BC SUPPORT Unit FAQs

Have a question about the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) or the BC SUPPORT Unit? Read our FAQs below, or if email us at info@bcsupportunit.ca.

What's SPOR?

SPOR is an acronym. It stands for Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR), a national initiative led by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. This strategy was developed “to foster evidence-informed health care by bringing innovative diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to the point of care.”

SPOR is intended to improve health outcomes and enhance patients’ health care experience by integrating research evidence at all levels in the health system. This presents an important opportunity to make health research more responsive to health care system priorities focused on improved patient outcomes.

What's health research?

An organized way of collecting and analyzing information to understand and improve our health.
We’re changing health research to become more patient-oriented.

What's patient-oriented research?

Research that:

  • Is done in partnership with patients
  • Answers research questions that matter to patients
  • Aims to improve healthcare

How does the BC SUPPORT Unit define patients?

We define patients as individuals with personal experience of a health issue or their informal caregivers, including family and friends.

(Note: While we use “patient” as an overarching term for simplicity and consistency, we understand that some people prefer terms such as “people with lived experience”, “client”, “consumer” or “citizen”, and we acknowledge the validity of those terms.)

What does "SUPPORT" mean? What are SUPPORT Units?

SUPPORT is an acronym. It stands for Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials. SUPPORT Units are a central element of the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research. They function as research service centres to provide specialized expertise and infrastructure for patient-oriented research. The BC SUPPORT Unit is one of 11 SUPPORT Units established across the country.

What do SUPPORT Units do?

As described by the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research, SUPPORT Units:

  • Provide expertise on patient-oriented research
  • Lead and facilitate decision-making
  • Foster implementation of best practices, and
  • Promote collaboration among patients, researchers, health care providers and health system decision makers

Does the BC SUPPORT Unit work with other SUPPORT Units across the country?

Yes. We work nationally on specific initiatives.

Why doesn’t the BC SUPPORT Unit have “SPOR” in its name the way some of the other SUPPORT Units do?

Simply to keep the name shorter and the acronyms fewer. Whether a SUPPORT Unit or a SPOR SUPPORT Unit, we are all related to SPOR (Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research) in the same way.

How is the BC SUPPORT Unit engaging with patients?

The Unit is working with all stakeholders - people with personal experience of the health care system, their families and informal caregivers, researchers, health care providers and health system decision-makers - to foster meaningful and active collaboration in setting research priorities and in the governance and conduct of research.

This is being done by developing the tools and mechanisms to recruit, train and support all of these stakeholders.

How are SUPPORT Units funded?

We are funded equally by federal contributions through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and provincial contributions through a variety of funding partners.

What is the BC SUPPORT Unit's budget?

The Unit is receiving $79.96 million of cash and in-kind contributions over five years from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and multiple BC funding partners.

Is the BC SUPPORT Unit connected to the BC health research strategy?

Yes. We are advancing a number of initiatives of the BC health research strategy, including those related to patient engagement in health research and building capacity to share and use research evidence.