Thanks to a shared program between Providence and Vancouver Coastal Health, moving evidence into practice to improve patient care has been made a lot easier. An example of the important work being mobilized through the regional Providence/VCH Knowledge Translation (KT) Challenge is being done by a team of point-of-care clinicians and led by Michelle Carter, a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Mental Health Program at Providence, and mentor and CHEOS scientist, Dr. Joseph Puyat. The team is looking at the implementation of a clinical toolkit for monitoring people on clozapine, a medication used for treatment-resistant schizophrenia. Clozapine is very effective but carries with it increased risk of side effects compared to other antipsychotics. The two primary side effects are agranulocytosis, a serious condition that results in a reduced white blood cell count and a compromised immune system, and myocarditis, an inflammatory disease of the heart muscle.
Specifically, the team will adapt a clinical toolkit that was developed and implemented at St. Paul’s Hospital in 2015 and apply it to Vancouver General Hospital (VGH).
“This project is one of the first clinical practice collaborations in psychiatry between PHC and VCH – it could provide a blueprint for future regional initiatives,” says Michelle.