OPEN – the Ontario Pharmacy Evidence Network is a multi-institutional network of researchers and knowledge users, dedicated to improving health and the healthcare system through better medication management.
Starting in the early 2000s, legislation and policy changes
expanded medication management services to leverage pharmacists in
a more patient-focused, integrative role in Ontario’s health care
system. OPEN- the Ontario Pharmacy Research Collaboration, was
established through a Health Systems Research Fund (HSRF) Program
Award supported by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term
Care entitled “Fostering Innovation and Evaluating Effectiveness
of Ontario Pharmacist-led Medication Management Programs”, and
initiated research to assess and improve the quality, outcomes and
value of pharmacists’ services to improve medication use, while
also building a collaborative and inter-professional research
structure to translate its health systems and services research
into policy and practice through ongoing knowledge user
This extensive research program was a catalyst for bringing qualified inter-professional researchers together to provide quality evidence of medication management services. OPEN continued the development of a network and infrastructure to inform and sustain medication management research and practice improvement in Ontario; built capacity across Ontario in universities, research institutions, primary care and hospitals to grow the next generation of researchers and practitioners; facilitated the inclusion of cutting edge research findings into the undergraduate (Pharm D) education/curriculum at both University of Toronto and Waterloo; and cemented the recognition of medication management as a discipline and specialty within health care practice and research.
Recognizing OPEN’s established infrastructure, strong leadership
team, network of multidisciplinary researchers with extensive and
established expertise, the broad set of leveraged resources, and
proven stakeholder and knowledge user engagement for the uptake of
research into practice, education and policy, OPEN moved from a
research collaboration to a research network. Thus, we undertook a
rebranding and became OPEN - Ontario Pharmacy Evidence Network.
Along with other research funding, OPEN was awarded a second HSRF grant titled “OPEN:STIMULUS Building quality, sustainable medication management services for patients and the healthcare system”, which included a series of projects rooted in implementation science, proven quality improvement approaches and community engagement; to determine effective, accessible and system-integrated approaches to help patients, pharmacists and other healthcare providers choose, use and remove medications. These studies would engage patients and providers to better target, adapt, implement and evaluate medication management services to foster sustainable system change.
While the OPEN:STIMULUS program funding was terminated early by the Ministry, OPEN researchers continue to pursue important health research supported through other funding sources. OPEN continues to foster a network of researchers, students and knowledge users that conducts research to inform policy, education, and health care practice.
OPEN: Ontario Pharmacy Evidence Network
School of Pharmacy
University of Waterloo - Health Sciences Campus
10A Victoria St. S, Kitchener, ON N2G 1C5
Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy
University of Toronto – St-George Campus
144 College St, Toronto, ON M5S 3M2
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