The British Columbia Academic Health Science Network (BC AHSN) is pleased to announce REACH BC (reachbc.ca) as the newest addition to the organization.
Launched in May 2020, REACH BC addresses a significant challenge for many clinical trials and health research projects in British Columbia: namely, patient and participant recruitment. The platform (originally a multi-partner demonstration project of the BC SUPPORT Unit, with additional funding from BC AHSN) was developed with support from the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI). This online platform bridges the gap between the province-wide patient and research communities. The platform connects British Columbians with opportunities to participate in research, and provides support for researchers in recruiting participants.
In the first year of operations, REACH BC has acquired more than 2,300 volunteers and 360 researchers. Partnership with BC AHSN’s diverse network will allow for further participation from both communities, and will increase awareness of research recruitment opportunities for patients and the public. Public awareness and willingness to participate in health research has also increased due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“REACH BC addressed a need that had been apparent for quite some time, and I am proud of the achievements fostered by our staff team,” said Dr. Robert McMaster, Primary Investigator of REACH BC, and currently Vice Dean of Research, UBC Faculty of Medicine. “REACH BC will continue to thrive in the capable hands of BC AHSN and its diverse partners. The platform will make the urgent connections needed between patients and researchers and is expandable beyond COVID-19 to all areas of health research.”
“I would like to acknowledge VCHRI’s support in planning and developing REACH BC,” said Dr. Stirling Bryan, President, BC AHSN. “The foundational work, supported through the BC SUPPORT Unit – and the partnerships created – now allow BC AHSN to support future positional work for the platform within our organizational family.”
The REACH BC platform will be maintained within BC AHSN’s Clinical Trials BC operational unit. Administrative data and information will continue to be stored, with stringent security and privacy protocols provided by VCH and UBC.
The British Columbia Academic Health Science Network’s role is to advance learning health systems in BC and to enable innovations within the system that make the best use of provincial assets, resources and expertise. BC AHSN’s (bcahsn.ca) operational units include the BC SUPPORT Unit, Clinical Trials BC and Research Ethics BC.
REACH BC addresses the continued challenge in clinical trial and health research recruitment while also supporting the goals of patient-oriented research through the connecting of research partners, including regional health partners, universities and the public.