Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement and Atlantic health regions combat chronic disease

Innovative approach to COPD care INSPIRES collaboration

Charlottetown, November 6, 2013 – The Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (CFHI) and 83 healthcare leaders from across the Atlantic are meeting today to advance 10 improvement projects in their ground-breaking collaboration focused on chronic disease. The teams are sharing progress and working with other leaders from across Canada who have made improvements in managing and preventing chronic diseases.

As a result of the Atlantic Healthcare Collaboration, teams from Central Health, NL and Health PEI, are learning from an innovative approach to care for people with COPD. Developed at Capital Health, NS, by Dr. Graeme Rocker, the INSPIRED model (Implementing a Novel and Supportive Program of Individualized Care for Patients and Families Living with REspiratory Disease) has contributed to reducing ER visits and admissions by 70 to 80%.  Once fully implemented, the new approaches to COPD care will improve the quality of care for patients across Atlantic Canada.

“Our government is committed to providing Islanders with better access to care, which is why I’m delighted that PEI is hosting this important initiative over the next two days,” says the Honourable Doug Currie, PEI Minister of Health and Wellness. “PEI’s projects focusing on reducing preventable hospitalizations and helping patients partner with healthcare professionals to design care, will help ensure Islanders receive the right care, by the right provider, in the right place.”   

Minister Currie is opening the workshop with Dr. Richard Wedge, CEO of Health PEI.

The CFHI-led two-day workshop will focus on engaging patients and families, working with clinicians to drive improvements, managing change to ensure successful implementation and working together across jurisdictions.  The ten improvement projects include five in Newfoundland and Labrador, two each in PEI and New Brunswick, and one in Nova Scotia.

“Health PEI’s participation in the Atlantic Collaboration represents progress towards our vision of a coordinated health system supporting improved health for Islanders,”  says Dr. Richard Wedge, CEO of Health PEI.  “We’re learning from those who have tackled similar problems, while we teach others about our experiences improving healthcare.”

Atlantic Canada reports higher rates of populations living with a chronic disease or risk factor (including mental health, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and COPD) than the rest of the country. Islanders are more likely to experience a chronic condition than other Canadians overall, with one-in-three reporting a chronic disease.1 Nearly 60% of Islanders are obese (compared to the national average of 52%); 21.9% are reported smokers, higher than the national average; PEI also experiences the highest rates of deaths related to respiratory diseases (54.3% compared to national average of 45%).2 

“The Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement is committed to helping our partners provide better, more efficient healthcare,” says Maureen O’Neil, CFHI President. “In a nation of pilot healthcare projects, it is gratifying to see the spread of proven solutions, such as the INSPIRED model for COPD care developed by CFHI’s Improvement Advisor, Dr. Rocker.”

More than just the Atlantic Provinces will benefit from this collaboration. Healthcare leaders from Quebec (CSSS du Rocher-Percé and CSSS de La Matapédia), Nunavut (Department of Health)  the Northwest Territories (Health and Social Services), Alberta (Alberta Health Services, North Zone) and Yukon (Health and Social Services) are attending the November workshop to learn from the Atlantic teams and share their own experiences in improving care for patients with chronic diseases.

The three-year Atlantic Healthcare Collaboration, launched in November 2012, will improve the way health services are managed and delivered for patients with chronic conditions and their families. All four Atlantic provincial health ministries and 17 regional healthcare authorities are participating in the initiative, addressing better management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), reducing preventable hospitalizations, promoting self-management of diabetes and improving supports for patients with mental health challenges.

To learn more about CFHI or the Atlantic Healthcare Collaboration, please visit:

Media Contact:

Eileen Melnick McCarthy 
Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement 
Tel. 613-728-2238 ext. 233