News • Cardiovascular Network of Canada — CANet



Enhanced Cardiovascular Care — VIRTUES

Enrollment has commenced for a groundbreaking national study that will help revolutionize cardiovascular care. Anyone who has or may have a cardiovascular condition is welcome to participate. “VIRTUES equips healthcare providers with the up-to-date medical information about each patient, offering specific recommendations and various options to ensure the best possible care,” explains Dr. Anthony Tang, Scientific Director, and CEO of CANet. “The platform also educates patients on the rationale behind these recommendations, fostering a deeper understanding of their treatment.” VIRTUES is holistic digital health solution designed around Care Sets, each focusing on a specific condition. For patients with co-morbidities—multiple concurrent conditions—several Care Sets can be enabled simultaneously, working together to provide comprehensive treatment. New Care Sets can be added at any time, ensuring the platform’s continuous growth and adaptability. The goal is to improve and optimize patient-specific guideline-based therapy, outcomes, and health-care providers’ efficiency. “Our healthcare system in Canada faces sustainability challenges, and many patients struggle to receive adequate care due to geographic barriers, especially in rural regions,” says Dr. Ratika Parkash, Associate Scientific Director at CANet. “VIRTUES has the potential to reach every Canadian, regardless of location, ethnicity, or other barriers.” VIRTUES is a transformative initiative aimed at providing...

Mitewekan and CANet Forge Unwavering Partnership to Advance Health Initiatives

Amid the constantly changing healthcare and research landscape, CANet remains committed to supporting efforts to combine Indigenous knowledge systems and ways of doing with Western science. CANet aims to help improve care practices and health outcomes for Indigenous peoples in Canada. “We want to see equal, patient-oriented care, at the highest level, for everyone.” Dr. Anthony Tang, CANet CEO & Scientific Director In pursuit of the goals established in a previous ceremony near St. Philips, Pewaseskwan, in partnership with CANet, the Canadian Heart Function (CHF) Alliance, Brain-Heart Interconnectome, supported the establishment of Mitewekan, a council of Indigenous Elders, Knowledge Holders, Indigenous health leaders, and people with lived experience of cardiac conditions and allies from across the nation. Mitewekan ᒥᑌᐍᑲᐣ – Cree meaning “the spirit behind the heartbeat.” An Elder gifted the group the name in ceremony on Treaty 6 Territory at Mistawasis First Nation. It reflects connections, the spirit of community, and the significance of the heartbeat that unites us all. Mitewekan guides research alliances and healthcare organizations on the contextualization and adaptation required for culturally safe and responsive cardiovascular clinical practice and research. Recently, Mitewekan worked alongside artist Claire Shannon-Akiwenzie, a member of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First...

VIRTUES digital health platform helping heart patients and their providers

The Cardiovascular Network of Canada (CANet) is transforming health care for patients across the country through a holistic, comprehensive digital platform. “VIRTUES is a digital health platform for patients and caregivers to implement guidelines and expert-driven care,” says Dr. Anthony Tang, Scientific Director and CEO of CANet, the organization that initiated the VIRTUES project. Tang, who is also one of many investigators in the development of VIRTUES, says their online system aims to empower people to learn more about their heart conditions and engage in the best management of their health issue together with their health-care providers. VIRTUES consists of a series of Care Sets which focus on specific conditions. As patients may have co-morbidities, meaning when a patient has more than one disease or condition concurrently, several Care Sets can be enabled at the same time and work in tandem to ensure the best possible treatment. In addition, new Care Sets can be added at any time allowing continuous expansion of VIRTUES. “VIRTUES will provide the health-care provider with the up-to-date medical information about the individual person and give patient specific recommendations with options to the providers to consider implementing the best care,” Tang explains. He adds the platform also provides personalized education on...

Excellence in Patient Experience

In the practice of medicine, certain individuals stand out not just for their expertise but for their unwavering dedication to the patient experience. In honour of this year’s Patient Experience (PX) Week, CANet celebrates Canadian Cardiologists who exemplify a commitment to excellence in patient care.

First Nations, Inuit and Métis

The First Nations, Inuits and Métis theme is led by Dr. Malcolm King, a member of Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, and Dr. Alexandra King, a member of the Nipissing First Nation (Ontario), both from the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SASK, Canada. The CHF Alliance focuses on reconciliation research. Using etuaptmumk (Two-eyed Seeing)(1), we seek to interweave Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing with Western science and to work with Indigenous peoples to improve the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of HF. The vision is to find the harmonies between Indigenous and Western approaches to create sustainable, community-centered, culture-based approaches to HF research and care. Mitewekan – Indigenous advisory council Through to the establishment of Mitewekan (Cree word meaning “The spirit behind the heartbeat”), the network will reconceptualize HF to reflect Indigenous ways of knowing and being (2), and work with Indigenous people to learn how to best to incorporate Indigenous ways of doing in the prevention and care of HF. Mitewekan is a partnership between the Pewaseskwan Indigenous Wellness Research Group at the University of Saskatchewan, The Key First Nation, the Yorkton Tribal Council, the Cardiovascular Network of Canada (CANet) and the CHF Alliance. It’s made up...

