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Friday, October 7, 2011

The Canadian Academy of Health Sciences discusses the direction of health system reform in Canada

We were at the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences annual forum in Ottawa on September 15, called “Smarter Caring for a Healthier Canada: Embracing System Innovation.”  The keynote address was delivered by Brian Golden (Rotman School of Management), who presented his thoughts on the direction of health system reform in Canada. This was followed by four panel sessions covering the topics of Equity, Efficiency, Sustainability and Community. 

The Equity panel discussed how current inequities in health, health care access and outcomes can be overcome with system reforms.
Presenters: Nancy Edwards (University of Ottawa), Margo Greenwood (National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health), Louise Nasmith (University of British Columbia)

The Efficiency panel presented their thoughts on how the health care system can become more efficient through strategic planning and the use of health information technologies, and how personal privacy can be protected in light of these new information technologies. 
Presenters: Dr. Jack Kitts (CEO, Ottawa Hospital and Chair if the Health Council of Canada), Patricia Kosseim (Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada), Bartha Knoppers (McGill University), Robyn Tamblyn (McGill University)

The Sustainability panel conveyed the collective message that sustainability goes beyond financial dimensions and that smarter policies are needed to contain costs.
Presenters: Don Drummond (formerly Chief Economist, TD Financial Group), Jeremiah Hurley (McMaster University), Kevin McNamara (Deputy Minister of Health and Wellness, Nova Scotia), Pierre-Gerlier Forest (formerly Chief Scientist, Health Canada)

Finally, the Community panel presented their thoughts on the day’s discussion and highlighted aspects of health system reform that may have been missed by the other panels. 
Presenters: Cindy Blackstock (First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada), Sharon Soholzberg-Gray (former president of the Canadian Healthcare Association), Anne Snowdon (Ivey Centre for Health Innovation) and Andre Picard (Globe and Mail)

Dr. Jeff Turnbull (Past President, Canadian Medical Association) presented his thoughts on a new health system that gives universal access to quality and patient-centred care that is adequately resourced and delivered to all Canadians. He wrapped up by calling for meaningful accountability and a national framework for reporting on health system performance. 

Slides of the presentations are available on the CAHS website:

Susan Brien, Policy Lead, Health Council of Canada

Key Words: Sustainability, Health Innovation

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