The primary goal of the Real World Evidence Unit at the University of Alberta is to collaborate with stakeholders to generate academically rigorous and timely high-quality evidence that supports decision making. Canada’s Drug and Health Technology Agency (CADTH) recently selected the Alberta Drug and Therapeutic Evaluation Consortium (ADTEC; led by the Real World Evidence Unit UofA with partners University of Calgary and Institute of Health Economics) as one of the core networks for their Post-Market Drug and Evaluation program; we are thrilled to be part of the CADTH core network team.
CADTH engages core research networks in Canada that have methodological expertise, access to data, and experience in refining and conducting research queries that are relevant to decision makers and health care funders. This may include conduct of systematic reviews, analysis of real-world data that leverages the world class data assets available in Alberta, to inform knowledge gaps on use, safety, and effectiveness of drugs and other therapeutics.
“The opportunity to be selected identifies our expertise and the world class data assets in Alberta,” remarks Dr. Scott Klarenbach. Professor of Medicine, Director of Alberta Drug and Technology Evaluation Consortium and Real World Evidence Consortium.
“We have been systematically under-utilizing the high quality, routinely captured data that’s available to us in Alberta. Having an infrastructure and a mechanism available that allows understanding of the data, appropriate methodological techniques to use data in an intelligent way can provide insights and guidance on most appropriate care, identification of care gaps, real world safety, effectiveness, and use of therapeutics that inform optimal clinical care and ensure health care system sustainability.”
Alberta has made a name for itself in establishing the province as a research hub. We have a network of academics at the three partner institutions that are committed to conducting academically rigorous, decision-grade research, as well project leaders, support, and administration that provides the necessary infrastructure. We also have access to evolving computing platforms that allow us to work with these large data sets. We have data repositories that aren’t just some of the best in Canada – but also worldwide.
With the emergence of the province-wide electronic medical record Connect Care, there is a future opportunity to conduct real-world evidence studies in Alberta that could never be conducted anywhere else.
“There is interest by national and international organizations to leverage real world evidence to a greater extent than they have in the past” says Klarenbach. “Having this real-world evidence unit, the consortium, and the funding from CADTH, will grow our capacity within the University of Alberta and the province of Alberta to conduct research that informs decision and policy making.”
For many academic researchers, while there is the academic imperative to publish papers and obtain grants, what is ultimately satisfying is executing high quality research that informs policy and informs decision makers, with direct impact on care of patients and how our health care system operates. This partnership with CADTH will allow us to have an understanding of the important questions that are facing decision makers both in Alberta and across Canada and the opportunity to rigorously answer those questions and provide them with guidance.
This CADTH selection demonstrates that Alberta has some of the best researchers in this field in Canada, and we are excited to show the rest of Canada what we can offer.
Scott Klarenbach (MD, MSc Health Economics; University of Alberta)
Jeff Round (PhD; Institute of Health Economics)
Tyler Williamson (PhD; University of Calgary)
Fiona Clement (PhD; University of Calgary)
Dean Eurich (Clinical Pharmacist, PhD; University of Alberta)
Lawrence Richer (MD, MSc; University of Alberta)
University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta