We pursue excellence

Advances in healthcare. Improving patient care. Research and innovation. All move forward thanks to the dedication and drive of the physicians, clinicians, staff and volunteers in AHS. And in this challenge, it’s about winning

For the second time, front-line staff have enthusiastically endorsed the Alberta Health Services (AHS) Research Challenge, which supports care teams in tackling research projects aimed at improving patient care.

Teams selected in the 2017 Research Challenge have been notified they’ll be receiving education in research practices, the support of an experienced research mentor and up to $5,000.

“I think this is such a great idea,” says patient and family advisor Wendy Rowan, who served as a member of the panel that reviewed entries to the 2017 Research Challenge competition.

“What a great opportunity for people on the ground to have their voices heard and work on something they’re interested in improving—it’s fantastic.”

Since it began in 2016, staff from 20-plus disciplines have submitted a total of 170 letters of intent to conduct research. Proposals came from across the province and the healthcare spectrum.

Some of the 12 projects selected in the 2017 competition include:

  • Physiotherapist identification of psychosocial factors for delayed recovery in low back pain.
  • Health texts from school nurses: will adolescents get the message?
  • The effectiveness of single-session cognitive behavioural therapy protocol for walk-in patients.
  • Is dynamic splinting still a requirement post-metacarpophalangeal joint arthroplasty?
  • Medical assistance in dying requests with mental health clients: mitigate or facilitate?

“As a learning organization, Alberta Health Services will continue to seek, generate and use knowledge. That’s research,” says Dr. Kathryn Todd, AHS vice president, Research, Innovation and Analytics and CSAMH. “And that’s what the Research Challenge is all about.”

The Research Challenge is directly aligned with three of the four AHS foundational strategies: the AHS Strategy for Clinical Health Research, Innovation and Analytics, Our People Strategy, and the Patient First Strategy.

Brenda George, left, Lani Babin, Matthew Brooks and Heather Perdue are the Calgary public health nursing team behind the proposed AHS Research Challenge project, ‘Health texts from school nurses: will adolescents get the message?’.

Our words

Simple things like comfort rounds, patient bedside whiteboards, or bedside shift reports would have created an atmosphere of empowerment and independence for my mother.

Aileen Alcock, right, Calgary CoACT team lead, whose experiences with her mother's hospitalization pushed her to help form CoACT, a program that is team winner for AHS President’s Excellence Award for Outstanding Achievement in Patient- and Family-Centred Care

Addiction and mental health doesn’t stop and think about time. And I didn’t realize how much time ... had been lost to sorrow, pain and unhappiness. Now I have so much light and life—and I get to give back.

Pamela Spurvey, peer support worker with Young Adult & Cross Level Services, who’s been in recovery for 10 years and was one of two winners of the True Award from The Lieutenant Governor’s Circle on Mental Health and Addiction

Our research partners, clinicians and staff continue to generate and share innovative ideas every day to improve health outcomes.

Dr. Kathryn Todd, AHS vice president, Research, Innovation and Analytics and CSAMH, on AHS research hospitals in Edmonton and Calgary being placed 16th and 19th, respectively, in Canada’s Top 40 Research Hospitals for 2016, as determined by the firm Research Infosource Inc

The program is a gem. It’s one of a kind in rural Alberta—and it’s a very powerful program to be a part of. The smiles and the ‘glow’ of people when they come in on stretchers, and then walk out, that’s amazing.

Nurudeen Amusat, physiotherapist at the Two Hills Health Centre, on the Stroke and Geriatric Empowerment program. He’s pictured at right, helping patient Stanley Pszyk

Working to be the best in healthcare

Top 40 Research Hospitals list

AHS placed in the top half of a national ranking for the second year running. Every year, AHS supports thousands of new and ongoing studies that use AHS facilities, patients and systems. In 2017 alone, Research Ethics Boards in Alberta approved more than 1,400 new studies requiring AHS involvement.

Strategic Clinical Networks (SCNs)

AHS continues to develop networks of people who are knowledgeable about specific areas of health, challenging them to find new and innovative ways of delivering care that will provide better quality, better outcomes and better value. To date, there are 15 SCNs focusing on a range of conditions from cancer to addiction and mental health.

Research challenge

This is a professional development opportunity for nurses, allied health professionals and other care providers to increase knowledge and skills to access, conduct and apply best-practice research. In it, teams work together for two years to design and conduct a small-scale study.