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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sharing Innovative Practices

Mark Dobrow, Director, Analysis and Reporting, Health Council of Canada

I attend many meetings across the country on the good, the bad and the ugly of our health care system. In recent years, it is rare that at one of these meetings or conferences, I won’t hear someone say pejoratively that ‘Canada is the home of the pilot study.

To be frank, I’m growing a little weary of hearing it. While I appreciate the message that we need less study and more action, this anti-pilot study chorus also creates, however unintended, an underlying message that the testing and evaluating of innovative ideas is in some way sub-optimal.

Personally, I would encourage more pilot studies of innovative ideas and practices, but at the same time I would also expect that the results of those pilot studies be made available where others can benefit from them. Unfortunately, this is where things break down in Canada. Even though we live in the digital age, we don’t always take full advantage to facilitate the exchange of ideas. While most innovative practices are not going to be written up in academic journals, if you’re contributing to innovation in this country, where do you share this information? If you are seeking innovative ideas, where to you look for this information?

The federal, provincial and territorial governments have highlighted this challenge, making the identification of best practices and the highlighting of health innovation a key part of the Health Council’s mandate. The Health Innovation Portal represents a key part of our effort to address this, putting in one place all things related to health innovation that we do.

A key part of the Health Innovation Portal is the searchable database of innovative practices. It currently includes over 240 innovative practices representing a wide range of health care themes from across the country. Our goal was to create a user-friendly search tool with useful outputs that can be tailored to your needs.

We will be updating the Health Innovation Portal on an ongoing basis, so your feedback is welcomed and encouraged. But more than that, your contributions to the database are what will make this tool of value to the Canadian health care system. If you are making extra efforts to improve health care in your area, you need to let others know.

Please send us details on your innovative practices along with information on what you have learned from them to and we will review them for the database. The result – better ideas for better health care.

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