UNLEASHING INNOVATION: Excellent Healthcare for Canada

UNLEASHING INNOVATION: Excellent Healthcare for Canada
UNLEASHING INNOVATION:
Excellent Healthcare
for Canada
Report of the Advisory Panel on
Healthcare Innovation
Également disponible en français sous le titre :
Libre cours à l’innovation : Soins de santé excellents pour le Canada
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© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, as represented by the Minister of Health, 2015
Publication date: July 2015
This publication may be reproduced for personal or internal use only without permission
provided the source is fully acknowledged.
Pub.: 150048
Cat.: H22-4/9-2015E
ISBN: 978-0-660-02681-7
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
July 2015
The Honourable Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health
Ottawa ON
Dear Minister,
Please find attached the final report of the Advisory Panel on Healthcare Innovation.
This report is the product of our consultations with Canadians, supplemented by literature
reviews, commissioned research, and our own discussions and deliberations.
We were humbled to be asked for advice on a set of issues that affect all our fellow citizens.
We have also appreciated both your support throughout our mandate and your respect for
our independence.
We hope this report will be useful to you and your Cabinet colleagues, and that our
recommendations will galvanize federal strategies and investments that strengthen Canada’s
healthcare systems.
David Naylor (Chair)
Neil Fraser
Francine Girard (Deputy Chair)
Toby Jenkins
Jack Mintz
Christine Power
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Dedication
This report is dedicated to the memory of our fellow panelist,
Dr. Cyril B. Frank (1949-2015), healthcare leader and innovator
extraordinaire.
Chief Executive Officer of Alberta Innovates - Health Solutions,
Cy Frank also found time to be Chief Medical Advisor to the
Alberta Bone and Joint Health Institute, the McCaig Professor of
Joint Injury and Arthritis Research at the University of Calgary,
and a practising orthopedic surgeon.
Just days before his sudden death, Cy had been in top form on a
visit by several panelists and team members to Yellowknife and
Whitehorse. The next stop was a full Panel meeting in
Edmonton, where Cy elevated our discussions with his unique
combination of vision, common sense, and irrepressible
optimism about an excellent future for Canadian healthcare. As
fate would have it, Cy’s parting words to us were that Canada
should aim to build healthcare systems that were living
laboratories, drawing patients and clinicians together in
partnership with researchers, entrepreneurs, and innovators
from all sectors and disciplines.
We have sorely missed Cy in these last few months of
deliberations and writing. However, we remain deeply grateful
that the Panel had the opportunity to benefit from Cy Frank’s
wisdom and unique perspectives as a relentless healthcare
innovator, pioneering clinician-researcher, outstanding teacher,
generous colleague, and great friend.
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
Table of Contents
Dedication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ii
Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . v
Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vii
Chapter 1 - Healthcare Innovation in Canada: A Prologue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Chapter 2 - Trending Down or Scaling Up: Canada’s Healthcare Choice . . . . . 9
Chapter 3 - The Evolving Federal Role in Canadian Healthcare . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Chapter 4- Breaking the Gridlock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Chapter 5 - Patient Partnership, Public Empowerment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
Chapter 6 - Integration and Innovation: The Virtuous Cycle
of Seamless Care . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Chapter 7 - Channeling the Data Deluge, Mapping
the Knowledge Frontier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
Chapter 8 - Improving Value in Healthcare . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
Chapter 9 - Healthcare and Economic Prosperity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97
Chapter 10 - Tax Policy in Support of Healthcare System Change . . . . . . . . . 109
Chapter 11 - Concluding Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119
Appendix 1: List of Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127
Appendix 2: Full List of Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
Appendix 3: List of Commissioned Research and Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143
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REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
Acknowledgments
This report is the culmination of thousands of hours of
engagement, consultation, research, and deliberation, made
possible only by the efforts of many. To these individuals
and organizations, the Panel would like to express its
gratitude. In doing so, the Panel members must emphasize
that they alone bear final responsibility for what is presented
in their report. In particular, elected and appointed officials
of the federal, provincial and territorial governments should
not be assumed to have endorsed or approved any of the
views, interpretations or recommendations contained in
this document.
First and foremost, the Panel wishes to thank the individuals
from the Healthcare Innovation Secretariat who provided
exceptional support to the Panel and its members. Marcel
Saulnier, as Executive Secretary to the Panel, was both a
fount of knowledge and the key departmental liaison with
Health Canada. David Clements was the Executive Director
for the Healthcare Innovation Secretariat, with overall
responsibility for research, consultation and other activities.
His extensive knowledge of the health sphere and expertise
in indicators and information systems were invaluable. The
Panel further wishes to highlight and acknowledge Peggy
Ainslie for her exceptional leadership, many insights, and
tireless effort over the course of the Panel’s mandate. ‘The
Trio’ as they came to be called, proved every day that three
heads are better than two, let alone one. Panel members
also had ample occasion to appreciate the talent and
dedication of the entire secretariat staff – Joanne Desormeaux,
Andrea Lecomte, Salimah Maherali, Leslie Meerburg,
Karin Phillips, Kajan Ratneswaran, and Stephanie Soo – all
of whom made indispensable contributions in administrative
and strategic coordination, research, writing, analysis, and
communications. In sum, while Panel members are content
to be held accountable for anything in the report that makes
anyone unhappy, they would ask that happy readers give
due credit to the remarkable team listed above.
Many senior provincial and territorial health officials lent
their time and counsel to the Panel, including Ministers
Glen Abernethy, Gaétan Barrette, Dustin Duncan, Eric
Hoskins, Steve Kent, Mike Nixon, and Fred Horne; and
Deputy Ministers Bob Bell, Stephen Brown, Bruce Cooper,
Janet Davidson, Debbie DeLancey, Max Hendricks, Karen
Herd, Tom Maston, Michael Mayne, Patricia Meade, Colleen
Stockley, and Peter Vaughan; as well as their respective
staff, who facilitated and participated in visits, regional
meetings, and stakeholder consultation events.
The Panel wishes to especially acknowledge the generosity
of those who voluntarily gave their time to participate in
the Panel’s endeavours. In particular, the Panel is indebted
to many individuals who provided expert advice and critical
assistance in the organization of roundtables, special
sessions, and site visits, undertaking customized analyses,
and otherwise moving the Panel’s agenda forward. A
special nod must go to: Phillip Bazel of the University of
Calgary’s School of Public Policy, Alan Bernstein of the
Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Meghan Baker
and Alison Bourgon of the Canadian Institutes of Health
Research, Ryan Galloway of the Center for Medicare and
Medicaid Innovation, Jean-Louis Denis of the École
nationale d’administration publique, Zayna Khayat of
MaRS, Erik Landriault of the Royal Danish Consulate
General (Toronto), Andrew Macleod of the Change
Foundation, the Hon. John Manley and staff of the Canadian
Council of Chief Executives, Angela Morin, Sonia IsaacMann and Erin Tomkins of the Assembly of First Nations,
Pierre-Gerlier Forest of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg
School of Public Health and Jeremy Veillard of the Canadian
Institute for Health Information. Additionally the Panel
would like to express its deep appreciation to the hundreds
of individuals who took the time to attend these events
and contributed valuable perspectives. For a comprehensive
list of organizers and attendees, please see appendix 2.
Mary Pat MacKinnon and staff at Ascentum Inc. helped
to coordinate and effectively facilitated regional stakeholder
consultation sessions across the country. As well, a number
of individuals and organizations conducted commissioned
research and facilitated engagement activities on the Panel’s
behalf, including G. Ross Baker of the University of Toronto,
J.C. Herbert Emery of the University of Calgary, David
Flaherty of David H. Flaherty Inc., Diane Gagnon of the
University of Ottawa, Don Husereau of the Institute of
Health Economics, Karine Guertin of the University of
Montreal, Maria Judd of the Canadian Foundation of
Healthcare Improvement, Sharif Mahdy of the Students
Commission, Anne Snowdon of the Ivey Centre on Health
Innovation at Western University, John Sproule of the
Institute of Health Economics, Terrence Sullivan of Terrence
Sullivan and Associates, and Jason Sutherland of the
University of British Columbia. The Panel appreciates the
excellent work of all the aforementioned individuals,
organizations, and enterprises.
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UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
Finally, the Panel would like to thank the hundreds of
stakeholder organizations and members of the public who
took the time to provide thoughtful and considered written
input as part of the Panel’s online consultations. For a
full list of individuals and organizations who contributed
to the Panel’s work, please see the appendices to the report.
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REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
Foreword
The Advisory Panel on Healthcare Innovation has been
learning and deliberating more or less non-stop since
members received their mandate from the Honourable
Rona Ambrose in June 2014. We have had an
extraordinary experience.
Panel members have read scores of submissions and
commissioned research reports, dug through mountains
of publications, crisscrossed Canada for consultations
with hundreds of our fellow citizens, and conversed
with many federal, provincial and territorial leaders,
as well as international experts who work in the broad
health arena.
We came at this task from different disciplines, sectors,
and regions. Collectively, including the late Cy Frank, we
can claim well over 150 years of engagement with Canadian
healthcare systems, along with substantial expertise in
public policy and governance. However, preparing this
report was a serious challenge, simply because so many
issues might reasonably be included under the broad rubric
of healthcare innovation.
In this regard, it seems worth highlighting and explaining
a few things that the Panel did and did not do.
Our terms of reference specified that our recommendations
should fall within the Canada Health Act – and they do.
Our terms of reference further specified that our
recommendations should respect the division of powers
in the Canadian Constitution, and therefore focus on the
federal government. They do so. Our recommendations
are directed to the Government of Canada and in many
instances to Health Canada in particular.
At the same time, it would be foolish – indeed, impossible
– to write a report on innovation in healthcare without
making general observations about Canadian healthcare
systems and what would make those systems better. The
observations in the report reflect our estimation of best
practices internationally. They also repeatedly align with
what has been recommended in the past by other
commissions and panels advising, variously, the federal,
provincial and territorial governments.
In that respect, throughout this report the terms “Canadian
healthcare systems” or “Canada’s healthcare systems” are
used inclusively, i.e., not just for the provinces and
territories, but also for the federal government in its role
as a provider of care to specific populations. Regarding
federal healthcare, we did not comment specifically on
active military personnel and veterans, or prisoners in
federal penitentiaries. However, we do comment on the
federal role in First Nations and Inuit health services.
In contrast, we made a commitment to provincial and
territorial health ministers that the Panel would praise
specifically while criticizing generically. We kept our word.
This approach reflects not just attention to political
sensitivities, but two obvious facts and a fundamental
belief. The facts are that healthcare reform in Canada has
proven extraordinarily difficult for every jurisdiction, with
the result that, despite varied circumstances and unique
strengths, Canada’s healthcare systems today share many
weaknesses and challenges. The belief is one that shaped
the Panel’s key recommendations: all Canadian governments
– and all Canadians – would benefit from a stronger culture
of inter-jurisdictional collaboration in healthcare.
To that end, many of our recommendations anticipate that
some or all provincial and territorial governments may
choose to begin new collaborative initiatives with each
other and the federal government. In this regard, however,
the language is precise. The report recommends priorities
for federal support and action, and delineates a new
incentive structure that clearly differs from standard transfer
payments or past health accords. Each provincial and
territorial government accordingly has a choice of working
together with the federal government in the interests of
their residents on specific projects – or going its own way.
Readers may notice further consistencies in wording.
“Canadian governments” refers to all 14 federal, provincial
and territorial administrations. The federal administration
is referred to as “the federal government,” or “the
Government of Canada.” General references to “Canada”
and “Canadians” are national, not federal; the accompanying
pronouns are “we” (and “our”), except in this Forewordi.
Otherwise, we have resorted, with a collective grimace, to
self-reference as “the Panel” (“Panel’s” or “its”) and “Panel
members” (“their”) throughout the report.
As noted above, we should also acknowledge things we
did not do.
i The sole exception is a quote from the Foreword at the end of the report.
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UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
Because our mandate was healthcare and that in itself was
overwhelming, we did not delve into broad determinants of
health or strategies for community-wide health promotion.
However, readers will note that our recommendations point
strongly towards empowering patients with their own health
information, and towards modes of reorganizing healthcare
systems to put much greater emphasis on keeping Canadians
as healthy as possible, including better integration of healthcare
and social services.
In various submissions and presentations to the Panel,
we were pressed to support the creation of new strategies
or agencies addressing a range of conditions and
population groups. We did not accept those ideas – nor
did we reject them. With the obvious and, we trust,
understandable exception of First Nations and Inuit health
services, our focus was on broader capacity building and
system re-design.
Under the heading “Fiscal Responsibility,” the Panel’s
terms of reference insisted that our recommendations
should “not result in increasing spending pressure on
provincial and territorial budgets.” We have respected this
direction. The flow of federal funds and implementation
of related strategies in the report do not depend on a full
consensus of provinces and territories, nor do they demand
new spending by provinces and territories that choose to
participate. Rather, they anticipate that existing operating
dollars can and will be re-aligned to common purpose in
variously developing, assessing, scaling up, and spreading
healthcare innovations.
We were also told that our recommendations “must not
imply either an increase or a decrease in the overall level
of federal funding for current initiatives supporting
innovation in healthcare.” Although it was not an easy
decision, we did not follow this guidance. However, we
believe our recommendations are indeed fiscally responsible.
We have ensured, for example, that our recommendations
regarding tax policy are revenue neutral. No changes to
current transfers are envisaged beyond the reduction in
growth rate already slated for implementation by the federal
government, and no new universal cost-sharing programs
are proposed. Furthermore, as noted above, our approach
departs from past federal-provincial-territorial accords
that sought to ‘buy change’ based on unanimously agreed
priorities and formulaic allocations of funds.
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Instead, the Panel concluded unanimously that sustainable
improvements in healthcare were unlikely ever to occur
unless the federal government makes changes to its current
vehicles for pan-Canadian collaboration, along with major
investments to support provinces and territories in the
implementation of fundamental changes to their systems.
These funds would flow to ‘coalitions of the willing’ –
jurisdictions, institutions, providers, patients, industry, and
committed innovators of all backgrounds. Our report
presents this concept in detail along with other
recommendations designed to unleash innovation in
Canada’s healthcare systems.
We conclude this brief Foreword with a disclaimer, and
expressions of both concern and confidence.
This report represents our best advice to the Minister of
Health and the Government of Canada. We understand
that not all recommendations may be accepted. However,
we caution that, absent federal action and investment, and
absent political resolve on the part of provinces and
territories, Canadian healthcare systems are headed for a
continued slow decline in performance relative to peers.
Our consultations also left us in no doubt that Canadians
hope and expect the federal government will work together
with provinces and territories to reverse the erosion of the
nation’s most cherished social program. We do fully
understand – and the report elaborates on – the frustrations
and failings of conditional fiscal federalism as it has unfolded
in healthcare over the decades. While its decision was initially
controversial, the current federal government gave momentum
to change when it abandoned what had become a
counterproductive fiscal model.
Thus, much of what we propose is specifically designed
to move Canada toward a different model for federal
engagement in healthcare – one that depends on an ethos
of partnership, and on a shared commitment to scale up
existing innovations and make fundamental changes in
incentives, culture, accountabilities, and information
systems. We do not pretend that this model offers an
immediate remedy for the ills of Canadian healthcare.
However, we have a high degree of confidence that
concerted action on our major recommendations can make
a meaningful difference that will be seen and felt across
Canada by 2025.
Chapter 1
Healthcare Innovation
in Canada: A Prologue
“It is time to get innovative. Time to change
the way we have been thinking and how
we have been doing things. It is time to
work collaboratively to make the system
more responsive to the needs of Canadians.
The time is now.”
The Honourable Rona Ambrose,
Minister of Health, Canada
UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
Healthcare Innovation in Canada: A Prologue
On June 24, 2014, the Government of Canada’s health
minister, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, launched the
Advisory Panel on Healthcare Innovation. Her mandate
to the Panel was clear:
•
•
Identify the five most promising areas of innovation
in Canada and internationally that have the potential
to sustainably reduce growth in health spending while
leading to improvements in the quality and accessibility
of care.
A Structural Snapshot of
Medicare
Chapter 3 will say more about the architecture of Canadian
healthcare and the federal role in particular. For now, it is
worth noting that all Canadian provincesii share some
common elements:
•
All offer universal access to medically-necessary health
services provided in hospitals or by physicians. These
services are rendered without charge at the point of
service, and coverage is portable across provinces and
territories. At the federal level, these common features
are embedded in the Canada Health Act, which requires
that provincial and territorial health insurance plans
meet specific criteria in order to receive federal health
funding through the Canada Health Transfer.
•
All provinces and territories have widened public
coverage beyond hospital and physician services
to include home care, long-term care, and drugs
dispensed in the community. Access to these
additional services is typically targeted to certain
segments of the population such as low-income
families and seniors. These services go beyond the
scope of the Canada Health Act. Thus, what is
deemed eligible for provincial coverage, and the
extent of such coverage, varies from jurisdiction to
jurisdiction and may include co-payments or other
charges to the patient at the point of service.
Recommend the five ways the federal government
could support innovation in the areas identified above.
The creation of the Panel and its mandate reflected what
seems to be an emerging consensus among patients,
providers, policymakers, and the general public alike:
healthcare across Canada, for all its continuing strengths,
is a long way from what it should be or could be.
Debates still take place about how much should be
spent, and what the private-public balance or federalprovincial/territorial balance should be. However, as
regards the publicly-funded systems collectively and
popularly known as Medicare, polling data suggest that
only one out of four Canadians believes that insufficient
funding is the main source of problems in healthcare.1
What seems to be emerging instead is a focus on how
the system spends the dollars that already flow into it,
along with a sense of unease about what will be left of
Medicare for future generations.
2
•
Meanwhile, across Canada, system leaders are working
with providers and patients to make healthcare better. The
work of all these innovators is highly laudable and the
Panel in its travels heard first-hand about some of the
bright spots their efforts have created. The Panel also heard
that, while these pioneers are often celebrated locally, their
efforts have only limited impact. Somehow, the structures
and incentives of Canada’s healthcare systems are
suboptimal for widespread adoption of positive change.
Many – but not all – working Canadians and their
families have access to private health insurance
through their place of work. Private health insurance
plans typically cover prescription drugs, single- and
double-bedded rooms for hospital stays, prescribed
medical devices, and ambulatory services provided
by other healthcare professionals such as dentists,
optometrists, physiotherapists and psychologists.
•
This chapter provides an opening overview of the
structure and development of healthcare in Canada,
summarizes the Panel’s mandate and its processes for
gathering relevant input and evidence, and closes with
a preliminary sketch of what panelists have heard, read,
and seen over the last year.
The result is a “narrow but deep” public insurance
structure. All physician and hospital services are
covered under public plans, while other increasingly
important goods and professional services are
financed through a mix of public and private payment
ii T
hese descriptors are less applicable for the territories and for the services
provided under direct federal aegis, but the core principles hold.
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CHAPTER 1 — HEALTHCARE INNOVATION IN CANADA: A PROLOGUE
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
– with the patient often assuming a significant
burden of the costs.
plan in 1947, and oversaw the legislative approval of
Canada’s first universal medical insurance act in 1961.
•
Most physicians are remunerated primarily on a feefor-service basis, meaning that they get paid at a
negotiated rate each time they deliver a service. The
same is true for other independent professionals to
the extent that their services are covered by provincial
and territorial health insurance plans.
•
Most general hospitals are structured as public sector
organizations or non-profit corporations. All are
publicly funded via some mix of global (i.e., lump sum)
budgets, programmatic envelopes, or activity-based
funding. In many provinces, these acute care
institutions are linked by common regional governance
or shared budgeting to other parts of the system (e.g.
home care, or institutions such as chronic-care or
rehabilitation hospitals).
Prime Minister John Diefenbaker also figures twice. His
government brought in the Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic
Services Act in 1957, offering federal dollars to split the cost
of the Saskatchewan hospital plan and any similar provincial
plan. This injection of funds catalyzed the extension of
universal hospital coverage to all Canadian provinces and
territories. Diefenbaker again took centre stage in 1961
when he appointed Mr. Justice Emmett Hall as chair of
the Royal Commission on Health Services. The Hall
Commission report (1964) set out a blueprint for further
federal cost-sharing, starting with medical care insurance,
with the vision of broadening coverage over time to other
health services such as dental care for children. That vision,
however, was never to be realized.
How did this particular configuration arise?
Medicare’s Arrested
Development
Many of the defining features summarized above are
legacies of policies formulated in the 1960s or even earlier,
and codified in 1984 by the Canada Health Act.iii The basic
structure of Canadian Medicare is therefore one that is
deeply familiar and reassuring to millions of Canadians.
Moreover, Canadians from all regions and all walks of life
still value this iconic set of social programs that aimed to
eliminate financial barriers to healthcare.
Perhaps it is understandable, then, that accounts of the
developmental history of Medicare in Canada often feature
a cast of heroic figures. Tommy Douglas takes top billing
for two bold steps as premier of Saskatchewan. Douglas
implemented Canada’s first universal hospital services
iii E
nacted in 1984, the Canada Health Act, RSC, 1985, c. C-6 (CHA) is legislation
that sets out conditions for federal fiscal transfers to provinces and territories
for healthcare. The CHA describes the primary objective of Canadian healthcare
policy as follows: “to protect, promote and restore the physical and mental
well-being of residents of Canada and to facilitate reasonable access to insured
health services without financial or other barriers.” To receive the full cash
contribution under the Canada Health Transfer, provincial and territorial health
insurance plans must fulfill the following conditions: public administration,
comprehensiveness, universality, portability and accessibility. The CHA also
includes provisions to discourage extra-billing and user charges for insured
services. These provisions have constrained the emergence of private insurance
or private delivery of “medically necessary” services as broadly defined by the
Act. However, the CHA does not say anything about how provinces and
territories should organize, manage and deliver healthcare services.
Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson and his cabinet colleagues
take the spotlight next in most historical accounts. Pearson’s
government accepted Hall’s advice, and, with the costsharing provisions of the Medical Care Act of 1966, opened
the door for all provinces to follow Saskatchewan’s lead
with universal and comprehensive first-dollar coverage of
medical services. By the end of 1972, all provinces and
territories were aboard.
In hindsight, barriers to innovation were visible even in
those heady early days of Medicare.
For example, in the early 1970s, Canadian researchers
showed that a specially-trained nurse practitioner
collaborating with a family doctor could do 70 percent
of the doctor’s work, with no difference in patients’
health outcomes or satisfaction. These landmark findings
were published in 1974 by the New England Journal of
Medicine, but the report concluded on a cautionary note:
“Although cost effective from society’s point of view,
the new method of primary care was not financially
profitable to doctors because of current restrictions on
reimbursement for the nurse-practitioner services.” 2
Indeed, even as nurse practitioners found varied roles
across the globe, the spread and scaling-up of the
concept was so slow that Ontario mothballed its
pioneering training programs for several years.
The warning signs were few, however, and universal publicly
funded healthcare was a definite success that set Canada
apart from the US. There, in landmark 1965 legislation,3
two steps toward wider public insurance were taken.
Medicare was implemented federally as a direct payment
CHAPTER 1 — HEALTHCARE INNOVATION IN CANADA: A PROLOGUE
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UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
program for seniors’ care and, through Medicaid, a 1960
cost-sharing plan for states was extended to cover health
services for citizens in receipt of social assistance.
health services is very poorly integrated. The theme of
improved integration of care will recur throughout this
report and needs only a brief introduction here.
These “Great Society” programs left the coverage of the
majority of Americans to the private market, and tens of
millions remained uninsured while the costs of care
skyrocketed. As the healthcare travails of our great
neighbour intensified in the 1970s and 1980s, Canadians
placed an increasingly high value on our more equitable
and efficient model of coverage. This emphasis on US
comparisons still figures prominently in Canadian
healthcare discourse, but was misplaced from the outset.
As one example of poor integration, physicians and
hospitals are funded through separate budgets in Canadian
healthcare systems. This makes little sense for the majority
of specialists, given the substantial influence they have
over hospital expenditures. Indeed, under the current feefor-service payment system, most of these superbly-trained
professionals have no specific financial rewards for quality
of care or responsible stewardship of scarce healthcare
resources.
Canada’s move to universal coverage for hospital and
physician services actually occurred at a slower pace than
in many other nations. While Canadians basked in the
sunshine of praise from US academics bemoaning the
flaws in their own healthcare system, European and UK
researchers were already far down the road, examining
the worrisome disparities in health status that persisted
across socioeconomic strata even decades after universal
coverage had become a reality.4
The lack of integration of healthcare services also reinforces
Canada’s narrow scope of public coverage, and vice versa.
Provinces and territories are justifiably uneasy about the
cost implications of adding on more budgetary silos to pay
other professionals for needed care or to assume full
financial responsibility for covering pharmaceuticals, even
though careful spending on these goods and services could
more than offset other costs in fully integrated budgets.
Of course, Canadians did and still can take pride in the
much lower average cost per capita of health services here
as compared to the US. However, even this comparison
may be somewhat misleading. Our spending per capita
today is higher than a number of other nations that have
equal or better performance in a range of healthcare
measures,5 as Chapter 2 will discuss in some detail.
This trend is clearly not attributable to a lack of talent.
Canada has no shortage of innovative healthcare thinkers,
world-class health researchers, capable executives, or
dynamic entrepreneurs who see opportunity in the health
sphere. Our health professionals and executives are also
among the best educated and most skilled in the world.
It is true that on a per capita basis, Canada’s ratios of active
nurses and doctors are lower than many OECD nations.
However, the numbers of doctors and nurses are rising
steadily6,7 – and distribution across the country, particularly
to rural and remote areas, is arguably the main issue.
If one accepts that the solution does not lie in more money
or more or better talent, what is holding Canada back?
One observation that has been made repeatedly is that
Canada’s approach to the finance and organization of
4
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Meanwhile, consider the fate of a fellow Canadian badly
injured in a motor vehicle accident. He or she could well
need acute in-patient care, the services of physicians
working in many specialties, rehabilitation hospital care,
home care, outpatient physical and occupational therapy,
drugs, dental services, psychological counselling, and
assistive devices. The current reality across Canada is that
care for this citizen would involve tapping into a dozen
separate private and public programs, with varying degrees
of coverage and incomplete sharing of clinical information
across programs, institutions, and providers. Such a
patchwork can hardly operate in the best interests of the
patient and his or her family.
Advisory Panel Mandate and
Definitions
Just as Canadians’ views of their healthcare systems appear
to be shifting, so also are healthcare policymakers and
leaders across the provinces and territories showing an
unprecedented level of resolve to make changes. In
launching the Advisory Panel on Healthcare Innovation,
the Honourable Rona Ambrose acknowledged the actions
taken by provinces and territories to slow the growth of
healthcare spending and their efforts, individually and
CHAPTER 1 — HEALTHCARE INNOVATION IN CANADA: A PROLOGUE
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
collectively, to innovate in healthcare delivery. The
Minister added:
As jurisdictions accelerate their efforts to transform
their healthcare systems to achieve the ‘triple aim’ of
improving patient care and health outcomes while
reducing costs, it is time to take stock of where progress
has been made in Canada and around the world. This
is essential if we are to accelerate the pace of healthcare
innovation and ensure the long-term sustainability of
Canada’s healthcare system.8
Before elaborating on the Panel’s mandate, some definitions
seem in order.
Innovation has become a buzzword with varied meanings.
Throughout its consultations, for example, the Panel noted
persistent confusion between research and innovation in
the health sphere. As research becomes more applied, the
findings may lend themselves to faster uptake and wider
adoption. But as the case of the nurse practitioner
illustrates, even practical and definitive findings do not
spark widespread innovation in the absence of winning
conditions in the healthcare system. The frustrating reality
is that many excellent ideas or inventions are never
translated into saleable or scalable innovations.
What, then, is innovation? A brief but broad definition
was offered by the Council of Canadian Academies in
their 2009 report on innovation: “new or better ways of
doing valued things.”9 The Conference Board of Canada
is more specific, defining innovation “as the process
through which economic and social value is extracted
from knowledge through the generation, development,
and implementation of ideas to produce new or improved
strategies, capabilities, products, services, or processes.”10
For healthcare innovation, the definition used by the Panel
in its consultations included the concept of activities that
“generate value in terms of quality and safety of care,
administrative efficiency, the patient experience, and
patient outcomes.”11
These varied definitions underscore that innovation in
healthcare should not be confused with invention in general
or the creation of new technologies in particular. Innovation
is instead an activity defined more by intent – the creation of
economic and social value – than by form or process.
These definitions also meant that the Panel’s mandate
covered a wide spectrum of activities. Technological
innovation anchored one end, e.g. consideration of how
new genomic concepts or precision medicine should be
introduced safely, effectively and efficiently into Canada’s
healthcare systems. Social and policy innovation anchored
the other, e.g. new ways for professionals to work together,
new ways of engaging patients, and new ways of financing
and organizing health services.
Minister Ambrose recognized the potentially daunting
scope of the Panel’s remit, not least on an eleven-month
timeline. The Minister eliminated one area of contention
by specifying that the Canada Health Act should govern all
its recommendations. As noted above, she also narrowed
the Panel’s task to delineating five priority areas for
innovation and a handful of recommendations to the
federal government on how to support innovation in each
of those areas.
For its part, the Panel was privileged to receive input from
hundreds of interested individuals and scores of
organizations. Their submissions and suggestions pointed
out the merits of a wide variety of innovation themes and
related actions. In this report, consistent with its mandate,
the Panel focuses on the five major areas of innovation
that appeared most likely to make Canadian healthcare
more effective and sustainable. The report also recommends
a number of strategies for enabling the relevant changes
in healthcare, some specific, and some cross-cutting.
Panel Consultations and
Commissioned Research
As suggested above, the members of the Advisory Panel
are indebted to a very large number of individuals who
shared their insights, concerns, and ideas with Panel
members. Appendices to this report provide detailed lists
of submissions and attendees at various meetings. For
now, a brief summary will suffice.
Over the course of the last year, the Panel heard from a
great many groups and individuals, both in person and
online. Some 180 stakeholders, including all the largest
provider associations, made formal submissions, and about
260 members of the public responded online to a general
call for commentary. To draw in younger voices, the Panel
asked the Students Commission of Canada to conduct
youth engagement activities, including two webinars and
a number of interviews.
The Panel held in-person consultation sessions in Vancouver,
Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, and Halifax.
CHAPTER 1 — HEALTHCARE INNOVATION IN CANADA: A PROLOGUE
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5
UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
At those sessions, Panel members met with stakeholders
from across the healthcare spectrum – policymakers, providers,
researchers, industry leaders, patients, and innovators.
Members supplemented their consultations with focused
visits to the Northwest Territories, Yukon, Nunavut, New
Brunswick, and Newfoundland. The Panel’s Deputy Chair
also convened roundtable meetings with academics/
stakeholders in Montreal.
On their travels, Panel representatives met individually
and/or collectively with high-level officials from every
province and territory in various venues. This collaborative
approach was established from the outset. Within
approximately a month of the Panel launch, the Chair
spoke with provincial and territorial Health Ministers by
teleconference and met with federal, provincial and
territorial Deputy Ministers. The Chair also met with
Ministers and Deputy Ministers at the annual Federal,
Provincial and Territorial Health Ministers Conference in
October 2014.
In like fashion, the Panel Chair and Executive Director met
with the Assembly of First Nations’ (AFN) National First
Nations Health Technicians Network. Panel members also
met with the Vice President of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.
(while in Nunavut), heard from First Nations stakeholders
in Whitehorse and Yellowknife, and met with representatives
from the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch at Health
Canada to learn about the unique challenges faced by
Aboriginal communities.
At its regular meetings, the Panel received presentations
from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR),
with a special emphasis on the Strategy for PatientOriented Research, as well as several Pan-Canadian
healthcare agencies: the Canadian Institute for Healthcare
Information, Canada Health Infoway, the Canadian Patient
Safety Institute, the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare
Improvement, the Canadian Agency for Drugs and
Technologies in Health, the Mental Health Commission
of Canada, and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.
The Panel also held targeted consultations with key
stakeholders on specific issues of interest. CIHR facilitated
a Best Brains Exchange on the topic of personalized and
precision medicine. Attendees included leading Canadian
researchers and entrepreneurs in the field. Panel members
participated in a tax policy roundtable with economic
experts and health industry leaders organized under the
auspices of the University of Calgary’s School of Public
Policy. The Canadian Council of Chief Executives
6
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facilitated a meeting of panelists with senior leaders of
major industries with a special interest or stake in
healthcare. An Industry-Government Collaboration
roundtable was organized by the Institute of Health
Economics, and attended by senior representatives from
industry and the public sector, including several
entrepreneurs. As well, a roundtable was organized to
obtain patient, family and caregiver perspectives on
healthcare innovation. This valuable meeting was
facilitated by the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare
Improvement and the Change Foundation.
In the Washington, D.C. area, the Panel visited health policy
experts at Johns Hopkins University, the Commonwealth
Fund, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation,
the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the
Brookings Institution. To better understand highperforming health systems, the Panel also convened a
summit with leading experts from the Netherlands, the
UK, the US (Kaiser Permanente), Denmark and Australia.
Deputy Ministers of Health from across Canada joined
panelists and secretariat staff for this very informative day
of presentations and discussion.
As well, the Panel commissioned original research on
number of topics. These include:
•
A survey of federal, provincial and territorial healthcare
innovation support
•
The effect of different types of innovation on
expenditure growth
•
Implications of privacy regulations for electronic health
records and patient portals
•
Tax credits for non-insured healthcare services and
tax-assisted healthcare savings plans
•
Bundled payments for health services
•
Trends and potential impact of more patient-centred
care
•
Cross-Canada survey of provincial and territorial
informants to capture flagship innovations
A full list of research report titles and authors can be found
in appendix 3.
CHAPTER 1 — HEALTHCARE INNOVATION IN CANADA: A PROLOGUE
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
What the Panel Heard and Read:
A Tasting Menu
Here is a partial list:
•
Movement is being made to integrate services and
budgets around patients, but far more work needs to
be done to continue breaking down the silos that
impede the achievement of patient-centred care.
•
Non-physician scopes of practice are evolving and
expanding throughout Canada, but wide variation
exists across the country. Canada should emulate
jurisdictions like Australia and the Netherlands that
have promoted greater role flexibility on a national
level and thereby enabled the emergence of stronger
multi-professional teams.
•
Canada’s health info-structure has come a long way
over the past decade, but we also started a very long
way behind peer nations. Now the time has come to
accelerate and catch up with nations such as Denmark
and others that have deployed health information and
communications technology to improve care and
contain costs.
•
With Canada’s huge landmass and thin population
density, as well as our longstanding commitment to
telehealth, Canada should lead the world in mobile
health and virtual care.
•
Canada’s physicians have made huge contributions
to healthcare, but the current mode of organizing and
funding healthcare is holding them back from a larger
leadership role.
•
The US, like Canada, is struggling to scale up
healthcare innovation. However, tremendous
creativity has been unleashed by ‘Obamacare’
payment reforms that offer multi-provider incentives
based on both quality and efficiency of care. Only a
few provinces have made small steps towards this
type of “bundled payment” for services. Canada needs
to get moving much faster with funding reforms.
•
Given its continued challenges, the US system as a
whole was not held up as a model; however, leading
organizations and best practices within it were
repeatedly singled out. For example, stakeholders
urged Canada to learn from Intermountain
Healthcare’s approach to efficient processes of care,
and Kaiser Permanente’s strong orientation to multiprofessional primary care teams and successful health
promotion strategies.
From the foregoing, it will be evident that the input and
advice offered to the Panel was remarkable in breadth and
depth. The commentary and analysis also contained a
striking blend of negative and positive elements.
On the negative side, Panel members heard about the
frustration of many stakeholders.
Patients told us about limited access to a variety of services.
They lamented the barriers that were still consistently
being erected to keep them from accessing their own health
records, and noted their advice is neither sought nor taken
seriously as regards improvement in the delivery of care.
They also observed that the narrow scope of Medicare led
to large out-of-pocket expenses for many Canadians,
particularly those without work-related private health
insurance plans.
Decision-makers and administrators complained of policy
and managerial gridlock, confiding on occasion that
attempts at reform in the public interest were sometimes
co-opted to the short-term benefit of providers or
politicians. Policy experts emphasized the clumsiness of
the current fee-for-service mode of remunerating physicians,
and asked why Canada had failed to adopt integrated
delivery subsystems, exemplified by leading American
group health plans. Professionals highlighted the ways
that cumbersome regulations and perverse incentives were
stifling their creativity and ability to play a bigger role in
Canada’s healthcare systems.
Canadians working at all levels of healthcare observed that
innovations of proven worth were not being scaled up and
spread across the nation. For their part, entrepreneurs asked
why it was harder to penetrate the Canadian healthcare
market than to sell their ideas, products, and services abroad.
While the Panel did hear complaints about the levels of
funding available for healthcare, a surprising number of
stakeholders echoed the growing public sentiment that a
lack of operating dollars was not the primary problem.
On the positive side, as already indicated, there was an
extraordinary consistency of resolve that real change in
healthcare was greatly overdue. Front-line healthcare
leaders, policymakers, and other stakeholders across the
country were utterly consistent in this regard. While no
one offered up a simple recipe for an excellent healthcare
system, many themes recurred.
CHAPTER 1 — HEALTHCARE INNOVATION IN CANADA: A PROLOGUE
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7
UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
Many other opportunities for improvement were flagged,
of course. But so too were threats to the stability and
sustainability of Canada’s healthcare systems. Calling for
Canada to put its healthcare house in order, stakeholders
foresaw that our varied healthcare systems would be
buffeted by forces such as demographic pressures, the
advent of precision medicine and mobile health
applications, consumer demands for participation in
decisions about their healthcare, and societal expectations
of greater transparency.
•
While stakeholders expressed concerns and called for
reforms, they also urged that the Panel refrain from driveby criticism of the efforts of specific institutions or regions.
Instead, what they most commonly asked of the Panel
were three things:
That said, capacity to drive reform varies across jurisdictions.
Ottawa itself has a larger direct healthcare delivery budget
than several provinces and territories. The federal
government has jurisdiction over certain matters that bear
on health and healthcare innovation, not least research
and development. Furthermore, effective in 2017-18,
Ottawa has changed the formula for the escalator on its
health transfers to provinces and territories. Instead of
rising six percent per annum, transfers will grow at the
rate of GDP expansion or at three percent, whichever is
higher. While this move provides an important signal of
fiscal discipline, it also reduces the financial flexibility of
all provinces and territories to implement reforms.
•
•
8
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The first was recognition of local and regional successes
in improving healthcare, together with mechanisms
to ensure wider adoption of such innovations. The
Panel has been delighted to showcase in these pages
what is only a very small sampling of the creativity of
Canadians working in the healthcare realm. The Panel
also proposes a major new mechanism to accelerate
the evaluation and scaling-up of the innovative ideas
of their fellow citizens.
The second was a renewed federal, provincial and
territorial partnership, ideally catalyzed by a new
national innovation fund that would be distinct from
the usual federal transfers. Panel members struggled
to reconcile this request with federal fiscal constraints.
As will become clear, their final and considered advice
is that, without such a catalytic investment by the
federal government, fiscal pressures on all Canada’s
healthcare systems will mount and become very
difficult to manage. Either jurisdictions will do less of
the same, with adverse impacts on quality and
accessibility, or there will be escalating tensions around
the ever-contentious elements of fiscal federalism.
The third was that Canada’s national government
return to the table and help galvanize a consensus – or
at least coalitions of willing jurisdictions – around
elements of the structural reforms that many provinces
and territories are currently attempting to advance.
To be clear, this was not a call for Ottawa to over-step
constitutional boundaries, or to posture in loco parentis.
The provinces and territories carefully highlighted to
the Panel the varied ways in which they are already
working together.
To all these points in favour of a renewed federal investment
and new federal role, the Panel members would respectfully
add the following: We are all Canadians. Our nation has
made a commitment to universal healthcare, and it is
entirely reasonable to expect our national government to
play a major and facilitative role in strengthening Canadians’
confidence in their healthcare systems. More importantly,
Canadian patients and taxpayers have every right to ask
that all levels of government collaborate fully in restoring
Canada to the international leadership position in
healthcare that this country once proudly held.
CHAPTER 1 — HEALTHCARE INNOVATION IN CANADA: A PROLOGUE
Chapter 2
Trending Down
or Scaling Up:
Canada’s
Healthcare Choice
“Processes of scaling up are constrained by
structures and cultures, and vested interests
that are embedded at the system level.”12
Dirk Essink
“I have witnessed countless cases
of healthcare providers knowing what
should be done, but having no way to make
it happen from their position.”
Public Submission
UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
Trending Down or Scaling Up:
Canada’s Healthcare Choice
As summarized in Chapter 1, Canadians have long
considered Medicare to be one of our nation’s crowning
achievements. It may be a purely continental conceit, but
Medicare resonates for us as a statement of our values and
our national identity. However, if the pollsters have it
right, around 50 percent of the population thinks the system
is currently “in crisis.” Moreover, various third-party
reports have suggested that, compared to Organisation
for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
peers, Canada’s healthcare systems on average are losing
ground.13,14 The Panel accordingly was very interested in
understanding just how Canada’s healthcare systems
measured up.
If, as will become clear, Canadian healthcare systems are
lagging, then several issues logically arise, and are also
addressed in this chapter.
First, is there a ‘model’ system that we might choose from
among the higher-performing systems? As it turns out,
there is not. That simple fact puts an even greater premium
on learning about grass-roots or bottom-up innovation in
Canadian healthcare.
This chapter therefore turns to a tiny sampling of the
front-line innovations that Panel members variously saw
first-hand, or read or heard about in their consultations.iv
This sampling is intended only to give readers a sense of
the creative energy in Canadian healthcare, and reinforces
the relevance of the final issue.
If, as seems to be the general view, these varied innovations
are not spreading or scaling up across Canada, why not?
To this end, the chapter also summarizes the barriers to
wider adoption of innovations that stakeholders most often
identified, and considers some international experience
with scaling up healthcare innovations.
Perspectives on the Performance
of Canada’s Healthcare Systems
Some caveats are in order before commencing this brief
review of a number of performance measures.
Rankings and league tables of all types appeal to the public
and the media for a simple reason: they take that which
is complex and abstract and render it accessible and
understandable. By design, they carry risks of oversimplification. These rankings can also be misleading for
other reasons. In that respect, healthcare leaders and
providers justifiably worry whether data are being
interpreted correctly, whether the indicators are the right
ones, or whether there is gaming of the numbers.
Administrators and policy-makers fuss, too, about untoward
side-effects – the phenomenon that “what matters is what’s
measured,” not least what gets reported in the media.
More generally, comparing health systems gives new life
to time-worn clichés about comparing apples and oranges.15
All that said, the Panel sees an unsettling convergence of
findings in the results below.
Health Spending
Since the 1970s, distinct spending trends have been
observed not only in Canada, but across all industrialized
nations in the OECD. All nations have experienced rates
of increase in the cost of healthcare that have outpaced
the rate of economic growth. In Canada, a sharp upward
spending trend has continued with the exception of brief
periods in the 1990s where growth was flat (see figure 2.1).
However, measured as a percentage of GDP, health
spending in Canada has outpaced many other countries
in the OECD.5 As shown in figure 2.2, Canada is among
the higher spenders in OECD countries at 10.2 percent of
GDP in 2013 and, with adjustment for purchasing power,
US$4,351 per person in 2013. This compares to an OECD
average of 8.9 percent and a similarly adjusted US$3,453.16
iv Later chapters will profile other innovations.
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CHAPTER 2 — TRENDING DOWN OR SCALING UP: CANADA’S HEALTHCARE CHOICE
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
Figure 2.1 Total Health Expenditures, Canada 1975-2014
250
Total in Billions
200
150
100
50
2013
2011
2009
2007
2005
2003
2001
1999
1997
1995
1993
1991
1989
1987
1985
1983
1981
1979
1977
1975
0
Year
Total Health Expenditure in Current Dollars
Total Health Expenditure in Constant 1997 Dollars
Source: Adapted from Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). National Health Expenditure Trends, 1975 to 2014. Ottawa: CIHI; 2014.
Available from: http://www.cihi.ca/CIHI-ext-portal/pdf/internet/nhex_2014_report_en
Figure 2.2 International comparison of health spendingv
CANADA
OECD
AVERAGE
CANADA’S
OECD
RANKING
CANADA’S RANK
AMONG PEER
COUNTRIES
10.2
8.9
10/34
7/11
TOTAL HEALTH EXPENDITURE
PER CAPITA
$4,351
$3,453
10/34
7/11
PUBLIC EXPENDITURE ON
HEALTH PER CAPITA
$3,074
$2,535
13/34
8/11
PUBLIC SHARE OF TOTAL
HEALTH EXPENDITURE
70.6%
72.7 %
22/34
8/11
HOSPITAL EXPENDITURE
PER CAPITA
$1,338
$1,316
15/29
9/9
PHYSICIAN EXPENDITURE
PER CAPITA
$720
$421
4/27
4/8
DRUG EXPENDITURE PER CAPITA
$761
$517
2/31
2/9
TOTAL HEALTH EXPENDITURE AS
A % OF GDP
Notes: Peer countries consist of Australia, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, US, and UK; Rankings
are ordered from highest to lowest expenditure; Based on 2013 data where available or next available preceding year; All figures are in $US and
adjusted for purchasing power parity.
Source: OECD Health Statistics 2015
v F
igure 2.2 and related paragraphs updated to reflect 2015 OECD data (where available), which was released at the time this report was going to press. The remainder
of this report has not been updated to reflect the 2015 data.
CHAPTER 2 — TRENDING DOWN OR SCALING UP: CANADA’S HEALTHCARE CHOICE
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11
UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
Given the number and diversity of OECD members, most
Canadian benchmarking exercises use a smaller subset of
“peer countries” such as Australia, France, Germany,
Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland,
US, and UK. These comparisons seem more plausible but
Canada still spends more than some peers.
health insurance and out-of-pocket spending to finance
prescription drugs, and other services. However, while that
ranking on its face appears to favour greater public coverage,
it is also misleading in one key respect. Because Canada
spends more overall than most OECD countries, its public
spending in absolute per capita terms is still well above the
OECD average.
On the bright side, the absolute increases in health
spending in Canada have slowed over the past five
years, and have been outpaced by GDP growth. 5 This
pattern, however, is not unique. A similar trend became
apparent across the OECD after the onset of the global
financial crisis in 2008. 17,18 Moreover, spending may be
starting to rise again, although not at rates seen before
the global recession. 19
Canada also has an unusual pattern of spending across
major sectors of healthcare. It stands out from peers for
very high drug prices and total drug spending. As shown
in figure 2.2, on a per capita basis, Canada ranks second
to what the US spends on prescription drugs. Canada’s
spending on physician services is also significantly above
the OECD average, placing it fourth out of 27 countries
with comparable data. Canada’s relatively high spending
on drugs and doctors occurs despite very different pricing
and purchasing mechanisms for these two healthcare
sectors, underscoring that single-payer systems in
Canada falls slightly below the OECD average and ranks 22nd
out of 34 countries in terms of its public share of total health
expenditure. This is due to Canada’s heavy reliance on private
Figure 2.3 Health Status Performance Profile, Canada
2.0
Burden of
Disease
Better —>
1.5
Chronic Disease Mortality
Avoidable
Mortality
Infant
Health
Overall
Health
1.0
75th
Percentile
0.5
OECD
Average
0.0
25th
Percentile
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-0.5
-1.0
-1.5
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at
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Note: The white dots represent Canada’s overall performance relative to the OECD average. Source: Adapted from Canadian Institute
for Health Information (CIHI). Benchmarking Canada’s Health System: International Comparisons. Ottawa: CIHI; 2013.
Available from: https://secure.cihi.ca/free_products/Benchmarking_Canadas_Health_System-International_Comparisons_EN.pdf
Source: Canadian Institute for Health Information
12
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CHAPTER 2 — TRENDING DOWN OR SCALING UP: CANADA’S HEALTHCARE CHOICE
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
themselves do not guarantee cost containment. Hospital
expenditure is the only sector where Canada’s spending
is on par with the OECD average and ranks favourably
relative to peer countries.
Health Outcomes
A key issue for Canadians is whether all these billions of
dollars are buying better health for the population.
International evidence does suggest there is some
relationship between higher health spending and better
health outcomes. The problem is that the marginal return
on these investments seems to diminish as countries spend
more on healthcare.14 This underscores the hard choices
already confronting provinces and territories, namely
whether to spend more on healthcare or on social
determinants of health and well-being such as education
and homelessness.
On a related point, measures such as life expectancy at
birth are often cited in rankings. Canadian life expectancy
was 81.5 years in 2011, more than a year higher than the
OECD average, three years longer than the US, but shorter
than residents of Japan, Switzerland, Iceland and Spain.20
Life expectancy arguably sheds limited light on healthcare
system performance because it is influenced by social
determinants and behavioural choices – a caveat that also
applies for perceived health status. Examining more
specific and pertinent measures (see figure 2.3), one sees
that Canada outperforms OECD peers on many measures
(e.g. stroke mortality, cancer mortality for men), while in
others it does not compare well (e.g. cancer mortality for
women, especially for lung cancer).21 The overall conclusion
seems to be that, for broad population health outcomes,
Canada’s healthcare systems register results consistent
with OECD averages.
As to health promotion and behavioural choices, Canada
has made significant progress in reducing tobacco
consumption: the rate of daily smokers among adults has
fallen from 22 percent in 2001 to 16 percent in 2012.
However, the proportion of obese Canadians has risen
over the past decade, with 25 percent of adults meeting
height and weight criteria for obesity.22 That proportion
remains lower than in the US (35 percent in 2012) and
Australia (28 percent),23,24 but its rise foreshadows increases
in chronic health problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular
diseases, and arthritis – along with higher healthcare costs.
Figure 2.4: Percentage of Doctors Reporting That “Almost All” Their Patients Can Get a
Same or Next-Day Appointment
100%
90%
80%
70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
Canada
Sweden
Australia
Norway
United States
United Kingdom
Germany
New Zealand
Netherlands
Switzerland
France
0%
Source: Adapted from Schoen C, Osborn R. The Commonwealth Fund 2012 International Health Policy Survey of Primary Care Physicians. New
York (United States): The Commonwealth Fund; 2012.
Available from: www.commonwealthfund.org/~/media/Files/Publications/In%20the%20Literature/2012/Nov/PDF_2012_IHP_survey_chartpack.
pdfCommonwealth Fund
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UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
Access to Healthcare in Canada
Notwithstanding the obvious importance of outcomes,
access to care may be the aspect of healthcare that matters
most to patients and their families. Access has been an
ongoing public concern for the past two decades. Interest
peaked in the late 1990s and early 2000s when stories about
waiting times for a variety of specialized services drew wide
media coverage.
In response, the 2004 intergovernmental health accord
included $5.5 billion in federal funding over 10 years to
address wait times for five priority clinical areas: cancer,
heart, diagnostic imaging, joint replacement and sight
restoration (cataract surgery).25 Provinces and territories
reinforced this commitment with their own operating
funds, and gave special attention to these priorities, with
tangible results. For example, during the last five years
the number of radiation treatments has risen 34 percent
across Canada, while hip replacements are up 28 percent
and knee replacements up 24 percent. About eight out
of 10 patients have received these procedures within
benchmark waiting times. Notably, 98 percent of radiation
therapy was delivered within the benchmark of 28 days.26
In these areas, Canada compares favourably with peer
countries across the OECD.21
On the other hand, it appears that Canadians still have
suboptimal access to ambulatory care – including family
doctors, various specialists, nurse practitioners and nurses,
non-physician psychotherapists, and physiotherapists.
Access to basic primary care in particular compares poorly
to other nations. For example, a 2012 study of 10 nations
conducted by the US-based Commonwealth Fund found
that only 22 percent of Canadian doctors say their patients
can get an appointment the same or next day they call
(compared to 38 percent in Australia and 55 percent in the
UK) and only 45 percent of doctors have a family practice
that provides for after-hours care (compared to 95 percent
in the UK and 81 percent in Australia).27
The lack of access to community-based care represents a
lost opportunity for upstream interventions that can
improve patients’ quality of life, as well as prevent costly
hospitalizations. It also underscores questions raised by
some provincial governments about their return on major
investments in primary care reform.
Five years ago, the Commonwealth Fund found that, in
comparison to citizens in Australia, New Zealand, Germany,
US and the UK, Canadians were most likely to visit hospital
14
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emergency rooms for conditions amenable to care by a family
doctor or primary care nurse.28 Two years later, an analysis
from the National Ambulatory Care Reporting system showed
that half of the people in Canadian emergency rooms were
deemed to have non-urgent low-acuity conditions (see figure
2.5).29 It is convenient to blame patients for these visits, but
a more likely explanation is that access to primary and
ambulatory care (for example, care after hours) remains
suboptimal. The Panel suspects that some of this shortfall
could be addressed by greater use of nurse practitioners for
primary and specialty care, but has also been struck that health
human resource planning in Canada reflects the same
stovepipe approach that bedevils the system as a whole.
While access is understandably top of mind for many
Canadians, there is another vital dimension of healthcare
performance. How good is the quality of the healthcare
once Canadians access it? Answering that question
requires more specific measures than broad population
health outcomes.
Figure 2.5 Relative Percentages of
Emergency Department Patients Who Were
Admitted or Not Admitted to Inpatient
Care, by Acuity Level, 2010-2011
8%
1%
47%
44%
Admitted, High Acuity
Not Admitted, High Acuity
Admitted, Low Acuity
Not Admitted, Low Acuity
Source: Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). Health Care
in Canada, 2012: A Focus on Wait Times. Ottawa: (CIHI); 2012.
Available from: http://www.cihi.ca/cihi-ext-portal/pdf/internet/
HCIC2012_CH2_EN
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REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
Figure 2.6 Nation Summary Scores on Health Systems Performance
AUS
CAN
FRA
GER
NETH
NZ
NOR
SWE
SWIZ
UK
US
OVERALL RANKING
4
10
9
5
5
7
7
3
2
1
11
Quality Care
2
9
8
7
5
4
11
10
3
1
5
Effective Care
4
7
9
6
5
2
11
10
8
1
3
Safe Care
3
10
2
6
7
9
11
5
4
1
7
Coordinated Care
4
8
9
10
5
2
7
11
3
1
6
Patient-Centered Care
5
8
10
7
3
6
11
9
2
1
4
8
9
11
2
4
7
6
4
2
1
9
Cost-Related Access
Problems
9
5
10
4
8
6
3
1
7
1
11
Timeliness of Care
6
11
10
4
2
7
8
9
1
3
5
Efficiency
4
10
8
9
7
3
4
2
6
1
11
Equity
5
9
7
4
8
10
6
1
2
2
11
Healthy Lives
4
8
1
7
5
9
6
2
3
10
11
Access
Health Expenditures
per Capita, 2011*
$3,800 $4,522 $4,118 $4,495 $5,099 $3,182 $5,669 $3,925 $5,643 $3,405 $8,508
*Expenditures shown is $US PPP (purchasing power parity); data for Australia from 2010.
Data: OECD, OECD Health Data, 2013 (Nov. 2013).
Adapted from Davis K, Stremikis K, Squires D, et al. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: How Performance of the U.S. Health Care System Compares
Internationally. New York (United States): The Commonwealth Fund; 2014. Available from: http://www.commonwealthfund.org/~/media/files/
publications/fund-report/2014/jun/1755_davis_mirror_mirror_2014.pdf
Quality of Care
The Myth of the ‘Miracle System’
On several key measures of quality of care, Canada performs
well. For example, survival rates in the 30 days following a
heart attack are better than the OECD average,30 as are
survival rates after treatment of breast and colorectal cancer.
