Patient-Oriented Research at OHRI: The SPOR Program

Patient-Oriented Research

Patient-oriented research (POR) is about putting patients first- research that is informed by patients and focuses on what is important to patients. It produces information for decision makers and health care providers that will improve health care practices, therapies and policies. It ensures that new and innovative diagnostic and therapeutic approaches are applied where they are needed (CIHR 2014).

Canadian research excellence is recognized globally and the country ranks amongst the top in the world in terms of scientific impact of its health research. Yet, evidence shows that 50% of patients do not get treatments of proven effectiveness and up to 25% get care that is not needed or potentially harmful. Incentives for health research are not currently focused on these problems – bringing research and decision-makers/patients together requires a change in culture and approach. The challenge is to develop and apply research that will ensure a more effective use of existing health resources and the introduction of more cost-effective diagnostic and treatment strategies, so as to curb costs while offering high quality care.

Canada's Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR)

Canada's Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) is a national coalition of federal, provincial and territorial partners including patients and caregivers, researchers, health practitioners, policy makers, provincial/territorial health authorities, academic institutions, charities, the pharmaceutical sector and others dedicated to the integration of research into care.

The vision of the strategy is that by 2025, Canada will have demonstrably improved health outcomes and enhanced the health care experience for patients through the integration of evidence at all levels of the health care system.

SPOR is different because it involves researchers working collaboratively with the provinces and partners, and putting patients and health care professionals at the heart of the process. It involves leveraging resources to support transformational research. It is about more than discovering new diagnostic approaches and therapies. It is about evaluating the effectiveness of these approaches and sharing the results with health professionals across the country, to create change throughout Canada's health care system.

For more about the objectives of SPOR please visit the CIHR SPOR Initiative website.

SPOR and the OHRI

The Ottawa Methods Centre (OMC) is one of twelve members of the Ontario SPOR SUPPORT Unit (OSSU) funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to provide the necessary methodological expertise to investigators pursuing patient-oriented research.

This strategy aims to transform how health research is conducted in Ontario and Canada by ensuring patient engagement throughout the process. Locally, we are tasked with providing methodological guidance to Ontario-based investigators conducting Patient-Oriented Research (POR). This guidance involves providing methods consultations on research protocols to Ontario researchers who will be applying to CIHR or OSSU-specific calls for funding. We will be providing methods training related to POR both in-house and externally with the aim of developing a suite of training materials across the vast area that POR encompasses. Moreover, we will be identifying gaps in evidence through the consultation and training process and a POR methods research agenda will be developed and prioritized with two POR-related methods projects completed annually. For more information please email Zarah Monfaredi, OMC SPOR Program Facilitator at: