The Prince Edward Island Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovation Network (PIHcIN) heretofore referred to as the Network will create the infrastructure for a learning/knowledge network in primary health care addressing patient oriented issues across the lifespan (i.e. child, adult, seniors). Our vision is to create a vibrant and productive patient oriented research community in PEI that is linked regionally and nationally to deliver more integrated, cost-effective primary and integrated health care that leads to improved health outcomes for Islanders. Utilizing a collaborative approach, we will focus on innovative evidence-based initiatives that promote efficient and effective care to meet today’s challenges.  An Operations Management Committee composed of the Tripartite leads, policy-makers, senior administrators, health care providers, researchers, and the Network Manager will manage the Network. The Operations Management Committee and working groups in conjunction with clinicians, patients and their families, as well as community based organizations will comprise the Network infrastructure.   The research will involve the identification, refinement, and testing of innovative ideas to support evidence-informed system transformation and delivery of cost-effective primary and integrated healthcare. The research priorities of the Network will align with the PEI health system priorities and focus on upstream prevention, models of care, individuals with complex needs and vulnerable cohorts across the lifespan [i.e. children,  ‘near -seniors’ (ages 50-64) and seniors (65+)].  The research will identify innovative and cost-effective service delivery models that will improve patient experience, lead to improved access and prevent high utilization of health care services, particularly ER visits, hospitalizations and readmissions.

The leadership of the Network have met with numerous stakeholders over the past 8 months to raise awareness and build support for the Network, as well as to obtain input for research priorities. Stakeholders have developed a set of principles, priorities and strategies to create positive health system transformation. Stakeholders will be engaged in all levels of the Network including in governance, priority setting, working group activities, and throughout the research process to ensure that the research agenda is relevant and responsive to the needs of PEI. As such, they will be engaged in identifying, developing, evaluating and scaling up innovative approaches to prevention and care for individuals with complex needs, as well as individuals from vulnerable cohorts across the life course such as the frail elderly and children/families living in poverty; while continuously evaluating initiatives using quality strategies and ongoing assessments.

The Network is a founding partner in the development of a patient data management plan upon which the provincial data repository is being created. An important outcome is the establishment of a mechanism for data access that was drafted in collaboration with and approved by Health PEI. This formalized policy guarantees confidentiality and security at all levels of data operations in SPOR activities. Members of the Network continue to sit on the Executive Management Committee of the Maritime SPOR Support Unit (MSSU and participate in MSSU working groups and subcommittees. Network involvement in the MSSU has strengthened the partnership and future collaborative opportunities between the PEI PIHcIN and the MSSU. Such activities will continue and in so doing will develop the appropriate framework for rapid cycle evaluation and establishment of common metrics and measurement strategies.

The MSSU-PEI Network partnership provides a new approach to linking policy, research and practice to better coordinate system transformation and support innovation. The Network extends the investments both provincially and across Atlantic Canada through direct and indirect partnerships with the NS PIHcIN, the NB PIHcIN, the MSSU and the NFLD SPOR. Financial investments by provincial governments have ensured rapid developments and are expected to enhance cross-sectoral policy commitments, engagement of the research community, involvement of innovative providers and engagement of citizens together to improve health and health care in Atlantic Canada and especially PEI. The PEI Network will be a productive and collaborative member of the national SPOR Network in Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations.