The Learning Health System -- A series for Healthy Debate

The learning health system moves away from the traditional idea of independent researchers overseeing years-long trials and only releasing their data at the end. Instead, its hallmark is partnership between research, community and clinical operations. In this series, we explore the fundamentals of a learning health system as well as describe several examples and case studies of learning health systems in action.

How the pandemic pushed three families to overhaul their lives

The pandemic has been a time of stress and upheaval for most families, but some have found a way to transform that chaos into a fresh start. While many of the changes parents have been making are temporary, like working from home and scheduling online playdates, living in lockdown is driving some parents to embrace lasting changes. All this time to reflect has led some to realize that maybe they don’t want the life they thought they wanted. Others are realizing that life is, well, unpredictable,

Why some doctors want to defund the police

Medical student Semir Bulle knows what it’s like to live in fear of the police. A child of Ethiopian refugees, he was carded a dozen times in one year while growing up in northwestern Ontario. Bulle says those interactions sent a message: “The police are going to be watching me, and I have to be sure I’m looking nonsuspicious, so they don’t try to harass me today.” Only later, in university, Bulle realized that his white classmates had very different experiences.

Researchers investigate the effectiveness of public health messaging during the pandemic

Stay home. Flatten the curve. Stay two metres apart. Stick to your “social bubble.” Wear a mask. To reduce the spread of COVID-19, public health authorities have been instructing us to change our behaviours at a dizzying pace. As Canadians try to square the latest advice, university researchers and lecturers have been taking notes. Academics from public health to English to philosophy are looking at what’s being said, how it’s being said and – most importantly – how these messages are resonating.

What about the wait times Canada isn’t tracking? | CMAJ News

Janet Lunn was on a waitlist for four years to see a neurologist in Halifax for pain that felt like “an immense amount of pressure” on her temple and behind her eye. The pain would wake her up in the night, often only allowing her a few hours of sleep. “I started developing anxiety about going to sleep because I knew the pain would hit,” Lunn says. While she waited for specialist care, she lost her job, and her long-term relationship ended – both events she attributes partly to her lack of sleep.

Are Noisy Hospitals Making Us Sick?

Since implementing a noise reduction program at her hospital five years ago, Soong is particularly attuned to the dips and peaks of hospital volume. She knows that the noise problem at hospitals is a serious one. More than just an annoyance for patients and staff, excessive noise can lead to lack of sleep, delirium, longer recovery times, and even addiction to tranquilizers. If a hospital’s mission is to improve the health of its patients, then noise is one of the biggest hurdles.

Fear, neglect, and close quarters: Inside Ontario’s migrant-worker health crisis

In late May, Amy Cohen, an organizer with Radical Action With Migrants in Agriculture, in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, received a WhatsApp message from a migrant farm worker in Ontario. He and another worker were in the bunkhouse, their living quarters on farm property, because they were too sick to work that day. His friend was vomiting, short of breath, and losing consciousness. Could she call an ambulance?

It's time to stop giving the message that kids can't play outside

For almost two months now, the primary public health message across Canada, and especially in Ontario, has been “stay home.” In cities, exercise outside is allowed, ideally in quiet areas at off-peak times, but not exactly encouraged. Guidance around outdoor exercise has principally been for adults. As the provincial chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, put it, the rules shouldn’t stop “anyone from going out for their morning jog.” Children’s need for outdoor activity seems to have been neglected altogether.
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