Diabetes Action Canada and our response to COVID
The sudden COVID pandemic has been a dramatic disruption for all members of Diabetes Action Canada. For persons living with diabetes, the change in access to health care has magnified the challenges already in existence. For our health care professionals engaged in clinical research, many have experienced re-deployment to support hospital and other service needs. Our clinical trials that require face-to-face interaction have been temporarily stopped, although some have been able to adopt virtual communication for data collection and analysis. But for our digital health researchers the pace has increased considerably with the rapid offerings of new research funding focused on COVID-related urgent clinical questions.
We are fortunate to have among our investigators and collaborators some of Canada’s foremost primary care and population health researchers. They have turned their attention to using both their skills and provincial diabetes-related health data sources to design studies that focus on how persons with diabetes are being affected by the COVID pandemic challenge. Jean-Pierre Després and colleagues in Quebec City are analyzing the psycho-social impact on persons with chronic conditions including diabetes. Michelle Greiver in Toronto is using primary care electronic medical record data to identify those individuals with diabetes at greatest risk for adverse health outcomes. Valeria Rac is examining the change to virtual care in both the hospital and community setting to find out how health outcomes, patient and health professional experiences have been affected.
Our SPOR Network is demonstrating adaptation and flexibility in the face of extreme challenge. In addition, the novel research conducted during the COVID crisis will generate important new evidence about gaps in our health system and direct our planning for future patient-oriented studies to fulfill our mission of improving health outcomes for Canadians living with diabetes.