The project to create a SPOR support unit in Quebec emerged through an initiative of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). SPOR (Strategy for Patient-oriented Research) stems from a priority introduced in the CIHR’s IPPH 2009–2014 Strategic Plan. This strategy was the result of a broad consultation conducted with governments, patients, individuals and organizations working in research and health and social services, including decision-makers, academic institutions, charities and the private sector.

Recognition, Promotion and Development

Our mandate has driven a number of developments and choices:

  • Recognition of the experiential knowledge of patients, the public and all other stakeholders;
  • The use of research in a real context;
  • The development of implantation science;
  • Adherence to the learning health system (LHS) concept.
Fulfilling Our Ambitions

POR gives us the means to achieve our ambitions by making it possible to establish a LHS.

This vision pushes us to embrace the quintuple aim and mobilize researchers and health and social services, with and for the benefit of the public, in an effort to improve:

  • Patient experience and outcomes
  • The health of the population
  • The efficiency of the system
  • The well-being of health and social services workers
  • Health and social services equity

Learn more

PATienTS program

The Unité de soutien SSA Québec is launching the Life Trajectory Improvement and Innovation Partnerships in Transition to Sustainable Health (PATienTS program) in collaboration with the four integrated university health and social services networks (RUISSSs). Through the PATienTS program, the activation of the Québec learning health system is being carried out in the RUISSS territories of Québec through four tangible projects over a one-year period.

Continuous Quality Improvement

The Ministère de la santé et des services sociaux du Québec has mandated the Unité de soutien au système de santé apprenant (SSA) Québec to structure and deploy continuous quality improvement (hereinafter referred to as CQI) in order to contribute to the emergence of a learning health system in which the scientific expertise recognized in CQI in Quebec allows for the improvement of practices in the network. Find out more

Summit « Activer le système de santé apprenant québécois : de la théorie à la pratique »

On May 11, 2023, the Unité de soutien au système de santé apprenant Québec held a seminar entitled Activating Québec’s learning healthcare system: from theory to practice, as part of the 90th Acfas conference. The aim of this event was to continue the reflections and exchanges initiated at the symposium “Building Québec’s learning healthcare system together” held in March 2022.

GMF apprenant program

The Ministère de la santé et des services sociaux du Québec has mandated the Unité de soutien au système de santé apprenant (SSA) Québec to develop the GMF apprenant program. The project involves developing a program to help family medicine groups adopt a culture of reflexivity and continuous quality improvement based on the quintuple aim. A physician advisor and a research coordinator are joining the Unit to carry out this mandate.

In late 2021 and early 2022, the Unit holds two major events:

  • The summit « Accès aux données : transparence et consentement numérique » on Octobre 28, 2021.
    • At the conclusion of the event, the Unit issued six recommendations to improve access to health and social services data in the province. Its approach is part of a desire to empower individuals to understand and choose in an informed and modern way the scope and use of their data by 2022. Find out more
  • “Building Québec’s Learning Health System Together” summit on March 24, 2022.
    • The population and key members of the Québec health and social services network gathered to build the future. This event was an opportunity to initiate a real shift towards partnership and continuous improvement of our health system. The event is available for replay.

In 2022, the Unité de soutien SSA Québec, with the expertise of the firm Léger, is administering a survey designed to question the Québec population regarding the improvement of the health system and the sharing of their medical information.

  • The results indicate that Quebecers want to be part of the solution, trust the science, value the well-being of the network’s human resources and support digital consent.

Renewed funding

The Unité de soutien au système de santé apprenant (SSA) Québec has had its funding renewed as a provincial unit of the national network of the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) until March 31, 2026, and has made continuous improvement of the Québec health system a joint project with the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux du Québec.

In 2020, Université de Sherbrooke became the Unit trustee. The executive team moved to the Université de Sherbrooke’s Longueuil campus.

  • New professional resources within the executive team (project management, communications and finance)
  • New expertises in connection with the LHS. Find out more

Dr. Antoine Groulx was appointed as the designated scientific director and transitioned into the role alongside Dr. Alain Vanasse. Over the following months, the Unit took on a number of key files:

  • Second extension of phase 1
  • Submission of a renewal proposal to CIHR
  • Pandemic COVID-19: adapting the service offer
  • Name change: the Unité de soutien SRAP du Québec becomes the Unité de soutien SSA Québec

  • Constitution of the community of practice of patients and citizens in research of Québec
  • Launch of the Priorité Patient competition in partnership with Oncopole
  • Final evaluation by an external firm
  • Extension of Phase 1 granted

The Unit hired an outside firm to carry out a mid-term assessment. Changes were also made at the management level:

  • Dr. Alain Vanasse is appointed Principal researcher and takes over as Scientific Director
  • Mr. Mathieu Trépanier (in memoriam) is appointed to the General Management
  • Mr. Joe Guillaume Pelletier is appointed General Manager
  • Launch of the RSIJ (Aires ouvertes) competition in partnership with the MSSS and the FRQS
  • Launch of a targeted program in community care in partnership with the MSSS and the FRQS
  • The Unit’s Summit on Data Access

Ginette Bélec was named general director. Subsequently:

  • The launch of the Unit’s Learning Health System Demonstration Project
  • Organization of the conference Conditions d’exercice et de réussite de la recherche axée sur le patient at the ACFAS summit.
  • The establishment of the joint working table on the use of clinical data from digital medical records in partnership with the INESSS.

The Unit received funding and built its team and service proposal with its partners the MSSS, the FRQ, the RUISSS, McGill University, Université de Montréal, Université Laval and Université de Sherbrooke. It created its first cohort of grant recipients in partnership with the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS). Eleven people received support.

The Unit began to take shape. An agreement between the institutions was signed (the four universities with a faculty of medicine) and a governing framework was adopted.

A target grant competition program was developed in collaboration with the FRQ and the RUISSS.

Dr. Marie-Dominique Beaulieu was the Unit’s first Scientific Director from 2014 to 2017. She was also the general director for two years.

Eleven units have been created (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, the Maritimes, Nunavut, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Yukon).