I am pleased to see the launch of the Health Council’s Health Innovation Portal. It will be a mechanism to both identify innovative practices and programs across Canada and facilitate their dissemination. Once these practices are identified, this portal will allow interested individuals to follow new developments and updated evaluations.
I am a member of an innovative program in Nova Scotia- the Drug Evaluation Alliance of Nova Scotia (DEANS). DEANS is a multidisciplinary, multisectoral alliance to optimize drug use in Nova Scotia (NS). DEANS includes representatives from the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness (DHW), health professionals, program administrators, e.g., from the Nova Scotia Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), and academic researchers and their trainees.
DEANS encourages appropriate drug use by identifying areas where optimization of drug use is needed, developing interventions to provide targeted, evidence- informed information to patients and providers and evaluating the impact of the interventions. DEANS supports the development of interventions based on a rigorous review of the literature, knowledge of the local context and the experience of committee members and other local experts. DEANS sponsored interventions include live and web based interprofessional educational programs, academic detailing and the provision of prescribing profiles to physicians.
Evaluation is a component of all DEANS initiatives. Some evaluations assess participant satisfaction with the delivery of the program and have participants identify how they will use the information to optimize patient care. Other evaluations have been more extensive, including examining the effect of the intervention on drug utilization and hospitalizations. A new initiative is the Katie program which assists clinicians in appraising new information and applying it to their practice. The website also has links to other sources of information about knowledge translation and effective continuing health professional education.
Examining the impact, uptake and adaptation of innovative practices and programs by other jurisdictions is complex and requires diverse evaluation approaches that employ methodologies such as quantitative, qualitative, and mixed research methods. The Health Innovation Portal will enable decision makers and researchers working in innovative areas both with the ability to find others working in the same program and policies areas and to identify appropriate methods to evaluate the success of their innovative approaches.