Achieving value for clinicians and patients is key to Infoway’s mandate. The active involvement of a broad range of clinicians in our activities, and in the projects that we invest in, is essential to our success.
A couple of people have asked questions recently about what we’re doing to engage clinicians and patients so I thought that I’d share some examples of our recent activities through this blog.
Our commitment starts at a governance level. Infoway’s Board of Directors recently approved an updated clinical and patient engagement strategy, and practicing clinicians have served on the Board for several years. The latest to join is Dr. Anne Doig, who was elected to the Infoway Board in mid-2010.
Linking with clinical leaders and patient representatives is a key aspect of this strategy. For example, we are in regular contact with representatives of national and provincial/territorial associations of health professionals, educators, and patients. We also have standing physician, nursing, and pharmacy reference groups which bring together clinical leaders from across the country. Members provide us with valued advice based on their diverse expertise and experience. For example, many participated in our recent “Blueprint 2015” visioning process, helping to shape our future directions, and provided advice on priorities for our new innovation program.
We’ve also funded clinical peer networks across the country. These networks have already involved more than 200 clinician leaders, and their activities have reached about 3,500 of their colleagues across the country. In the last few months, I’ve talked to a number of those involved in peer networks and I’m always impressed by their knowledge and willingness to share their experiences with their colleagues. The online forums also offer a way for participants in the networks to share resources and learnings.
Reflecting the importance that we attach to this activity, we’ve recently committed to a second round of peer network funding as the initial investments come to an end. Watch for announcements about these networks shortly, as well as new investments focused on the needs of clinicians in training, with the aim of working with partners to ensure that they are ready to practice in a technology-enabled environment when they graduate.
It’s also important that we ensure a strong clinical and patient voice within our various investment programs. For example, we’ve recruited clinical leaders to participate in our work on standards, telepathology, consent directives, and e-prescribing. We also get great advice from clinicians and patients who are leading efforts to improve care across the country, such as through recent forums on synoptic reporting for cancer surgery, medication reconciliation and safety, and more.
Our programs have also been informed by broad surveys of clinicians and focus groups with direct care providers. For instance, we conducted a national survey of pharmacists, in collaboration with the Canadian Pharmacists’ Association, which was a key input for the benefits evaluation study that we commissioned and published on Generation 2 Drug Information Systems. A similar study on telehealth is well underway.
We also conducted national focus groups and 1-1 interviews with nurses in clinical practice, education and executive positions across the country to gain insights into the attitudes and behaviours of nurses regarding electronic health records and the value proposition.
Understanding the range of perspectives held by individual Canadians is also critically important. Last year, we sought their advice through focus groups, surveys, and other means to shape the Knowing is better public education campaign that was launched in the fall and to set priorities for our consumer health investments.
So … lots is happening – and we’ll provide updates on these and other activities as milestones are reached – but there is also much more to do. Coming soon, for instance, will be a set of innovation challenges that we hope will broadly engage clinicians and Canadians in helping to find ways to accelerate gains in health care quality, access, and productivity through the use of information and communications technologies. More soon!