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CFHI – Building patient-centred collaboratives & seeking innovations

April 4, 2014

On April 9, 2014, the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (@CFHI_FCASS) will be co-hosting #hcsmca. Stephen Samis (@CFHI_SSamis), Vice-President, Programs; Linda Piazza (@CFHI_LPiazza), Senior Director, Education and Training; and Jennifer Verma (@CFHI_JVerma), Senior Director, Collaboration for Innovation and Improvement wrote this post to set the stage.

By Stephen Samis, Linda Piazza and Jennifer Verma

Head shot of Stephen Samis, Vice-President, Programs

Stephen Samis

headshot of Linda Piazza, Senior Director, Education and Training

Linda Piazza

headshot of Jennifer Verma, Senior Director, Collaboration for Innovation and Improvement

Jennifer Verma

In Canada and across the developed world our healthcare needs are changing. Patients are living with more chronic disease and frailty, which require very different services than currently exist. Add to this the serious fiscal crunch facing provincial-territorial health systems, where it’s no longer palatable to keep spending top dollar to achieve middle-of-the-pack results and it can all start to look rather dismal until you focus in on the points of light.

Across our country, there are innovative solutions to tackle our challenges — ways to deliver care that are centred on the patient, improve care coordination and, ultimately, deliver return on investment (where ‘return’ can be defined both in terms of health and finances).

The Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (CFHI) is working in partnership with healthcare leaders to improve the patient-centeredness, coordination and efficiency of healthcare services in Canada. We’re in the midst of launching three pan-Canadian collaboratives to support teams in implementing patient-centred innovations in their own facilities or regions. We’re uniquely positioned to do so, as an organization that has created and supported numerous cross-jurisdictional collaborations addressing a variety of healthcare issues. Our belief is that the spread of innovative ways of working in healthcare that improve patient care and value-for-money is key to future performance. All areas of the country grapple with similar problems but there are pockets of success that can be spread and scaled-up, across facilities, regions and borders.


CFHI logo


Today, we’ll focus on two of our collaboratives. The first collaborative addresses the inappropriate use of antipsychotics in long-term care, where one in three residents is administered these medications without a diagnosis of psychosis. A CFHI-supported team at the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (@wpghealthregion) developed and implemented an approach that helped providers better use data to identify patients who will benefit from non-drug therapies to treat dementia.

The results were impressive: by training staff at one site to work together to provide a person-centered, non-pharmacological approach to managing behaviours associated with dementia, 27 percent of a cohort of residents was taken off antipsychotic medication without any increase in behavioural symptoms or a rise in the use of physical restraints. Over the course of six months, this innovation yielded cost savings that translate to a potential saving of $400,000 in six months across the region.

Read more about their work and the collaborative.

The second collaborative aims to improve care for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) while reducing their reliance on hospital-based care. The INSPIRED model of care, first implemented at Halifax’s Capital Health (@Engage4Health), has reduced emergency room visits, hospital admissions and length of stay by more than 60 percent in just six months. INSPIRED provides coordinated hospital-to-home support to patients and families living with COPD, including self-management education, action plans, psychosocial and spiritual care support and advance care plans.

Read more about the INSPIRED approach.

These collaboratives help narrow the gap between the care people need and the care they were receiving in our conventional healthcare systems. CFHI is helping to make best practice the common practice.

For the April 9 #hcsmca chat, we propose the following topics about the importance of spreading innovation:

  • T1. Share examples of innovations, including social innovations, that you’ve seen improve healthcare workflow. We’re focusing on innovations that improve the quality and efficiency of services, for instance referral pathways, strategies to implement clinical practice guidelines, surgical checklists, and any number of other ways of improving the delivery of healthcare services.
  • T2. What social innovations would you like to see spread to more healthcare organizations?
  • T3. What social mechanisms can CFHI use to maximize the success of our pan-Canadian collaborative?

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