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Leading the conversation on healthcare

More than 100 experts gathered at Queen’s to discuss a national ‘innovation’ agenda for the sector. 

Canada has a healthcare system that costs $315 billion a year, and involves 14 provincial, territorial and federal governments. What would a national healthcare "innovation" agenda look like?

Dr. Peter Vaughn Deputy Minister, Department of Health and Wellness (Nova Scotia) speaks during the Deputy Ministers Panel at the 2016 Queen’s Health Policy Change Conference in Toronto, Ont. (Supplied Photo)

Last week, Queen’s brought together more than 100 senior leaders from business, government, academia and healthcare delivery from across Canada in Toronto to address this critical issue at the 2016 Queen’s Health Policy Change Conference: Transforming Canadian Healthcare through Innovation: The Agenda.

“The Queen’s conference model is unique in Canada,” says Scott Carson, Stauffer-Dunning Chair and Executive Director, Queen’s School of Policy Studies. “We bring together a unique group of senior leaders from a wide spectrum of healthcare sectors for an in-depth dialogue focused on innovation and change in healthcare policy.”

A Canadian innovation agenda was examined from many perspectives: supply chain management, funding systems, managing waste and duplication, corporate innovation, entrepreneurs, specific populations (military, elderly, mental health), and government leadership.

“For many Canadians, our healthcare system is a central part of what defines Canada, but despite popular opinion, our system is very expensive and not performing well at all when compared internationally,” says Dr. Carson. “Through this series, we bring the substantial academic strength of Queen’s University to the table to lead this important national conversation for Canada.”

More than 40 leaders and experts led the discussions, including: David Naylor (former president, University of Toronto); David O’Toole, CEO, Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI); Graham Sher, CEO, Canadian Blood Services; Neil Fraser, President of Medtronic; and deputy ministers of health from Health Canada, Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Participants from Queen’s included: Health Sciences Dean Richard Reznick; Chancellor-Emeritus David Dodge; Elspeth Murray, Associate Dean from Smith School; Chris Simpson, past-president of the Canadian Medical Association; and from Queen's Policy Studies, Don Drummond, David Walker and Duncan Sinclair. In addition, the conversation was informed by Queen's professors, John Muscadere, Scientific Director, Canadian Frailty Network, and Alice Aiken, Scientific Director, Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR), as panellists.

This was the fourth Queen’s Health Policy Change Conference, a joint venture of the School of Policy Studies, Faculty of Health Sciences and Smith School of Business. The series has brought together more than 500 leaders from Canada and the world, and has resulted in nearly three dozen publications. Two books resulting from previous conferences, Toward a Healthcare Strategy for Canadians and Managing a Canadian Healthcare Strategy are available on McGill-Queen’s University Press.