February Heart Month — 10 Healthy Heart Tips

Up to 80% of premature heart disease and stroke cases are preventable through healthy lifestyle behaviours and habits. Here are 10 tips to help strengthen your heart health: 1. Add plant foods to your diet.1 Focusing on what you CAN’T eat isn’t always an effective way to alter your eating habits. The recently published “Portfolio Diet” is an evidence-based eating plan centered on what you can ADD to your menu. The diet incorporates nuts & seeds, plant protein, fiber, plant sterols, and oils – all of which help to lower your cholesterol and your risk of heart disease. Click here to access the Portfolio Diet info-graphic.   2. Get moving.2 When done regularly, moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity lowers your blood pressure and improves your blood cholesterol. A nutritious diet and physical activity in combination can help you to maintain a heart-healthy weight.   3. Stop smoking.3 Tobacco use increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Smoking contributes to plaque buildup in your arteries, increases the risk of blood clots, reduces the oxygen in your blood, and makes your heart work harder. The benefits of quitting smoking begin to take effect immediately after your last cigarette and within...

Why Promoting Representation is Critical to Advancing Cardiac Care for Canadian Patients

This non-profit is leading the way when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion, not only within its direct network, but with patients. Women’s visibility for their contributions to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) has gradually improved over the years as governments, academic institutions, and businesses put funding into their equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) initiatives. For years, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics have been predominantly male-dominated fields. It’s a trend that organizations like CANet — the Cardiovascular Network of Canada — are working to change, recognizing the significant barriers to entry that underrepresented groups not only face when joining these industries, but the role representation and equity must have in critical research and moving the fields forward. This vision isn’t new for CANet, who have been working to embed equity into their network for many years. “We want to turn the tides in what has been historically, a male-dominated field,” says Dr. Anthony Tang, Cardiologist and CEO, Scientific Director of CANet. We want to see equal, patient-oriented care, at the highest level, for everyone. Dr. Anthony Tang CANet, a non-profit, was established nearly a decade ago, built with the aim of promoting research and development in the cardiovascular...
Meet Leighton

Meet Leighton

"Working in the military, you get to a breaking point from time to time, and so I had taken up hockey to get my mind in check. I told people how much it was helping, and then on January 10th, 2016, I had my heart attack at 38 years old."
Cardiovascular Network of Canada enhances its digital health platform VIRTUES, optimizing the delivery of cardiac care to patients in all regions across Canada

Cardiovascular Network of Canada enhances its digital health platform VIRTUES, optimizing the delivery of cardiac care to patients in all regions across Canada

Eighteen inches. Dr. Kenneth Gin vividly recalls that number. “I recently attended a conference talk given by a General Physician (GP), who had brought a stack of papers with him on stage and measured it – 18 inches,” says Dr. Gin, Professor of Medicine and Head of Cardiology Division at Vancouver General Hospital. ” That was the stack of papers just from the last two years that he was expected to read up to stay current as a GP.” The growth of medical information currently outpaces doctors’ abilities to keep up with it. Patients, too, are living longer – encouraging news but also challenging, as they accrue more chronic medical conditions, which tend to interact with one another, but so do their treatments. “We are treating very complicated medical cases that require advanced knowledge that we can barely keep up with,” says Dr. Pavel Antiperovitch, Medical Development Lead for VIRTUES and an early career cardiologist at the London Health Science Centre. To help alleviate these specific problems, the Cardiovascular Network of Canada (CANet) has evolved its proven-successful digital health platform, VIRTUES. “With recent enhancements incorporated into VIRTUES, we have a platform designed to provide patients with the most relevant medical...
CANet Patient Partner Vince

Meet Vince

It was the year 2000 when Vince, a CANet Patient Partner supporting our VIRTUES Patient Working Group initiatives, experienced his first episode of Atrial Fibrillation, commonly termed AFib or AF. “I fainted dead away the first time I felt my heart go into AFib. I was 29, and I thought I was having a heart attack. Six years later, in 2006, I started cycling to work. I minded my diet and gradually shed 90 pounds to a healthy weight which I maintained for years. But despite being fit and in the best shape I had ever known, in 2019, my AFib episodes increased in frequency, intensity, and length. We quickly learned I had valvular heart disease, my mitral and aortic valves were failing, and my heart was enlarging. I needed surgery, and we began planning for early 2020.
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