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Ontario investing $20 million in health innovation

Dave WilliamsTORONTO – The provincial government is adopting all six recommendations from the Ontario Health Innovation Council (OHIC) to support more Ontario-made health technologies, improve patient care and spur economic growth. As part of the plan, it will establish a new $20 million Health Technology Innovation Evaluation Fund to support made-in-Ontario technologies.

The government says it will also:

• Create a dedicated Office of the Chief Health Innovation Strategist to champion Ontario as a centre for health technology innovation
• Use newly created Innovation Broker positions to connect innovators and researchers with opportunities in the healthcare system
• Streamline the adoption of healthcare innovations across the health system
• Shift to procurement practices that focus on outcomes, such as fewer hospital readmissions and the long-term value of medical devices
• Invest in the assessment of emerging innovative health technologies to get those products to market faster.

“I am very excited about the Ontario Government’s bold response to our council’s recommendations, which will be pivotal in enabling person-centred care, creating a more sustainable healthcare system and supporting a growing economy,” said Dr. Dave Williams (pictured), Chair of the Ontario Health Innovation Council and CEO of Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket.

“By putting innovation at the core of our healthcare system, we will empower the brightest minds and talented entrepreneurs to find new solutions that will enable people to manage their wellness and interact with clinicians in more effective ways.”

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.

OHIC delivered its report, The Catalyst, to the government in late 2014. Ontario is the third-largest hub for biotech and the fourth largest biomedical research centre in North America. Ontario’s medical devices sector employs more than 17,000 people in 900 manufacturing firms, accounting for 49 percent of total Canadian medical devices employment.

“Today’s announcement recognizes the depth of innovation that exists here in Ontario, and its role both in transforming our healthcare system and in improving the patient experience,” said Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

“With the support of Ontario’s new Office of the Chief Health Innovation Strategist, those ideas and inventions will make their way into our healthcare system – be it a hospital, a doctor’s office, or a long-term care home – to change the way we deliver care for the benefit of patients. It’s a win for Ontario’s patients, a win for the healthcare system, and a win for Ontario’s economy.”

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