Quality improvement of stroke surveillance, prevention and care in a sentinel health region

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in BC and the leading cause of brain disability. Stroke is also estimated to be the most expensive disease in Canada that, until recently, was considered untreatable. My research team is evaluating a three-step stroke program in the Vancouver Island Health Region to improve prevention and treatment options. The first step will be developing a surveillance system to collect information on all strokes in the region and to find people who are at high risk. Next, the project team will work on providing new tools to help patients and their doctors plan ahead and implement life style changes that will reduce stroke risk. The third component will use Stroke Victoria's computer system as a tool for quality improvement initiatives in stroke care. The team will evaluate every stage of the project to assess the effectiveness of this approach for saving lives, improving care and reducing the costs of health care delivery. Stroke is so debilitating, complex and costly that it is worth investing in innovative approaches to prevention. We believe relevant, rapid and rigorous epidemiology is key.