Validation of administrative and primary care electronic medical record derived frailty algorithms

MSFHR provided funding to support Wong’s research as part of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Network in Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovation (PIHCI) initiative Quick Strikes program. Quick Strike research projects support rapid turn-around, time sensitive, cross-jurisdictional research studies that align with the pan-Canadian Networks Quick Strike research priorities which are intended to show the potential of the Network to address questions of relevance to multiple provinces and territories in a one-year timeframe.

Frailty is a significant and growing issue in Canada. By 2025, two million Canadians will be living with frailty and 3.75 million Canadians will be caregivers. Characterized by reduced strength, endurance and physiological function, those who are frail or at risk of becoming increasingly frail are less resilient to recover from significant life events and respond to acute care treatments, and are vulnerable to further decline, dependence and death.

Dr. Sabrina Wong of the University of British Columbia’s School of Nursing and Centre for Health Services and Policy Research worked with Dr. Tyler Williamson from the University of Calgary and Dr. Alan Katz from the University of Manitoba on the development of tools to aid in the early detection and accurate identification of frailty in seniors, to supporting healthy aging and the needs of older adults.

Using data from seniors 65 years of age and older in British Columbia, Alberta, and Manitoba, they developed an algorithm for use with administrative health data and another for use with electronic medical record data. Researchers also engaged primary care clinicians and patients in developing ways to identify frailty and to detect the range of frailty in patients to be used as part of the algorithms.

Finally, they sought to implement the electronic medical record algorithm in the Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network’s (CPCSSN) web-based reporting tool, InQUIRE (Interactive Quality Improvement Reporting Environment) to provide timely feedback on frailty back to primary care clinicians.

The results of Wong’s study will provide new knowledge that could inform both clinical care and jurisdictional level health services planning across Canada in order to improve patient care, patients' and caregivers' quality of life and better use of the healthcare system.