Senate renews Centre for Studies in Primary Care
The Faculty of Health Sciences’ 10-year-old Centre for Studies in Primary Care has been renewed by the University Senate for an additional five years starting in July.
The Centre, led by Director Richard Birtwhistle, has established itself as a national research presence for Queen’s School of Medicine.
The Centre is leading several initiatives including a federally-funded pan-Canadian sentinel surveillance network that will track the prevalence, risk factors and treatment of chronic diseases including diabetes, hypertension and depression. The project uses de-identified patient information extracted from electronic medical records of family physicians.
“We’ve never been able to collect this information before because it was buried in family doctors’ paper charts,” says Dr. Birtwhistle. “Now we can put it together both locally and combine it with other locations to get a national picture. We can see how fast these diseases are increasing in the population and how well we are doing in trying to control them.”
The advantage of surveillance on these chronic diseases in primary care settings (i.e. out of hospital) is that most health care services and supports for these people are provided to patients by their family doctors.
“What happens to these patients hasn’t been tracked until something catastrophic happens,” says Dr. Birtwhistle. “We are now looking at people who are rarely in hospital, so we are getting a new picture of chronic disease in Canada.”
The Centre’s team of medical, academic, IT, and research professionals is also working on interdisciplinary projects with colleagues in the Centre for Health Services and Policy Research, the School of Nursing and the School of Rehabilitation Therapy.
The Centre is also conducting research for the provincial government, assessing new models for primary care in Ontario. For more information visit www.queensu.ca/cspc/index.html