Alberta Researchers Win Grants to Improve Arthritis Care

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Alberta-based research teams have won two grants to conduct research aimed at improving health care services for arthritis sufferers in the province. One team will design a central intake system for people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis that will reduce their wait for care and ensure they are referred initially to the right care provider. The other team will evaluate criteria for determining whether patients with osteoarthritis in the knee should proceed to knee replacement surgery. ABJHI will manage the data for both teams.

The research on central intake will be funded by a three-year $745,000 grant through the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Health System, a partnership between Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions and Alberta Health Services (AHS). The work will involve nearly 40 researchers led by Dr. Deborah Marshall, Canada Research Chair of Health Services and Systems Research and ABJHI’s Director of Health Technology Assessment, and Dr. Linda Woodhouse, Scientific Director of the Alberta Bone and Joint Health Strategic Clinical Network (BJHSCN). The researchers will set out performance objectives for the new central intake model, analyze different central intake models and select from them the features best suited to meeting the objectives. They will also develop a framework for measuring the performance of the central intake model once it is up and running. The work will be carried out in collaboration with the BJHSCN.

The research team evaluating criteria for determining whether patients should have total knee replacement will be funded by a five-year grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The work will be led by Dr. Marshall and Dr. Gillian Hawker, Professor of Medicine and Rheumatology, University of Toronto, and Physician in Chief, Department of Medicine, Women’s College Hospital. In lead-up work to the grant application, the researchers identified four criteria, including: demonstrated need for surgery; patient ready, willing and able to undergo surgery; realistic expectations of surgery; and surgery benefit outweighs risk. The researchers will evaluate to degree to which these criteria can accurately identify patient who will have a successful surgery.