As part of the BC Academic Health Science Network’s commitment to providing the province’s health research community with the best possible resources during the COVID-19 pandemic, a provincial COVID-19 research inventory was fast-tracked in partnership with the BC Ministry of Health, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, BC Centre for Disease Control and additional partners. As of June 8, 2020, more than 200 research teams and trials studying COVID-19 are listed in the inventory, attesting to the agility and mobilization skills of researchers throughout the province.
Following the launch of the COVID-19 Response by BC AHSN, there was a feeling expressed by stakeholders that patient engagement should not be lost during this time of adaptation of processes and speedy processes to get research mobilized.
At the same time that a BC AHSN team was populating the overall BC COVID-19 Research Inventory, Lynne Feehan and Bahar Shafaghi from one of its units, the BC SUPPORT Unit, revealed that they were collecting information to specifically identify POR research that was COVID-19 specific.
Instead of doing the same work twice, Terri and Paola Pinto Vidal, REBC Navigator, and their BC SUPPORT Unit colleagues changed the self-reporting tool used for researchers to have their study included in the inventory. This change went live on June 1, 2020; the inventory submission questionnaire now includes the question:
Do you intend, or would you like to explore opportunities for engaging patients, families, members of the public and/or community organizations as partners on your research team? “
“The first day the question was included,” Terri Fleming, Unit Director of Research Ethics BC noted, “a researcher who added a new study to the inventory selected the option to be contacted by the BC SUPPORT Unit about opportunities for engagement.”
Every week, Terri provides a report to Bahar of any new listings that been submitted, where teams have ticked this box for the BC SUPPORT Unit to reach out to them.
Recently, there have been four research teams that have expressed an interest to have further discussion about patient partner engagement in their research. As well, all of the 200-plus studies in the Research Inventory are currently under review by staff from all regional centres to identify the teams that are already using a patient-, public- or community-partner-engaged approach to their work. Those teams that are identified as using this approach are then flagged in the inventory.
These partner-engaged studies will continue to be identified and flagged weekly. For those teams who are not already using a patient-, public- or community-partner-engaged approach at this time, BC AHSN personnel will continue to contact researchers to further discuss ways to be supported in their efforts to adapt a partner-engaged approach into their COVID-19 research work.
- To find out more about the BC SUPPORT Unit’s response to COVID-19, visit their Response Page.
- Visit the BC AHSN COVID-19 Response Page, which includes the research and survey inventories, here.