SPOR’s vision is to “Demonstrably improve health outcomes and enhance patients’ health care experience through integration of evidence at all levels in the health care system.”

Strategy for Patient-oriented Research

OSSU strives to achieve this vision and create impact for Ontarians through effecting change in:

  • Health outcomes and experiences
  • Health policies
  • Health care
  • Health research

Health outcome and experience impacts

Improving hip-fracture care

A core component of SPOR is for patient-oriented research to help patients, families and caregivers. OSSU’s work is already having impact, particularly on health outcomes and healthcare experiences.

  • Quality Based Practices in Stroke Care: An early OSSU Demonstration Project with the Ontario Stroke Network has reduced the rehabilitation length of stay for people with stroke and made recommendations for best practices and targets in stroke care.
  • HIP ATTACK: This OSSU IMPACT Award is studying the effects of accelerating hip surgery for patients after a fall based on evidence from pilot projects that shows surgery within 6 hours can reduce major complications (including death, heart attack and stroke).
  • Navigating the health system for Francophones in Ontario: Researchers are testing the use of health system navigators for Francophone patients across Ontario. This IMPACT project is helping Francophone patients access health services and may extend to other populations whose first language is not English.

Health policy impacts

To effect long-term change on the health system and health practice, OSSU’s activities must impact health policies at Ministry, regional and organizational levels.

  • CLEANMeds: This OSSU IMPACT Award addressing the cost of prescription medicines with a list of free common medicines for patients is influencing health policy. Researchers are involved in work around provincial and national pharmacare programs.
  • YouthCan IMPACT: Youth mental health services are co-located in ‘drop-ins’ across the Greater Toronto Area in this OSSU IMPACT Award. Early successes convinced the Government of Ontario to include the program in a pilot roll-out of new youth mental health services, giving more young people easy access to vital services, and building policies and practices on partnering with youth.
  • Placing patient-oriented research evidence at the front of policy-makers’ minds: Getting the right evidence to inform public policy is a challenging issue for policy-makers, particularly in complex systems like health care. In Ontario, Dr. John Lavis and the McMaster Health Forum have provided training to senior decision makers in the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care on the value, accessibility and utility of patient-oriented research to support decision making.
  • Improving health quality for patients: The Ontario Healthcare Implementation Laboratory (OHIL), working with Health Quality Ontario, is providing health care organizations with patient-oriented evidence on how to improve quality and deliver health care in a way that patients desire, with OSSU IMPACT Award funding.
  • Funding reforms for bundled care: Work at the Health System Performance Research Network (HSPRN), an OSSU research centre, has resulted in hospital bundled care plan evaluations including patient-reported experience measures as part of the funding evaluation package.

Healthcare impacts

Improving transportation of trauma patients

Aside from influencing the policies of healthcare, patient-oriented research also needs to affect the way health care is actually delivered. OSSU’s work through demonstration projects and its 15 research centres is changing health care delivery.

  • Using spinal immobilization boards in emergencies: An OSSU IMPACT Award is changing the way paramedics make evidence-based decisions on the appropriate use of ‘spinal boards’ for transporting trauma patients.
  • Patient Reported Experience Measures (PREMs): These measures have moved from the realm of researching experiences in healthcare to evaluating healthcare delivery in long-term care through work at HSPRN, an OSSU research centre.
  • Training health professionals to engage with patient-oriented research: Work by the OSSU research centre INSPIRE-Primary Health Care (INSPIRE-PHC) gives primary care physicians knowledge and tools to perform and incorporate patient-oriented research into care delivery through the TUTOR-PHC program.

Health research impacts

health research impacts

A key outcome for SPOR and SUPPORT Units is to shift the paradigm of health research to one that prioritizes patient-oriented research and effective and efficient outcomes from health research. In Ontario, OSSU is creating this paradigm shift for the health research system.

  • The democratization of health data in Ontario: Researchers have a new way to access, use and analyze complex and linked data sets to make patient-oriented research faster, more efficient and more aligned with real-world outcomes. This data is available to any research team, including patient partners, health professionals and decision makers, through Data Analytics Service (DAS), developed by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) as part of its role with OSSU.
  • Efficiency of clinical trials in Ontario: OSSU’s research centre at Clinical Trials Ontario (CTO) provides faster, more effective ways to get clinical trials up and running in the province, with patient-engagement at the core and streamlined research ethics.
  • Networking health research excellence: Through its network of 15 research centres, OSSU has developed patient-oriented research excellence in Ontario. Benefits include new training opportunities in patient-oriented research, such as the OSSU Masterclass in Patient-Oriented Research, new projects and methodologies for patient-oriented research (such as pragmatic trials methods) and supporting patient-oriented research activities (such as the IMPACT Awards).