President's Message: Evaluation of the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research

September 21, 2016

On behalf of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), I am pleased to present the Final Report of the 2016 Evaluation of the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR).

This independent evaluation by KPMG assessed CIHR’s contributions to SPOR from 2010 to 2016 with regard to program relevance, design and delivery, and performance. As SPOR is still a relatively new initiative, the report focused on the implementation and progress of its core elements: SUPPORT Units, Research Networks, Capacity Development, Improving the Clinical Trials Environment, and Patient Engagement.

The report strongly endorses the SPOR model and praises its remarkable progress. It infers that through SPOR, CIHR and its partners have united provinces and territories in a shared commitment of accelerating research evidence into care;  consolidating and expanding use of data for decision-making; and, sharing best practices to allow their scale-up across Canada.

The report concludes that SPOR is a leading force in Canada’s need for patient-oriented research and evidence-informed care, and confirms the importance of the investments made by CIHR and its partners in this initiative.

These investments are substantial. Since its launch, CIHR has committed approximately $600 million to SPOR, with partners committing an additional $400 million. Most recently, CIHR provided $62 million to support five SPOR Networks in Chronic Diseases – an investment that leveraged an additional $126 million dollars from partners, including universities, hospitals, industry, health charities, and provincial agencies. This is a clear demonstration that stakeholders and decision-makers across Canada understand the powerful impact that SPOR has on improving health and health care delivery.

In Canada, and around the world, the health research landscape is changing. Health system decision makers and tax payers want to know more about the research they are supporting, and why they are supporting it. They want to see data, progress, and results – and they want to take part in the research process.

By bringing patients and other stakeholders into the heart of the research process, researchers are able to incorporate these voices into the design of their research programs, thereby increasing their relevance, impact and potential for transformation.

I encourage you to read this report to learn more about how the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research is strengthening health research in Canada.

Alain Beaudet, MD, PhD
President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

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