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Program promotes staff engagement through research at Niagara Health

Posted Jul 20th, 2016

Niagara Health Research Lead and Intensivist Dr. Jennifer Tsang knows firsthand the importance research plays in caring for our patients.

“The reason Katie and I are in this role is because we are passionate about health services research and quality improvement,” says Dr. Tsang.

Together, Dr. Tsang and Research Support Katie Ross make up the Niagara Health’s Research Lead Office, which has been focusing on promoting staff engagement and accessibility to research since January 2015.

Among other projects, the department has created a Personalized Research Coaching Program to guide healthcare trainees and professionals at Niagara Health through collaborative, quality-focused and patient-centred research projects.

“We know that a lot of clinicians and staff members at Niagara Health don’t have a research training background, but they have the heart to do research because they want to improve patient care,” says Dr. Tsang. “We try to help them turn their vague idea into a concrete hypothesis, develop methodology and carry out their research project.”

In its early stages, the Personalized Research Coaching Program is already guiding projects in both Family Medicine and Cardiology, bringing together doctors, medical learners, nurses and other members of the multidisciplinary team to evaluate the use of additional screening for heart attacks and the use of cognitive behavioural therapy in managing patients with eating disorders.  

“Research plays a vital role in healthcare,” says Dr. Tom Stewart, Niagara Health Chief of Staff and Executive Vice President Medical. “The programs being established by Dr. Tsang are bringing physicians and staff together to work on research initiatives that will ultimately help improve the quality of our patient-centred care.”

Within the next few years Dr. Tsang wants to write a paper on the Personalized Research Coaching Program to share the experiences gained at Niagara Health with other community hospitals to help them adopt their own research strategies.

Niagara Health System