Apr 262017

BJH SCN’s Scientific Office Impressed with Pilot Student Competition for Evidence-based Solutions in Health Care

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The BJH SCN is planning to engage university students across Alberta in proposing solutions to address real-world clinical issues in treating osteoarthritis (OA) patients after a successful pilot to test the idea at the University of Calgary. The pilot was a collaboration between the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine (Section of Orthopaedics) and Alberta Bone and Joint Health Institute and was sponsored by the BJH SCN’s Scientific Office.

“Matching problems that arise in clinical practice with potential solutions has become a working motto for the BJH SCN’s Scientific Office,” said Dr. Ania Kania-Richmond, the BJH SCN’s Assistant Scientific Director. “Our review panel selected a winning proposal and a runner-up but we were impressed with all four proposals received. We have already begun making plans to have another competition, likely in the fall, and to open it up to students across Alberta.”

Four teams of first year medical students at the Cumming School of Medicine submitted proposals aimed at improving care for obese patients who have OA. Obesity is a known risk factor for OA and obese hip and knee replacement patients have elevated risk of infection and subsequent surgery to repair problems with the joint implant.

The research proposals were reviewed by a panel of Alberta-based experts.

The winning team of Nicole Thompson, Christopher Hewison and Kirsten Barton devised a screening tool clinicians can use to increase their patients’ willingness to make lifestyle changes that will reduce their risk of complications.

The students say their screening tool, which includes a questionnaire and motivational interviewing techniques, would help patients understand and accept lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise that could mean better outcomes from surgery. It could also help motivate patients to tackle other lifestyle-related problems such as tobacco use and diabetes, which also increase the risk of complications from joint replacement. The students were awarded a purse of $450 for their proposal.

The runner-up team of Paige Knight and Rezo Ojaghi was awarded $175 for a proposal to develop a weight loss program for obese patients. Their solution incorporates diet, exercise, education and behavioural strategies managed by a multidisciplinary team and uses motivational interviewing to assess patient readiness for change.

The winners will present their proposal to the BJH SCN’s Core Committee in May. It will then be taken to the BJH SCN Hip and Knee Working Group for review and consideration of its potential for clinical application.  Both the winning and runner-up teams have been invited to present their solutions as poster presentations at the BJH SCN workshop on OA and obesity on June 13 and 14.

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