Ontario Investing in Health Innovation and Research
The Ontario Health Innovation Council (OHIC) was established by the Ontario government in November 2013. It included experts from the health care, research, industry, and not-for-profit sectors who looked at ways to accelerate the adoption of new technologies in the health care system and support the growth and competitiveness of Ontario's health technology sector.
The council was asked to deliver an evidence-based report with recommendations that would:
- Facilitate technological innovations that promote health and well-being, improve access to health and health services, and deliver efficient, quality care
- Use the purchasing power of the province and broader public sector to accelerate the growth of the health technology sector
- Expand the adoption of innovative new technologies more broadly across the health care sector, including in hospitals, but also at home and long-term care facilities.
OHIC submitted its report, The Catalyst, to government in December 2014.
The government has accepted all of the council's recommendations, which include:
- Establish an Office of the Chief Health Innovation Strategist (OCHIS) to provide the leadership to make Ontario a major centre for health technology innovation. The OCHIS will collaborate with government and stakeholders to identify and work to align innovation efforts with system priorities and population needs.
- Appoint Innovation Brokers to connect innovators with the resources needed to advance health technology innovations into practice. They will be a single point of access to health system decision makers, patients and clinicians, and will assist in supporting the development and commercialization of innovative health technologies.
- Invest in made-in-Ontario technologies through the creation of a four-year, $20 million Health Technology Innovation Fund to support pre-market evaluations and early adoption of innovative, made-in-Ontario health technologies. This funding will facilitate the evaluation of innovations in specific care settings and across the health sector.
- Engage key stakeholders, including procurement officials and health professionals, to define health care procurement priorities and strategies. The focus will be placed on addressing health system priorities and needs rather than the day-to-day purchasing of specific goods and services. Individual health care providers will work with shared service organizations to obtain and source innovative technologies. Finally, the health system will invest in the skills and knowledge required to make strategic procurement possible.
- Continuously strive to remove barriers to innovation. The OCHIS will conduct reviews of programs, processes and activities to reduce overlap, get products to market quicker, and improve alignment with health system priorities and population needs.
- Develop, evaluate and coordinate the best ways to adopt and spread the use of innovative health technologies across Ontario's health sector, including hospitals, home care, community care and health promotion stakeholders.