About the network

In Canada, we are still struggling to achieve the critical goal of enabling performant health care systems that moves research results to real-world impact. This is particularly true within the context of primary care, arguably the cornerstone of any well performing system and demonstrably where the majority of health prevention, promotion and management occurs. 

The funding and establishment of 11 provincial and territorial primary care focused research networks under the pan-Canadian umbrella of PIHCIN has catalyzed the development of a new research paradigm.  With a unique tripartite leadership model that consists of a researcher, a policy maker and a health care provider supported by strong patient partnership, the research paradigm developed by the PIHCIN networks builds on the biomedical approach along with other key research traditions.  This has evolved into an approach that is appropriate for the complexity of primary care and possibly the key to effectively addressing many of the current intractable challenges in health care delivery. 

The key characteristics of this paradigm are: (1) a holistic approach that is firmly grounded in developing, nurturing and sustaining strong relationships among key stakeholders; (2) incorporation of the priorities and need of patients and communities; (3) inclusion at all stages of the expertise embodied in researchers, policy makers, health care providers, patients, community members and trainees; and (4) the use of expert mediators (managers and directors) to match ideas, skills and resources for relevant evidence creation. 

The networks have taken a bottom-up approach to build the necessary infrastructure to support the combination of all of these critical elements into evidence creation that can be readily implemented for improved health experiences. This has also built the groundwork for creation and integration of evidence into rapid learning and practice systems.

The development of the necessary trusted relationships builds on pre-existing strong collaborative approaches that are the hallmark of excellent primary care research.  The CIHR support for the development of these networks that are unified under PIHCIN, represents a significant investment into state-of-the-art research methodological developments and approaches that have begun to see the impact in terms of new knowledge creation, implementation and policy changes. The progress and potential of PICHIN is considered to be an international role model of cutting-edge research in primary care that can be expected to make a real difference.