Recommendations call for culture transformation within Canada's health care system

TORONTO, Nov. 28, 2011 /CNW/ - New research presented today by the International Centre for Health Innovation at the Richard Ivey School of Business calls for a transformation of the culture of Canada's health care system that would shift the balance of power from health providers to consumers.

The Centre presented findings and recommendations from its latest white paper, "Strengthening Health Systems Through Innovation: Lessons Learned" at the Ivey Global Health Conference 2011 in Toronto, which brought together health care providers and administrators, policy makers and business leaders to address the increasing pressures facing health care systems.

"We must transform the current, traditional, highly 'prescriptive' approach to health care into one that places consumers at the centre of service delivery models," said Dr. Anne Snowdon, Chair of the Centre, and lead author of the study. "This means redesigning health service environments to create consumer choice, and engaging consumers directly in the choice of providers to select health services that meet their personal health and wellness goals."

The white paper draws lessons from seven comparator countries (U.K., Australia, Germany, U.S., France, Switzerland and the Netherlands), which formed the foundation for the Centre's key recommendations for Canada's health care system. The Centre's recommendations include the following:

  • Create financial incentives using insurance programs or personal health budgets that empower consumer decision making to drive competition and innovation among health system stakeholders.
  • Transform Canada's health system from a dominant acute care focus to a community-based system focused on chronic illness management and prevention. Create accountability systems whereby health providers, and physicians in particular, assume 24/7 responsibility for managing health and wellness in communities.
  • Make the case for innovation adoption by empirically measuring and capturing the impact of innovation on health system sustainability and patient outcomes.

The comparative study of the countries profiled in this analysis revealed innovations in four areas: integration of health services across the continuum of care, accountability for health care in communities, financial models that drive competition, and the role of consumers in engaging in the management of their own health and wellness.

"No single country has managed to completely transform their health system to achieve sustainability; however, we found that a number of countries have made impressive strides in improving quality of care, and this is where we need to draw lessons for our own system," said Dr. Snowdon. "As we confront the question of how we continue to sustain and improve health care to meet twenty-first century needs, one of the critically essential areas that demands action is our ability to adopt innovation, and a major part of achieving this is by continuing to grow our leadership capacities."

The Ivey Global Health Conference 2011 is hosted by the International Centre for Health Innovation annually and provides a platform for leveraging collective knowledge and discussing best practices to advance the agenda to move innovation adoption into health systems.

"Despite the rapidly increasing financial support we are investing in health care, we know many Canadians are still not getting the health care they need or deserve," said Carol Stephenson, Dean, Richard Ivey School of Business. "The good news is that nobody is arguing for the status quo. The research from Ivey's International Centre for Health Innovation confirms the most effective and sustainable health care systems arm citizens with the tools and resources to manage their own health and welfare in partnership with health providers. This kind of change requires strong leaders who know how to create and support cultures of innovation."

About The International Centre for Health Innovation:

The International Centre for Health Innovation, established in 2009 through seed funding from Industry Canada, is situated within the Richard Ivey School of Business at The University of Western Ontario. As the only health centre in a business school focused on innovation adoption, we are dedicated to being a catalyst for a health system that is sustainable, productive and embraces innovation in Canada. The Centre:

  1. Cultivates leadership capacity through educational and leadership development programs targeting current and future leaders in the health system,
  2. Emphasizes education that equips students and program participants with the ability to identify, understand, embrace and implement innovation in real health sector environments,
  3. Empowers and builds collaborative partnerships between government, industry, clinicians, health stakeholders, researchers and founders to drive innovation adoption,
  4. Supports and disseminates knowledge and evidence that our leaders need to embrace innovation, drive change and improve the productivity of our health care system and of our economy.

For further information on the Centre and how it is changing the culture of innovation in Canada, visit:

SOURCE Richard Ivey School of Business

For further information:

or an interview, please contact:
Andrea Rosebrugh
International Centre for Health Innovation
519-661-2111, ext. 89026

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