Transforming innovation into action

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The Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement has selected the biggest and most diverse cohort to date of inter-professional senior health care teams for the 11th year of its flagship EXTRA program.

During the 14-month program, participants will acquire skills and knowledge to initiate, implement and sustain major quality improvement initiatives of strategic importance in their organizations and regions, with the goal of enhancing patient outcomes, quality of care and cost-effectiveness.

“On behalf of the federal government, I extend my congratulations to these 42 health leaders who were awarded a unique opportunity to become change agents in health care improvement,” says the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Federal Minister of Health. “Through funding for the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement, we are helping build leadership capacity to improve patient outcomes and realize health care efficiencies through innovation. I look forward to seeing the results from these strong teams.”

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The eleven teams will implement improvement projects across Canada in a range of healthcare areas, including a quality improvement framework to improve patient safety; an integrated ambulatory assessment service for mental health services; and an emergency department dashboard to improve timely patient care.

“The EXTRA program is a catalyst to transform innovation into action,” says Canadian Nurses Association president Barb Mildon. “Health professionals, especially those on the front lines of care delivery, are invaluable sources of insight, knowledge and ideas about better health and better care. CFHI and CNA are committed to harnessing this expertise and giving them a platform through which they can lead real change.”

One example of a strong and innovative team is a unique collaboration between two provinces from each end of the country aiming to solve a common challenge. Fraser Health in British Columbia and Capital Health in Nova Scotia will improve healthy aging in their regions by jointly addressing a disconnect between near frail seniors and community care supports . The interprovincial team will work together to transform the current system to enable seniors to live a higher quality of life within their community longer, reduce unnecessary emergency room visits, avoidable admissions to acute care and premature admission to residential care.

“We have been a long-time supporter of the EXTRA program, having many graduates in our midst contributing to evidence-informed practice daily. This year we are extremely excited to participate in a unique partnership with Fraser Health and a private corporation, Shannex, to explore initiatives related to the near frail elderly,” says Chris Power, President and CEO, Capital Health.

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“This will be the first time that two health care regions have come together within EXTRA to address an issue that we all deal with, sharing and spreading our findings with each other. We are extremely grateful for this opportunity and look forward to contributing to new knowledge for Canadians,” adds Power.

“One problem, two provinces, one collaborative solution. This is what makes the EXTRA program unique in Canada,” says Dr. Jean Rochon, Chair of EXTRA’s Advisory Council which selects the teams on behalf of CFHI and its EXTRA partners – the Canadian College of Health Leaders (CCHL), the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) and a consortium of 12 Quebec partners represented by the Initiative sur le partage des connaissances et le développement des competences (IPCDC).

“The Canadian College of Health Leaders has been privileged to serve as‎ an EXTRA partner since this innovative program was launched 11 years ago. Over that time hundreds of health leaders across Canada have been trained to apply evidence in designing and executing improvement projects that have benefited organizations and health systems. By developing the organizational capacity to apply evidence, the EXTRA program has contributed greatly to improving health leadership in Canada,” says Ray Racette, CHE, President and CEO, Canadian College of Health Leaders.