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Practice Points

Quality of Care N.L. releases 10th volume of health care findings


By Melissa Ennis

Health outcomes in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The residents of this province often top lists of negative indicators or outcomes and appear near the bottom of lists ranking positive ones, when ranked among Canadian provinces in the category.

Quality of Care N.L. aims to change this reality.

Two people stand, smiling, next to a book case displaying several colourful copies of a publications called Practice Points.
From left are Dr. Brendan Barrett, clinical lead, and Dr. Robert Wilson, manager, Quality of Care N.L.
Photo: Submitted

Quality of Care N.L. is an applied health and social systems research and evaluation program based in the Faculty of Medicine.

It uses strategies such as data interpretation, knowledge translation, public engagement and solutions implementation.

As part of its work, the program recently published its 10th volume of Practice Points, a bi-annual publication of its research and evaluation work.

Practice Points

The name Practice Points refers to data-driven key points that support evidence-based best practice in health care.

With those points outlined, each article focuses on an area of research or evaluation relevant to health care in Newfoundland and Labrador.

For example, evaluating the usage of antibiotics in the province helps the team collaborate with the Provincial Antimicrobial Stewardship Committee and participate in a global campaign tackling inappropriate use of antibiotics leading to drug-resistant bacteria.

Under the leadership of Dr. Pat Parfrey, Quality of Care N.L.’s former clinical lead, Practice Points grew to a well-regarded report on health-system performance in the province.

“Practice Points has been a mechanism for sharing best practices and prescribing patterns with health-care providers and administrators.” — Dr. Pat Parfrey

It is distributed to key stakeholders in government, health authorities and to health-care providers.

“With a focus on getting the right treatment to the right patient at the right time, Practice Points has been a mechanism for sharing best practices and prescribing patterns with health-care providers and administrators,” said Dr. Parfrey. “Understanding the current patterns in our health care system allows us to work on reducing low-value care, as well as improving the quality and appropriateness of care, access to care, and overall health-system performance.”

Transforming health and health care

Quality of Care N.L.’s research and evaluation work led to the program’s role as secretariat for the provincial task force, Health Accord N.L., in late 2020.

Guided by co-chairs Dr. Parfrey and Sister Elizabeth Davis, the team provided project management and operational support for the task force until the work was completed in June 2022.

“As we continue our research and evaluation work . . . we’re mindful of the importance of engaging with the public about what is important to them.” — Dr. Robert Wilson

Several Quality of Care N.L. team members also served on the strategy committees and working groups that developed the final reports.

With public engagement as a priority in shaping its agenda, Health Accord N.L. focused on awareness of and intervention in the social determinants of health and achieving a balance of community-based and hospital-based services.

The final reports outlined 59 calls to action for a 10-year health transformation in Newfoundland and Labrador and included a blueprint for implementation.

Looking forward

Following the completion of the Health Accord N.L. work and a gradual shift into post-pandemic life, Quality of Care N.L. has been considering the focus areas of its research going forward.

The Quality of Care NL logo in blue text, with a light blue illustration of a stethoscope to the left. The words "A proud partner of Choosing Wisely Canada is below in black with the Choosing Wisely NL logo with light blue circle is below.

Health Accord N.L. emphasized the impact that the social determinants of health and social care have on Newfoundlanders’ and Labradorians’ health.

By collaborating with organizations, experts and community groups whose work is aimed at addressing social determinants of health, Quality of Care N.L. aims to help build a baseline of data that can be used to measure progress in these areas.

The World Health Organization calls climate change the single biggest health threat facing humanity.

Quality of Care N.L. is exploring research and evaluation projects focused on the environmental impact of health care, including the system’s carbon footprint and how threats from climate change affect our health and well-being.

“As we continue our research and evaluation work with these new focus areas in mind, we’re mindful of the importance of engaging with the public about what is important to them in health research,” said Dr. Robert Wilson, manager, Quality of Care N.L. “This year, we launched a new series of webinars called Healthy Discussions, aimed at continuing public conversations during a time of health transformation in the province.”

The webinar series focuses on quality conversations about health, health care and social systems in Newfoundland and Labrador. Topics include food insecurity, mental health, successful aging and more. Recordings are available online.

Learn more

Quality of Care N.L. operates on the principles of a learning health and social system and supports a culture of patient-oriented research. The team also engages with a group of social and health system clinical leads from varying professions and backgrounds who help guide their work and provide real world context to data interpretation.

Based out of the Faculty of Medicine, Quality of Care N.L. is a program of N.L. SUPPORT, one of 10 units across Canada funded under Canada’s Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR).

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