November 9, 2016 – TORONTO – The Stroke Clinical Handbook has positively impacted the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHTLC) policy goal of adding accountability to best practice standards and improved patient care.

The OSN recently released the Strategy for Patient Oriented Research (SPOR) Demonstration Project Final Report: Ensuring Quality in the Implementation of Quality Based Procedures – Stroke (EQUIP-Stroke).

The EQUIP-Stroke project aimed to evaluate the implementation of the Phase One stroke QBP Clinical Handbook recommendations i.e.: emergency departments; acute inpatient and; inpatient rehabilitation settings, across Ontario. And, through this evaluation, advance and inform broader QBP implementation.

‘The EQUIP-Stroke project is an important study of Ontario’s Stroke System,” said Dr. Mark Bayley, Medical Director of the Brain & Spinal Cord Rehab Program at Toronto Rehab and Chair of the group responsible for the report. “It shows that the introduction of clear quality standards for stroke care tied to planned funding incentives, accelerated improvements in access to best practice stroke care in Ontario.

“Furthermore, we found that motivated organizational leaders and clinicians were important to successful implementation, We also found that organizations that sought Stroke Distinction from Accreditation Canada were more likely to achieve best practices,” he said.

The EQUIP-Stroke project had a particular focus on the perspectives of patients and families, how the clinical handbook was being used, impacts on the health system and patient outcomes and understanding how undergoing Stroke Distinction improved stroke care/QBP implementation. Patients and families identified what was important to them (e.g. timely communication) and how patients and families want to be involved in health care planning (e.g. meet with system planners).

The report found that while there are areas for improvement, the approach to quality and best practice implementation is a reasonable policy initiative.

The research was completed over 18 months (October, 2014 – March, 2016) through the collective effort and expertise of many organizations and individuals including; patients and families; MOHLTC; Health Quality Ontario (HQO); Ontario SPOR Support Unit; Ontario Regional Stroke Networks; Patients Canada; Institute of Clinical Evaluative Sciences; Local Health Integration Networks (LHINS); Li Ka Shing Knowledge Translation Institute, Health System Performance Research Network and Accreditation Canada.

The results of this research serves to inform the MOHLTC, LHINs, Hospitals and Ontario’s 11 Regional Stroke Networks regarding effective QBP implementation through; the experiences and voices of patients/families and health care providers; and examination of policy impacts.

You can download the report in PDF here.


The Ontario Stroke Network provides provincial leadership and planning for the continuum of stroke care in Ontario—from health promotion and stroke prevention to acute care, recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration. As of April 1, 2016, the OSN and Cardiac Care Network of Ontario have come together as a single entity to ensure a comprehensive and integrated approach to cardiac, vascular and stroke care in Ontario.


Patrick Moore, Communications Manager
Cardiac Care Network of Ontario, Stroke Services
(c) 647-308-4732