Policy Implementation and Communication Lessons from Alberta’s Acute and Primary Care Environments During the COVID‑19 Response

Leslie, Myles | $429,646

Alberta The University of Calgary 2020 CIHR Operating Grant

As international, national, or provincial agencies develop policies to combat an outbreak like COVID-19, these policies will always be interpreted through the local context and culture of the healthcare workers on the front lines. Context and culture are important elements of any public health response, not just in communities, but in clinical settings as well. This project will use a mix of qualitative methods to evaluate how COVID‑19 preparedness and response policies are being transmitted and implemented in acute and primary care facilities in the province of Alberta. Through site visits, task analyses, and interviews with public health professionals and clinicians at the provincial level, we will conduct a systematic assessment of how policies, protocols, priorities and communication channels are functioning. We will be asking our participants how they are implementing and prioritizing: staff, case, and space management policies; referral and isolation protocols; and surveillance and risk communication priorities in preparation for the appearance of COVID-19. As well as offering a detailed description of how things are playing out on the ground, our research will identify gaps, challenges, and opportunities for improving existing response efforts. We will be writing reports and papers that help Alberta and other provinces plan for future public health emergencies. These reports and papers will focus on how context and culture impact clinical capabilities for public health preparedness and policy implementation.

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