind patients to continue their treatments.

“At the very least, we want to encourage patients to have discussions with their healthcare providers about any concerns they have about their recommended treatments so that barriers can be identified and addressed,” says Ivers. “Among heart attack patients, these kinds of strategies could cost-effectively reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in Ontario.”

To explore this further, Dr. Ivers and his colleague Dr. Jeremy Grimshaw, senior scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, recently applied for and were awarded a competitive Health System Research Fund Capacity Award from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Worth over $1 million, the grant will allow Dr. Ivers to test whether repeated educational adherence reminders delivered through the mail and/or by phone to heart attack patients and their health professionals will help improve adherence to medication and rehab. The study will be run as a randomized controlled trial over three years and patients in cardiac centres across Ontario will be able to participate.

“The ultimate goal is to see which approach is most effective and sustainable so that we can learn what strategy to implement across the entire province,” says Dr. Ivers.

This project has the potential not only to improve the health of cardiac patients, but also to provide general insights into how interventions can be optimized to improve treatment adherence among all patients.

See the award announcement.

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