CHSRF helps NWT create plan to transform its chronic disease management

The Northwest Territories has one of highest rates of chronic disease in Canada, contributing to increasing healthcare costs. With the support and guidance of the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation, the NWT has developed a roadmap for improving how it manages chronic disease.

“This would not have happened without everyone’s commitment and hard work—and especially the leadership of the Department of Health and Social Services—in real collaboration with CHSRF,” said Kay Lewis, CEO of Stanton Territorial Health Authority. “It’s very exciting to see the products that have been developed to move the system forward.

“We could not have made it to this point without CHSRF.”

The NWT undertook a project with CHSRF to create a plan to improve management in three areas of chronic disease: diabetes, mental health and renal care. The process included four workshops given by CHSRF over six months, involving more than 45 health system executives, managers, policy-makers and healthcare providers.

“We provided a framework for collaboration,” said CHSRF President Maureen O’Neil. “We brought the right people together with the right evidence to work through some critical problems and tailored to the specific context of the NWT.”
CHSRF’s approach ensured that all the assumptions held by participants were checked against evidence and the realities of delivering healthcare in the NWT. As a result, everyone involved fully understood and agreed upon the system’s core problems before developing solutions.

“Now we are thinking much more in terms of the system and how we’re interconnected,” said one workshop participant.

The solutions developed through the workshops represent the first phase of this healthcare transformation project. Through the summer the reports are being finalized and plans are being approved in preparation for the implementation phase, for which CHSRF is also providing support. Pilot projects are scheduled to start in the fall this year.

What we think is really exciting about this project,” said Erin Morrison, CHSRF’s lead on the initiative, “is that it represents a way of supporting health system transformation that can be tailored with equal effect to other locations and contexts in Canada. It gives people tools and skills to help them make solid decisions and manage the often difficult process of change.”

CHSRF is currently in discussions regarding other potential transformation partnerships in various parts of the country.

If you would like more information on this project, or CHSRF’s health system transformation partnerships in general, please contact Erin Morrison (erin.morrison@chsrf.ca).