Network Seminar - October 20, 2011

Kerry Kuluski is a Research Scientist at Bridgepoint Health and Assistant Professor (status-only) in the Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (HPME) at the University of Toronto. She completed her PhD in 2010 in the department of HPME where she specialized in health policy and aging. Her research expertise spans complex chronic disease, aging, home and community care, rural health, health policy and health services research. She recently completed a 6-month Visiting Scholarship with the Health Experiences Research Group at the University of Oxford. She is now back at Bridgepoint Health, leading the Bridgepoint Study, an in-depth analysis of complex chronic disease and patient experience. 

Renee Lyons holds the first Bridgepoint Chair in Complex Chronic Disease (University of Toronto and Bridgepoint Health) and is the TD Financial Group Scientific Director of the Collaboratory for Research and Innovation, Bridgepoint Health. The focus of the Bridgepoint Chair in Complex Chronic Disease (CCD) is the development of a leading-edge research program in CCD and support of the development of a multi-institutional collaboration on research development and use. She is a Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, and Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto. Dr. Lyons has been a faculty member at Dalhousie University since 1981 where she held a Tier One Canada Research Chair in Health Promotion and was the Senior Scientist at the Atlantic Health Promotion Research Centre. Dr. Lyons' research has focused on chronic disease prevention, health systems improvement and knowledge translation. As principal investigator, she has received over $25M in health research funding for both research and knowledge translation projects related to rural health, stroke and health systems reform, public health, oral health of seniors, and chronic disease prevention in midlife and youth, settings and health, and human relationships and chronic illness. Dr. Lyons received her university education at Dalhousie University (BA in psychology and sociology), Xavier University, Cincinnati (M.Ed in counseling psychology), the University of Oregon, Eugene (Ph.D. in health studies' coping and adaptation in chronic disease).

Network Seminar - October 20, 2011


The Bridgepoint Study has multiple phases, two of which have been completed. 

In the 1st phase, the research team found that the data collected at Bridgepoint Health via patient assessments mostly captured information related to biomedical health factors and physical functioning. They found very little data across the whole patient population on social, family, mental health and health experiences. Lack of systematized 'non-health' data is common across many health organizations and settings, and has been identified as a key issue to be addressed. 

This gap in data availability informed the 2nd phase of the Bridgepoint Study, which included the design of a conceptual framework and complexity analysis. These "tools" were designed to elicit a more comprehensive understanding of complex chronic disease and health experiences. The complexity analysis used a range of standardized measures and open-ended questions (collected in the format of a one-on-one interview) to capture socio-demographics, physical health, social health, mental health and health experiences/outcomes of the Bridgepoint population. The data collection phase of this study is now complete, which includes 116 interviews with patients from across care units at Bridgepoint Health. Coding and analysis of data are currently taking place. 

Preliminary findings reveal the following:

  • One-third of the 114 patients interviewed spoke of early life stressors prior to the onset of their illness which lie outside the health care system including death of loved ones at a young age (including children and spouse/partners), physical abuse, addictions, lack of finances and residence in unsafe neighborhoods.
  • Almost all individuals had physical mobility problems , relied on assistive devices such as wheelchairs, were taking multiple medications and experienced pain on a regular basis.
  • Mental health issues were highly prevalent with almost half of the population interviewed displaying significant depressive symptomology on an objective measure of depression.
  • Social support networks appeared robust with many patients having regular contact (i.e., visits) from family members and friends since hospitalization.
  • Most of the patients interviewed were regular users of health system resources (particularly acute care hospitals, emergency rooms and doctors). Their comments addressed a range of issues including difficulty accessing needed services, lack of staff and limited goal coaching (advice on how to manage health) within care settings, and poor communication of care plans within and across care settings.

Please click here to view the Seminar PowerPoint