On the other hand, the rate of post-operative pulmonary
embolism or deep vein thrombosis for hip or knee replacement
surgery is higher than elsewhere in the OECD, as is the rate
of obstetrical trauma.31 The overall picture suggests that
condition-specific quality of care in Canada may be somewhat
above average for the entirety of the OECD.
The most plausible interpretation of the foregoing profiles
is that Canada has been spending relatively more money
for thoroughly middling performance. Are there other
nations that provide plausible examples to show we could
be doing better?
As depicted in figure 2.6, however, in comparison to peer
nations with high-performing healthcare systems, Canada
lags in terms of overall quality of care. In the 2014
Commonwealth Fund ranking, Canada ranked between
7th and 10th on key indicators of quality. Our overall ranking
at 10th out of 11 nations is also sobering.
The experience of the UK is one. Governance of the UK’s
National Health Service (NHS) has been devolved by
jurisdiction to England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and
Scotland. However, the combined effects of reinvestment
and restructuring have been dramatic. The result is that the
NHS, once perceived to be in chronic crisis, now tops most
rankings, while spending much less per capita than Canada.13
Australia is another strong performer.13 For many years
Australia ranked near the bottom of the top 10 in the
OECD healthcare league tables. Today, it sits within the
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UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
top three or five on most measures, and outperforms
Canada on many major health outcome indicators (e.g.
life expectancy, infant mortality rates, mortality amenable
to healthcare, diabetes prevalence and suicide rates per
100,000).14,32 This has been achieved while constraining
healthcare spending in 2012 to 9.1 percent of GDPvi, well
below Canadian spending.23
The problem for those seeking a single model system,
however, is that Australia could not be more different from
the UK.
The UK depends on four unitary health services, with
avoidance of charges at most points of care. The latter
ethos will be familiar to Canadians. Specialists within the
National Health Services are paid by salary and employed
by regional trusts. They have limited opportunity to engage
in private practice. Family physicians – or general
practitioners (GPs) as they are better known – are paid on
a per-patient or capitated basis. Integration of GPs with
the wider system is promoted by their involvement in
commissioning a range of other services.
Australia, in contrast, relies on a complex web of public
and private insurance plans and institutions. Basic coverage
for public hospitals, physician services, and drugs is provided
in a national Medicare program sponsored by the federal
government. However, about half the population has
additional private insurance, and private hospitals are
well-established.33 Co-payments at point of service are
common, although protections are provided for low-income
patients. Overall hospital budgeting is activity based, with
state-level oversight but funding through federal, state and
territory budgets. Last, while some specialists are salaried,
the majority of physicians work on a fee-for-service basis
and have considerable latitude to set their own fees.
The differences between the UK and Australia are revealing
in other ways. As noted above, Canada’s public-private
mix in healthcare finance is 70:30, giving rise intuitively to
concerns that our lower proportion of public spending
contributes to our underperformance. However, while the
UK has an 84:16 public-private split in spending, Australia’s
split is 68:32.
The example of the UK also underscores the earlier caveat
about absolute spending levels. Despite its much lower
proportion of private spending, the UK’s adjusted level of
public spending in 2012 was about US$2,750 per capita.
Canada’s adjusted public spend was about US$3,200 per
capita – approximately 20% more and a massive difference
when scaled up nationally.
The contrast in these two high-performing universal
systems underscores that there is no plug-and-play
healthcare model. Healthcare systems instead arise from
a socio-political, economic, and demographic context.34
Of course, specific lessons can be learned from highperforming systems; some of those programs and principles
will be covered in later chapters. However, there are two
implications worthy of mention now. First, in learning
from other nations Canada will need to adapt flexibly rather
than adopt slavishly. And second, the lack of an off-theshelf ‘miracle system’ lends additional importance to
Canadian healthcare innovation at a grass-roots level.
Innovative Energy on the
Front Lines
As noted earlier, members of the Panel were often inspired
and somewhat overwhelmed by the number of impressive
improvements that Canadians are busy making in their
local and regional healthcare systems. This extremely
abbreviated sampling is intended only to provide a sense
of the scope of activity.
The Panel heard many examples of creative use of technology,
not least in addressing the special challenges of rural and
remote communities. For example:
•
The use of “doctor in a box” robotics technology in
northern Saskatchewan is enhancing long-distance
communication between patients and providers, and
improving clinical consultations with bedside photo
and video capabilities. Likewise, the University of
Saskatchewan’s College of Nursing’s use of robotics
for teaching has been effective and efficient in serving
nursing students living in northern communities.
•
The Northwest Territories’ Med-Response initiative is
a new call centre service that provides a single point
of contact for healthcare practitioners in remote
communities to readily access clinical expertise and
triage-related advice during emergencies, along with
air ambulance dispatch services when needed.
vi T
he discussion below is based on the 2014 OECD report and primarily draws
on 2012 data.
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•
•
•
Newfoundland has partnered with CIHR and private
industry – including IBM – to launch the Translational
and Personalized Medicine Initiative. Discussed further
in Chapter 7, this initiative will harness big data
analytics, top genetic and genomic research expertise,
and Newfoundland’s unique population with a view
to reducing healthcare costs and improving patient
outcomes through precision medicine approaches.
Nunavut Telehealth is working with the Tele-Link
Mental Health Program at the Hospital for Sick
Children in Toronto to improve access to specialized
mental health services for children and youth. Through
the use of videoconferencing, mental health workers
in Nunavut will be able to connect with each other, as
well as consult with specialists in other provinces in
order to provide comprehensive clinical psychiatric
and psychological assessments.
Known as the “hospital without walls,” New Brunswick’s
Extra Mural Program continues to be recognized as an
innovative publicly funded program that provides
comprehensive health services to individuals living in
their homes or communities. Since its inception in 1981,
the program continues to evolve, most recently adopting
the use of telehealth and patient education to enhance
communication with providers and support self-care.
More broadly in health information technology, literally
scores of projects were brought to the Panel’s attention,
ranging from scaling-up of patient portals in Nova Scotia,
to the near-universal adoption of electronic medical records
by physicians across BC and Alberta.
The Panel heard and read, too, about the development
of a number of new healthcare delivery models, where
groups of stakeholders – professionals, institutions,
communities, or industry – are working together in novel
ways to deliver more comprehensive and effective care
to patients. Among them:
•
In Nova Scotia, Manitoba and BC, paramedics are being
deployed in new extended roles – for instance, home
visits to assist with providing primary healthcare for
patients who are housebound.
•
In Alberta, Strategic Clinical Networks have grown
rapidly as “bottom-up networks” that foster interprofessional and clinical/academic collaboration to
meet the specialized needs of patients, both upstream
and downstream.
•
In BC, taking a leaf from the Australian playbook,
regional Divisions of Family Practice are facilitating
integration and coordination of primary care for
patients, as well as strengthening support for family
doctors and communities through recruitment and
retention efforts.
•
The Yukon Lands and Culture Base Healing Model,
developed by Kwanlin Dün First Nation Health
Department, is a holistic model that integrates
traditional and modern approaches to health. A range
of practitioners provide integrated care including health
promotion and prevention activities, treatment on the
land and in the community, and traditional knowledge
sharing.
•
PEI has partnered with the Quebec-based
pharmaceutical company AbbVie to develop and
implement a province-wide hepatitis C management
strategy, which will provide access to newer, more
effective drug therapy; strengthen screening and referral
processes; and enable more seamless care for patients
living with hepatitis C.
•
In Québec, l’Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur de Montréal pairs
undergraduate nursing students from the Université
de Montréal and the Université du Québec en Outaouais
with experienced critical care nurses in a six month
residency program. This program has dramatically
improved the competencies of new nurses, as well as
their recruitment and retention at the hospital.
The Panel also heard and read about a number of creative
approaches to community outreach programming. These
programs support experimentation and evaluation to help
patients navigate the system and plan for their own care.
As one example, the INSPIREDTM program has been
providing outreach and support to Halifax patients living
with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Results from
2012 showed dramatic reductions in emergency department
visits and hospitalizations. Harder to measure is the peace
of mind that both patients and their families report from
a better understanding of the disease, its management,
and its usual course. Other encouraging examples will be
presented in Chapter 5.
From a more systemic perspective, the Panel was informed
about a number of initiatives that provided public sector
support for innovation efforts and related culture change.
Among the many notable efforts:
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UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
•
The BC government has made significant investments
in health data and research, and set innovation goals
for the healthcare system as part of the province’s
Innovation and Change Agenda, introduced in 2009.
•
Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions has focused its
efforts on marrying applied healthcare research to
grass-roots innovation, with many successes to date.
•
In Ontario, a very dynamic environment for healthcare
innovation has been fostered in Toronto by the
convergent work, collaboration, and in some cases
co-location of a variety of organizations, including
the University Health Network, MaRS Discovery
District, the Women’s College Hospital, the University
of Toronto, and Saint Elizabeth Health Care.
As the lists of projects grew in the course of the Panel’s
travels, members were reminded of this country’s heritage
of caring and the ‘can-do’ attitude that has long been a
source of pride for Canadians. They also found themselves
increasingly puzzled as to how and why Canada’s healthcare
performance was lagging.
Barriers to the Scaling-Up of
Innovative Ideas
Consultations with stakeholders and citizens again proved
illuminating. Many submissions and discussions converged
on the significant barriers confronting those trying to
initiate, evaluate, and ultimately scale up innovations in
healthcare.
“There is a lack of funding opportunities to
support successful regional initiatives to
become national initiatives. While economies
of scale work in favour of national incentives,
lack of stable operating funding at the national
level impede these efficiencies. Turning a
successful regional pilot into a successful
national initiative requires the commitment of
a stable funder.”
Stakeholder Submission
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The barriers most commonly identified are summarized
below:
Lack of meaningful patient engagement: Many stakeholders
observed that patient and family engagement (as part of
patient-centred care) is important to fostering healthcare
innovation, but under-developed in Canada. Chapter 5
deals in detail with this issue.
Outmoded human resource models: Time and again, the Panel
heard that Canada’s physicians are a superb national
resource, but our healthcare systems have been organized
around and under them in dysfunctional ways. The result
is a waste of talent in all directions. Systems make
suboptimal use of the special training and skills not only
of physicians, but a wide range of other healthcare
professionals. This issue receives attention in Chapters 5
and 6.
“We need to connect the dots. It’s one of our
greatest weaknesses... We have some of the
greatest programs in the world, but we need to
bring them together.”
Stakeholder Submission
System fragmentation: Many saw the system to be burdened
by a lack of integration that effectively stifles innovation,
particularly the spread of innovation between organizations
and across jurisdictions. Managers and professionals in
one region after another acknowledged that patients and
families lose the most in a poorly-coordinated system.
However, they also lamented how the non-alignment of
incentives undercut both strategic purchasing and efficient
management. This factor – lack of integration – emerged
time and again as the single most important barrier to
innovation. Chapter 6 is devoted to the nexus of integration
and innovation.
Inadequate health data and information management capacity:
High-performing healthcare systems generate large
volumes of data and turn those data into useful information
for payers, providers, patients, and industry partners.
