Oncopole, a unique co-creation initiative of the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS) made possible by an initial investment of $15 million from Merck Canada, has brought together key players from the innovation, research and health and social services sectors to develop the Innove-Onco program. Oncopole has joined forces with the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS), the Bureau de l’innovation and the Programme québécois de cancérologie of the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux, in collaboration with the Institut national d’excellence en santé et services sociaux (INESSS), to set up this competition.
Oncopole is proud to announce today the Innove-Onco recipients. Two promising projects involving the improvement of clinical practices, the integration of innovation and oncology research will benefit from substantial funding over 2 years. Thanks to an additional contribution of $200,000 from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the total budget for the competition reached $1,700,000.
The Innove-Onco grant program, launched in fall 2019, aims to optimize the adoption – within the public health and social services system – of innovations in oncology. The two funded projects are based on technological and organizational innovations implemented in various care facilities in Quebec, which meet a clearly demonstrated need in oncology. This research will be used to improve the organization of care and patient management. The projects will also provide a better understanding of the factors that facilitate or limit the introduction of innovations, measure their performance in a real healthcare context, and assess the relevance of implementing them on a larger scale.
Following a rigorous evaluation of the applications, two projects were selected. The winning teams will benefit from major financial support over 2 years.
Integrating patient-reported outcomes (PROs) into routine cancer care: learning from their actual implementation in cancer centers across Quebec.
[Sylvie Lambert, PhD, McGill University, St. Mary’s Research Centre and Peter Nugus, PhD, McGill University]
Cancer patients can suffer serious side effects from their treatment that are not always identified and treated by clinicians. Filling in a questionnaire about their symptoms when they consult their healthcare professional can improve the care process, their quality of life and even their survival. Regular screening for symptoms, particularly distress, is still not widely used in Quebec cancer centers.
With this in mind, the team developed an innovative symptom screening program, called e-IMPAQc, using the Opal mobile application. Starting in fall 2020, this technology will be used in five adult cancer centers in Quebec: St. Mary’s, St. Joseph’s and St. Joseph’s. These include St. Mary’s Hospital Centre (SMHC), McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM), Hôpital de la Cité-de-la-Santé (Cité), and Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont (HMR). The aim of the proposed study is to identify the factors promoting and limiting the integration of this innovation into the care system. This data will be used to create a guide to help deploy the application in other establishments across Quebec. The ultimate aim is to reduce unnecessary suffering for patients, who can be better treated if their symptoms are identified.
When technological and organizational innovation go hand in hand: A collaborative model to make oncogenetics more agile, accessible and efficient
[Hermann Nabi, PhD and Michel Dorval, PhD, Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec-Université Laval]
Thanks to a better understanding of cancer biology and the advent of new molecular biology technologies, it is now possible to identify the susceptibility genes of certain cancers, making it possible to pinpoint a diagnosis or prognosis and optimize anti-cancer treatments. In Quebec, as in other jurisdictions, genetic testing is normally available to women identified as being at high risk. However, access to these tests remains a major challenge for patients and their families, healthcare professionals and the healthcare system. With limited resources, medical genetics services in Quebec are unable to meet the growing demand for oncogenetic consultations for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndromes. The consequences for patients, who have to wait longer for an appointment, can be serious. In fact, some cancers could be prevented in certain patients, while others could benefit from innovative targeted therapies.
To overcome this problem, the CHU de Québec-Université Laval has developed a “collaborative oncogenetics model” (MCO) based, among other things, on interprofessional and interinstitutional collaboration, and diversified, personalized genetic services. According to the results obtained, this model improves access to genetic counseling services and significantly reduces delays in access to genetic testing for patients.
The aim of the research project is to identify and capitalize on the lessons learned from the implementation of this organizational innovation. The spin-offs from this project will help optimize the oncogenetics service offering in local and regional facilities across Quebec, for the benefit of patients and their families. An interdisciplinary, multi-institutional team (CHU de Québec-Université Laval, CISSS de Chaudière-Appalaches, CISSS du Bas-Saint-Laurent, CIUSSS du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean) from several regions of Quebec, made up of researchers, clinicians, genetic counsellors, nurses, managers and patient partners, will bring their theoretical, experiential and methodological knowledge to bear on this research. The project also benefits from the collaboration of researchers from McGill University, Université de Montréal and UQAR.
Innove-Onco thus embodies one of Oncopole’s priorities for action: mobilizing stakeholders to support innovative projects aimed at optimizing the organization of care and patient management in oncology.