Pan-Canadian SPOR Network in Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations

Nominated Principal Investigator:
Dr. Sabrina Wong

University of British Columbia

The pan-Canadian SPOR Network in Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations (PICHI Network) was an initiative under the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) and the Community-Based Primary Health Care Signature Initiative. It was established as part of SPOR’s first phase of funding for pan-Canadian research networks. Moving forward, SPOR has established the SPOR Primary Care Research Network, which will build upon the PICHI Network’s work and expand patient-oriented primary care innovations to new sites, settings, and populations.


The Network was established as a Network of networks that built upon regional and national assets in community-based primary and integrated health care. It fostered a new alliance between research, policy and practice to create dynamic and responsive learning systems across the country that developed, evaluated and scaled up new approaches to the delivery of horizontally and vertically integrated services within and across sectors of health care (e.g., public health, home and community care, primary, secondary, and tertiary care) as well as outside the health sector (e.g., education, social services, housing).

The Network’s overall goal was to support evidence-informed transformation and delivery of more cost-effective primary and integrated health care to improve patient experience and health, health equity, and health system outcomes for individuals with and at risk of developing complex health needs.

The pan-Canadian Network initially focused on new approaches to the delivery of primary and integrated health care (including upstream primary prevention) both horizontally and vertically across the care continuum to address:

  • individuals with complex needs across the life course, including age groups from children to older adults; and,
  • multi-sector integration of upstream prevention strategies and care delivery models. A key element of this focus was the assessment of upstream predictors of high system use and subsequent identification and targeting of prevention strategies and interventions.

Within these priority focus areas, the PICHI Network supported cross-jurisdictional research that addresses horizontal and vertical integrated care priorities shared by several member networks and where there was value-added in a cross-jurisdictional approach, including:

  • Knowledge of the comparative effectiveness and efficiency of different jurisdictional approaches to the same health or health system challenges;
  • More rapid and/or generalizable response to a priority area by employing a cross-jurisdictional approach; and/or
  • A more comprehensive evaluation of a priority area using expertise and resources in multiple jurisdictions.

Network research priorities:

Research priorities were based on areas where several member networks shared a common challenge, and where they were using different service delivery approaches, and were investing substantially in these areas, including in evaluation.

Each member network within the PICHI Network was co-led by clinical, research and policy leads that collectively covered the continuum of care (prevention, primary, secondary, tertiary, and home care).

For more information about the PICHI Network, please consult its website and in particular, its ‘Impact’ page.

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