Canada still lags in this regard. Chapter 7 offers a more
detailed response to this challenge.
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Lack of effective deployment of digital technology: Canada is
playing catch-up compared to high-performing OECD
peers in the deployment and meaningful use of electronic
medical and health records. These factors underpin the lag
in health data generation and information management
capacity noted immediately above, and reduce the
responsiveness of our healthcare systems to innovation.
Barriers for entrepreneurs: It appears that entrepreneurs
across Canada are finding it difficult to introduce, sustain
and scale up their innovations in the healthcare system.
Leaders of companies – particularly smaller enterprises –
complained about cumbersome approval processes, diffuse
accountability, opaque and fragmented purchasing
processes, mistrust of the private sector, and a perverse
unwillingness to buy Canadian. Stakeholders with
international experience argued that these barriers are
much more prevalent in Canada than in other countries,
where private enterprise is welcomed as a risk-sharing
partner. Chapter 9 returns to this issue.
Can Spread and Scaling-Up Win
the Day?
Many stakeholders advised the Panel that the gridlock in
Canadian healthcare could be meaningfully improved
simply by finding better ways to spread and scale up all
the initiatives and programs that are currently working
well but have not been widely adopted.
What exactly is meant by these terms? “Innovation spread”
is primarily a diffusion exercise, involving sharing and
learning among relatively homogeneous groups of
practitioners or settings. For example, studies dating to
the 1950s have identified the factors involved in doctors
being slow or rapid adopters of innovations, along with
possible modalities for speeding up adoption. 36
“We have the best pilots and studies, but we
don’t seem to take it to the next step…
A risk-averse culture: It is unsurprising that healthcare delivery
innovation isn’t just coming up with an idea,
systems are risk-averse. Mistakes can be fatal. However,
some stakeholders argued that the precautionary principle it’s about making it sustainable.”
in clinical care had pervaded the organization and finance
of the system as a whole, contributing to stasis and impeding
the spread of innovation. Until a change in culture is
signalled, they argued, leaders in the system may be reluctant
to confront those who have a vested interest in the status
quo, or who simply have what was described as “NIH
syndrome” – a pathological suspicion of anything that is
‘Not Invented Here.’ The Panel supports these concerns.
Inadequate focus on understanding and optimizing innovation:
Stakeholders told the Panel that healthcare systems leaders
make too many decisions that are short-term and politicized.
They observed a lack of overarching vision for Canada’s
healthcare systems, and called for greater clarity of objectives
and firmer follow-through on priorities for innovation,
architectural changes to the system, and rules of engagement
for participation by innovators from the public and private
sectors alike. Stakeholders also noted the limited funding
for pragmatic evaluation as distinct from academic research,
and lack of both mechanisms and the political will to spread,
scale up, and sustain high-potential innovations.
This list of barriers may explain why a former federal health
minister once famously characterized Canada as “a country
of perpetual pilot projects.”35 Certainly the combination of
creative energy and substantial barriers would also explain
the frustration among stakeholders cited in Chapter 1.
Participant at Regional Consultation
This diffusion approach is largely what the Panel witnessed
in Canada – a strategy of engaging professionals and
managers, and sometimes entire organizations, to move
slowly in a positive direction. A provincial quality council
might speed up the adoption of surgical checklists or
process-of-care improvements. At other times, a searchable
repository of promising practices might be put into play,
with positive results. This is all important work, but given
the identified barriers, unlikely to precipitate rapid changes
in Canadian healthcare.
“Scaling up,” in contrast, implies taking a system-wide
perspective on adoption. “Scaling up means expanding,
adapting and sustaining successful policies, programs or
projects in different places and over time to reach a greater
number of people.”37 This requires thinking less about
small collaborative approaches and more about long-term
vision, the use of financial incentives (or removal of
perverse ones), changes to laws and regulations, and other
interventions that might spur system-wide adoption.
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UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
“When we try to spread innovation within a
region or between regions, we fail day in and
day out. We don’t do well… we haven’t figured
out what the barriers are.”
Permanente, the largest managed care organization in
the US with more than 35 medical centres and 150,000
employees, constantly uses its varied operations to test
new ways of delivering healthcare. If the results are
positive for patients, Kaiser rapidly adapts and scales
up the resulting innovations to reach its almost 10
million subscribers.
Participant at Regional Consultation
•
The World Health Organization deepens this definition by
warning that more resources alone are rarely enough to
ensure successful scaling-up. Scaling-up instead requires a
dedicated focus on removing constraints, which may include
weak management systems. Success factors include: 38
•
A partnership of organizations working on service
delivery, financing and/or stewardship (co-ordination,
regulation etc.)
•
A highly committed group of individuals to push it along
•
Monitoring implementation, in order to assess progress
relative to objectives and for identifying aspects of the
scale-up which are not working well, often a neglected
component of efforts to scale up
Though explicit scaling-up strategies are uncommon in the
healthcare systems of the OECD, the Panel did learn of
examples where high-performing health systems had
invested to take successful local experiments and scale them
up to the level of regional or even national health systems:
•
•
20
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England’s National Health Service has recently
established a formal NHS Innovation Accelerator
program, established with the goal of “giving patients
more equitable access to cutting edge, high impact
products, processes and technologies, by focusing on
the conditions and cultural change needed to enable
the NHS to adopt innovations that matter to patients,
at scale and pace.”39 This program, launched in January
2015, will select up to twenty pioneers to bring into
play tried and tested innovations from the UK and
around the world. The chosen innovations will be
strategically scaled up across parts of the NHS to
improve care and reduce costs. The program is run as
a partnership between the National Health Service,
UCL Partners and the Health Foundation.
Many non-profit group health plans in the US have
taken steps to scale up innovation within their
integrated delivery systems.40 For example, Kaiser
Last, the Panel was impressed by the iterative approach
to innovation being taken by the Center for Medicare
and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) in the US healthcare
system. Under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, the Medicare
and Medicaid administration has wide latitude to amend
payment programs, so long as the Center has evaluated
a particular payment innovation and found, in a rigorous
“signature test,” that it increases the value of the affected
services.vii The CMMI is particularly interested in models
that consolidate funding across service lines – in other
words, integrating budgets to move the focus towards
patients and populations. This work will be revisited in
Chapter 6. For now, it is worth noting that, even with
an approach based on rapid-cycle iterations to refine
payment models, scaling up has been challenging.
Studies are now designed to assess not only the processes
and outcomes of care, but also the factors that might
enable rapid scaling-up of a given payment model.
“Our landscape is littered with clever innovative
boutiques, and when we try to scale them they
remain clever innovative boutiques. They can
only be run by people like those who started
them and in places like where they were started.
What we imagined was taking those boutiques
and scaling them into a chain of healthcare
Walmarts. In reality, what we may need to do is
develop a franchising strategy first.”
US Health & Human Services Official,
commenting on payment reform under
‘Obamacare,’ June 2015
vii A
ny new model can be scaled up if it: a) “reduces spending while maintaining
or improving quality, or improves quality without raising spending, taking into
account a formal certification by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Chief Actuary,” and b) “does not adversely affect the coverage or provision of
benefits.”
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REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
The Panel was encouraged by these activities, chastened
by the clarity and focus of the work being undertaken, and
also mindful that these initiatives were all unfolding in
healthcare systems with a different architecture.
How in Canada can one reconcile the evidence on factors
that allow effective scaling-up with the many barriers the
Panel identified in its consultations? The answer, bluntly,
is that reconciliation is impossible without a new approach.
Too many of the barriers are systemic, not least the
fragmentation of Canadian healthcare. As will become
clear, the Panel believes that more effective scaling-up can
only occur with new federal investments deployed through
new mechanisms, the adaptation of existing machinery, a
commitment to scaling up on the part of provinces and
territories, a new culture of collaboration among jurisdictions,
and a concerted national drive towards system reforms
that integrate budgets, align incentives around quality and
value, and sharpen provider accountabilities. That leads
logically to the question of the federal government’s role
and its current healthcare machinery.
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Chapter 3
The Evolving Federal
Role in Canadian
Healthcare
“Contrary to popular opinion, healthcare is not an exclusive
provincial responsibility under the Canadian constitution…
Over time, a complex system has evolved in which the federal
and provincial governments each have specific regulatory and
administrative roles. To deal with the inevitable policy
overlaps and interdependencies, a thick system of
intergovernmental processes and institutions has grown up
over the last decades.” 41
Gregory P. Marchildon
“Canada’s size and federated structure (with 14 different
healthcare delivery systems) creates barriers. It has often been
said that Canada is a nation of pilot studies because brilliant,
local initiatives that show tremendous promise tend to be very
time-limited, are not adequately funded to include a phase of
scaling-up and spreading of the knowledge, and/or are shared
through mechanisms such as academic journals that have a
limited reach to the front lines where innovation can grow.”
Stakeholder Submission
UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
The Evolving Federal Role in Canadian Healthcare
Medicare remains Canada’s most iconic social program,
and continues to make a difference to the lives of millions
of Canadians. However, to recapitulate, three disconcerting
themes have emerged from the foregoing chapters:
•
International comparisons show that Medicare is
aging badly.
•
A wide range of Canadians working in and around
our healthcare systems have launched impressive
innovations at the local and regional level, but spread
and scaling-up of these improvements are slowed by
a number of barriers, many of which are systemic.
•
Finally, while the programmatic architecture of
Medicare initially helped Canada to achieve universal
access to high-quality hospital and physician services,
that structure has now become one of the major
barriers to transformation of our healthcare systems.
Another layer of complexity in healthcare reform is
Canada’s unique combination of constitutional, political,
and cultural specificities. That is a logical segue to the
themes of this chapter: the evolving federal role in
healthcare, and the relevant machinery of the Government
of Canada as it intersects the healthcare realm. Before
going down that path, it seems both informative and duly
respectful to review and reflect on the work of past
advisory bodies and commissions.
A Common Diagnosis From
Health System Reviews
Canadian healthcare has been studied over the past 25
years by a multitude of task forces, royal commissions and
inquiries on healthcare across provinces and nationally.42
The most prominent provincial reviews, arguably, were
Seaton in BC,43 Mazankowski in Alberta,44 Fyke45 and
Dagnone46 in Saskatchewan, Sinclair47 and Drummond48
in Ontario, and Clair49 in Quebec. However, there have
been many other provincial task forces and committees.
At the national or federal level, key reviews included the
National Forum on Health,50 the Romanow Commission,51
the Kirby Senate Committee,52 and most recently, at the
inter-provincial level, the Council of the Federation’s
Health Care Innovation Working Group.53
24
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With so many reviews arising at different times and places,
some divergence occurs in the analyses and
recommendations, as would be expected. However, what
is more striking is the consistency in both diagnoses and
prescriptions for change. Similar themes emerge again
and again, including:
•
the lack of an integrated and patient-centred
healthcare system,
•
the importance of efficiency and value-for-money in
ensuring system sustainability, and
•
the need to build a shared knowledge-base and learn
from it to improve services for patients and overall
system management.
