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Ontario appoints chief health innovation strategist

William CharnetskiOntario has selected William Charnetski (pictured) as the province’s new Chief Health Innovation Strategist. Charnetski is an accomplished national and global executive with over a decade of experience in developing integrated health solutions in Canada and around the world in the global pharmaceutical industry.

“Innovation and commercialization are keys to both growing our economy and creating a more sustainable healthcare system,” said Mr. Charnetski. “I am looking forward to working with innovators, entrepreneurs and healthcare providers to find new collaborative solutions to provide better, faster care for patients and help create jobs for Ontarians.”

Mr. Charnetski most recently worked in the United Kingdom with AstraZeneca, one of the world’s largest innovative pharmaceutical companies. He led the global government affairs and public policy function and had responsibilities for corporate social responsibility and regional communications. His team delivered tangible business results while enhancing health outcomes in many places around the world.

Prior to that, he was VP, Integrated Health Solutions, and General Counsel for AstraZeneca Canada. He was also a leader of the industry’s work with the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and other Ontario ministries to help bring an integrated approach to adopting value-adding innovative pharmaceutical technologies to Ontario.

His work across the Canadian healthcare system has included building collaborative approaches to adopting innovative value-adding technologies across a variety of fields of study. In particular, for many years he has been a leader with the Ivey International Centre for Health Innovation at Western University – first as a member of its Advisory Council and now as a Health Innovator-in-Residence.

Mr. Charnetski was an original member of the Steering Committee of the Centre for the Advancement of Health Innovation (within the Conference Board of Canada) and a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute of Health Economics in Edmonton.

This appointment is one of the key recommendations of the Ontario Health Innovation Council’s (OHIC) report to champion Ontario as a leading centre not only for new and innovative health technology, but also for bringing that technology to market both here in Ontario and around the world.

The province is moving forward on all six of the council’s recommendations, which include:

• Establishing a new $20-million Health Technology Innovation Evaluation Fund to support made-in-Ontario technologies.

• Using newly created Innovation Broker positions to connect innovators and researchers with opportunities in the healthcare system.

• Streamlining the adoption of healthcare innovations across the health system.

• Shifting to procurement practices that focus on outcomes, such as fewer hospital readmissions and the long-term value of medical devices.

• Investing in the assessment of emerging innovative health technologies to get those products to market faster.

Investing in Ontario’s health technology innovations is part of the government’s plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which is providing patients with faster access to the right care, better home and community care, the information they need to stay healthy and a healthcare system that’s sustainable for generations to come.

“The appointment of the Chief Health Innovation Strategist is a big step forward for the government’s commitment to adopt our council recommendations,” said Dr. Dave Williams, Chair of the Ontario Health Innovation Council and CEO of Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket. “He will play a pivotal role in connecting innovators and entrepreneurs to our healthcare system, helping people to manage their wellness and interact with clinicians in more effective ways.”

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