Sep 012007

CIHR Partnership Award

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From the Canadian Institutes of Health Information Website

Rates of hip and knee replacements have been increasing dramatically in Canada – and so have the waits for these operations. Alberta Bone and Joint Health Institute took action on the issue, heading a partnership that reduced wait times while improving service quality and efficiency. Working with the Alberta Orthopaedic Society (AOS), three Regional Health Authorities (Calgary, Capital and David Thompson) and Alberta Health and Wellness, the group designed a continuum of care that centralized assessment, diagnosis and treatment in convenient one-stop clinics where patients have access to a multidisciplinary team of health care providers.

The one-year randomized controlled study of the new continuum in the three health regions was one of the most extensive research efforts in health services delivery ever in North America. The results were striking – wait times to see a specialist declined to an average of 21 working days from 145 days and the wait for surgery dropped to an average of 37 working days from 290 days. Hospital stays fell to 4.7 days from six. The pilot health regions were so impressed with this “shared care” approach that they adopted the new continuum based on the early results. It is now being expanded to all health regions in Alberta.

The partners are committed to sharing their knowledge and continue to synthesize best-evidence reviews related to hip and knee care, which are disseminated to health care providers and administrators across Canada.

The partnership is an excellent example of cross-disciplinary partnership, bringing together as it did researchers, practitioners, service leaders, policy-makers and administrators, who together challenged the status quo, unleashed innovative new ideas and charted a fresh course. The benefits of their work have been seen at the patient, provider and organization levels.

The CIHR Partnership Award recognizes partnerships with one or more external partners from the private, voluntary or public sectors which exemplify excellence by bringing health research communities together to create innovative approaches to research questions; to develop research agendas that are responsive to the health needs, concerns and priorities of Canadians; and to accelerate the translation of knowledge for the benefit of Canadians.

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