Reg Joseph is Alberta Innovates’ vice president of Health.
patients, families, community groups
and policy-makers. They work
independently or with other SCNs to
use research, innovation and evidence to
improve how we deliver care.
Q: Are SCNs unique to Alberta?
Wasylak: We’re not the first in the
world to have these networks, but
ours are unique because they include
the research arm. We are facing tough
healthcare problems and by bringing
the research community and clinical
community together, we’re better able to
understand and solve those problems.
Q: What’s an example of a problem?
Wasylak: One is how antipsychotic
drugs were being used in caring for older
adults in long-term care. We once had a
high rate of use of these drugs and now
we’re leading the country in stopping
their use where they’re no longer
needed. Our Seniors Health SCN and our
Addiction and Mental Health SCN have
led this work. And in June, they began
helping New Brunswick’s healthcare
system make similar changes.
Q: How do the SCNs learn what the
researchers are doing?
Joseph: Researchers are part of every
SCN and we also have specific programs
designed to help bring research to the
SCNs. One of those is the Partnership for
Research and Innovation in the Health
System. This partnership is funded 50-
50 by AHS and AI. Funding from this
partnership helped our Surgery SCN to
improve patient care before, during and
Another program, Accelerating
Innovations into Care, is administered
by AI to bring innovative products and
solutions into the healthcare system. It
works by having an SCN identify a need
and having AI reach into the research
community to find the solution. It’s a
case of matching existing needs with
Q: What’s the difference between that
and a clinical trial?
Joseph: We’re involved after clinical
We’re involved after
clinical trials in what we
call a real-world evidence
trial . . . (they’re) a more