Getting back to basics in health care

When health care is in the news, often it is around major hospitals and research breakthroughs. But research has shown that the best way  for improving health outcomes in the population is by strengthening primary care—front line family doctors, nurses, dieticians and other health professionals. Its these professions that get the first call when people have a health concern.

The McMaster University Department of Family Medicine is launching the David Braley Primary Care Research Collaborative, a research collective focused on advancing and strengthening primary care in Canada and across the globe through proactive research programs relevant to the issues of today.

Some of the research work is already underway

  • CP@Clinic is a project that brings paramedics into subsidized housing on a regular basis to assess health risks and provide tailored education to low-income seniors. It has been shown to decrease 911 calls to the building by as much as 20%. The program is running in 35% of paramedic services across Ontario and is spreading across Canada. Principal investigator: Gina Agarwal, family physician, professor of family medicine.

•             TAPER is studying how to reduce the number of unnecessary medications a patient takes using a collaborative approach involving the patient, their family doctor, a pharmacist and an online tool to “pause and monitor” medications. Initial trials have shown promising results on patient quality of life, sleep, pain, treatment burden and cognitive ability. Principal investigator: Dee Mangin, family physician, professor and associate chair of research.

A TAPER consulatation

•             The prison health research program describes the health status and health care use of people who experience incarceration, to influence practice and policy to improve health outcomes. The goal is to prevent incarceration, improve health care in prisons, and support health and community reintegration for people at the time of prison release. Principal investigator: Fiona Kouyoumdjian, family physician, assistant professor of family medicine.

•             Indigenous Teaching Through Art (ITTA) is a program for faculty, clinicians and staff to increase their knowledge about Indigenous people in Canada through visual art and culture at the Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford. The program is being evaluated by questionnaires, focus groups and interviews.

Co-created and co-facilitated by: Amy Montour, family physician, assistant professor of family medicine, Oneida Nation, Six Nations of the Grand River; Lorrie Gallant, artist and storyteller, Cayuga Nation, Six Nations of the Grand River; Joyce Zazulak, family physician, professor of family medicine

•             Health TAPESTRY brings trained volunteers into the homes of older adults to improve connection to interprofessional health care teams and community resources. The results have shown that participants in the program visited their primary care team more and were admitted to the hospital less. The program has just completed a scale up to six sites across Ontario.

Tapestry volunteers visiting a senior in his home

Principal Investigators: Doug Oliver (implementation lead), family physician, associate professor of family medicine, David Price (executive academic lead), family physician, professor and chair of family medicine, Dee Mangin (evaluation lead), family physician, professor and associate chair of research

“Research in primary care is critically important to improving health,” said David Price, professor and chair of the Department of Family Medicine. “When people have access to strong primary care, they can address a health concern before it leads to a trip to the hospital. So, not only does primary care keep people healthy, it saves health care dollars.”

Dr. David Price, Chair McMaster Department of Family Medicine

The David Braley Primary Care Research Collaborative is launching with a $4 million investment, seeded by a $1 million donation from Hamilton businessman David Braley. This collaborative is the first of its kind in Canada, with the largest endowment supporting a research collaborative in primary care.

“David Braley has long been a supporter of primary care, and I would like to thank him for his generous support in establishing this collaborative”, said McMaster University President David Farrar.

For more information on the David Braley Primary Care Research Collaborative click here:

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