These reviews have also reaffirmed the values of
universal, portable public insurance for healthcare, and
the principle of access based on need rather than ability
to pay. Greater private financing has been consistently
rejected due to equity and efficiency concerns. 50
All these task forces, inquiries, and commissions have
added positive momentum for improvements in Canadian
healthcare. Yet, they have not resulted in fundamental
change to the system’s architecture, such as modernizing
provider incentives and accountabilities or extending
coverage beyond physician and hospital services. This
phenomenon is so pronounced that it galvanized
publication in 2013 of a scholarly book, entitled Paradigm
Freeze: Why it is so hard to reform health-care policy in
Canada. 54 Whatever the causes of that “freeze,”
jurisdictions seem hesitant to go it alone in making
changes needed to effect a general thaw. Coalitions of
jurisdictions may therefore be essential for change to
occur, but building such alliances is no easy task in our
federation.
Facing Constitutional Realities
Canada by any measure has a decentralized healthcare
system. This reflects a constitutional reality, wherein
provinces and territories have primary responsibility for
laws and regulations governing the administration and
delivery of healthcare services to their residents.
CHAPTER 3 — THE EVOLVING FEDERAL ROLE IN CANADIAN HEALTHCARE
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
It is true that the Constitution Act of 1867 is practically
devoid of references to health and healthcare. Section
91(11) assigns responsibility for “quarantine and the
establishment and maintenance of marine hospitals” to
the federal government, while Section 92(7) assigns
responsibility for all other hospitals to the provinces. That
is the extent of direct commentary on healthcare in our
nation’s founding law. However, the Constitution also
assigns powers over property and civil rights (section
92(13)) and matters of “a merely local or private nature”
(section 92(16)) to provinces.55 Together, these sections
have been interpreted by the courts to mean that provinces
have “exclusive … responsibility for direct delivery of most
medical services, the education of physicians and numerous
other related functions”. The courts have also reaffirmed
the federal role in certain aspects of health and healthcare,
rooted primarily in federal jurisdiction over criminal law
and federal spending powers. In particular, “the federal
government uses its spending power to play a strong role
in the Canadian Medicare system through its financial
contributions and by setting certain national standards
by means of the Canada Health Act”.56
This constitutional construct has the advantage of placing
delivery of a ‘high-touch’ service in the hands of an order
of government that is closer to citizens. It allows for the
regional variation in policies that is essential in a country
with such geographic and demographic diversity. And, as
a happy side-effect, it promotes a degree of pluralism,
allowing each sub-national jurisdiction to be a living
laboratory for healthcare innovation.
Looking internationally, other federations have struck a
different balance.
For example, in the US, the federal administration wields
considerable influence on healthcare financing and
delivery through its responsibility for healthcare for seniors
and its conditional cost-sharing of state-level programs
for low-income individual and families. Robust federal
entities also provide strong national leadership in the
spheres of veterans’ healthcare, health research, drug
regulation, and public health.57 As noted in the preceding
chapters, the American federal government has used these
powers to make an unprecedented push for innovation
over the past few years under the banner of the 2010
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. 58
In Australia, the Commonwealth government has a
prominent role that includes: administering Medicare – the
national medical insurance scheme; supplying
pharmaceutical benefits; and funding of both public
hospitals and population health programs (along with the
states and territories). It regulates “much of the healthcare
system, including private health insurance, pharmaceuticals,
and medical services; and has the main funding and
regulatory responsibility for government-subsidized
residential care facilities.”59 Significant reforms have been
implemented in recent years, touching on everything from
primary care and hospital funding to incentives for private
insurance, often with close federal-state collaboration.
Such comparisons are not meant to imply that Canada is
condemned to underperform in healthcare because it lacks
sufficiently strong levers at the national level. On the
contrary, Canada has achieved a surprisingly high degree
of inter-jurisdictional comparability in coverage for
medically-necessary hospital and physician services. What
one might instead conclude is that Canada has a
demonstrated capacity for creative work-arounds to move
healthcare forward – and progress in future will likely be
made in a similar vein.
The Canadian Way: Visionary
Incrementalism
In Chapter 1, the story of Medicare was sketched in
iconographic terms with heroic figures. One might also
portray Medicare as a story of visionary incrementalism.
Dating back decades, the vision of many advocates was
that Canadians should have reasonably comparable access
to healthcare based on need alone. Getting there required
patience and a careful mix of small and big steps.
Top-down Federalism: the Federal
Spending Power
Much has been written about how the federal government
has used its spending powerviii to shape Canada’s healthcare
system. Federal grants were used to support the construction
of hospitals and medical schools in the 1940s and 1950s. As
outlined in Chapter 1, during the 1950s and 1960s, federal
cost-sharing with provinces allowed the adoption of universal
public hospital insurance across the country, followed by the
adoption of cost-shared universal public medical insurance
in the 1960s and 1970s.60
viii T
he federal spending power is inferred from Parliament’s jurisdiction over
public debt and property (section 91(1A)) and its general taxing power (section
91(3)), effectively giving the federal government the ability to tax and spend
as it sees fit. (Constitution Act of 1867).
CHAPTER 3 — THE EVOLVING FEDERAL ROLE IN CANADIAN HEALTHCARE
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UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
In the 1980s, when concerns about extra-billing by doctors
and hospital user fees threatened the Medicare vision,
Ottawa introduced the Canada Health Act.61 As already
noted, that law made federal transfers conditional on
provincial and territorial health insurance plans meeting
certain criteria and conditions. It restored some of the
leverage that had been lost when the federal and provincial
governments agreed in 1977 to shift from cost-shared
arrangements to formulaic block transfers for health and
post-secondary education.60 The Canada Health Act remains
in force today, although its role and relevance remains the
subject of debate
The federal spending power has often been a source of
inter-jurisdictional controversy. Provinces seized the
opportunity when the federal government offered them
more autonomy in funding and steering healthcare with
block funding in the 1970s. Tensions rose when the federal
government unilaterally reduced the growth of health
transfers in the early 1980s, followed by a freeze, and then
a cut to cash transfers of more than 30 percent in the 1995
federal budget.62 After that, provinces and territories saw
the federal government as an unreliable funding partner,
and vowed never again to place themselves in the position
of making promises to their residents that they might not
have the resources to meet. Though never codified in an
enforceable way, a new approach was agreed in the
aftermath of the failed Meech Lake and Charlottetown
constitutional renewal processes. In effect, the federal
government is now precluded from using its spending
powers to create new social programs in areas of provincial
jurisdiction unless there is broad support from provincial
and territorial governments.ix
As a result, the Panel observes that federal spending
power has evolved into quite a lot of spending and not
much power.
How much spending? In 2015-16, the Canada Health
Transfer (CHT) will provide $34 billion in cash support to
the provinces and territories for their role in administering
and delivering healthcare.63 Figure 3.164 shows that federal
health transfers account for an average of 23 percent of
provincial/territorial spending on healthcare.x From an
historical perspective, federal health transfers as a share
of provincial health spending are now almost as high as
when the Canada Health Act was introduced in 1984.
Even under the cost-sharing agreements of the 1970s, the
overall federal share of provincial health spending never
approached 50 percent as is sometimes asserted. This is
because cost-sharing only applied to hospital and physician
services and not to other services funded by provincial
ix T
hese rules were made explicit in the intergovernmental Social Union Framework
Agreement of 1999, which set the stage for federal reinvestment in healthcare
following cuts to fiscal transfers.
x T
his does not include support provided to “have-not” provinces through the
Equalization program and to territories through Territorial Formula Funding, a
sizeable portion of which is allocated to healthcare.
Figure 3.1 Cash Health Transfer as a % of PT Government Sector Health Expenditures
(Total Canada)
40%
35%
30%
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
26
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CHAPTER 3 — THE EVOLVING FEDERAL ROLE IN CANADIAN HEALTHCARE
2014-15
2011-12
2008-09
2005-06
2002-03
1999-00
1996-97
1993-94
1990-91
1987-88
1984-85
1981-82
1978-79
1975-76
0%
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
health plans.xi Moreover, there is no agreed benchmark,
historical or otherwise, for what a fair share would be.
The federal government for its part has clearly decided to
step away from using health transfers as a way to steer the
next generation of healthcare reforms. That much was
signalled in December 2011 when, as outlined earlier, the
government decided to tie the Canada Health Transfer
escalator to nominal GDP growth beginning in 2017-18, with
a minimum three percent increase per year, and no conditions
beyond meeting the terms of the Canada Health Act.65
Bottom-up Federalism:
Experimentation and Pilot Projects
Federal support for capacity-building and pilot projects in
healthcare delivery has also been part of the Government
of Canada’s approach over the past two decades. The basic
justification was that resources to innovate are difficult to
find in provincial and territorial health ministries that are
under constant pressure to invest every tax dollar into
front-line services – a rationale that remains relevant today.
Among the notable federal programs created since the
mid-1990s were the 1997 Health Transition Fund ($150
million over three years),66 the 2000 Primary Health Care
Transition Fund ($800 million over five years),67 and the
2007 Patient Wait Times Guarantee Pilot Project Fund ($30
million over three years).68
The Panel respects the fine work flowing out of these
initiatives, but also offers a number of observations about
this strategy.
First, the largest fund by far was the Primary Health Care
Transition Fund. In it, the vast majority of funding was
allocated on a per-capita jurisdictional basis. Such allocations
tend to undercut the concept of allocation based on the
merits of an initiative and its scalability nation-wide. The
largest single commitment went to support primary care
“transformation” in Ontario.
Primary care reform in Ontario has been a massive
endeavour that, over many years, has unequivocally
succeeded in shifting payment modalities and raising
incomes for thousands of family physicians. However, as
a 2014 review by Sweetman and Buckley shows, while a
xi T
he big drop in cash transfers that occurred in the late 1970s reflects the transfer
of tax points to provinces under Established Programs Financing.
number of innovative models for primary care have been
rolled out, there is thus far surprisingly limited evidence
for a transformative change in quality, accessibility, or costeffectiveness of primary care.69 Similarly, in British Columbia,
challenges related to comprehensiveness and access to
primary care have persisted, despite the implementation
of new fee codes (on top of regular fees) that were intended
to address these issues.70
Examining the record of all three of these funds, one sees
many exciting projects. However, a number have a strongly
academic flavour or consist of pilot projects of uncertain
generalizability. There is also little sense of follow-on
projects focusing on spreading or scaling-up of these
initiatives within a jurisdiction, let alone on a wider
geographic basis. Here the Panel emphasizes that,
notwithstanding laments about the pervasiveness of pilot
projects in Canada, creating and sharing knowledge through
such projects is desirable. The real failing has been in the
capacity of our healthcare systems to spread or scale up
the best ideas from those projects.
On the other side of the coin, pilot projects are less likely
to have impact or uptake unless they: i) enjoy wide
stakeholder support and address pressing health system
needs; ii) act to link multiple segments of the system and/
or align incentives around change; iii) take into account
from the outset all the systemic barriers that prevent new
approaches from being successfully adopted in the pilot
project, let alone spread passively and scaled up actively;
and iv) are consistent with a vision of healthcare delivery
reform at the upper reaches of government, and therefore
supported by both funding and political will.
There are currently no active federal programs with a
focused mandate to support pilot projects in healthcare.
However, Health Canada continues to support capacitybuilding across the country through existing contributions
programs, such as the Health Care Policy Contribution
Program ($25 million per year).
Health accords: Setting Goals,
Measuring Progress and Following
the Money
The recession of the 1990s saw significant fiscal restraint
at both the federal and provincial/territorial levels. By the
end of the decade, with economic growth on the upswing
and concerns about access and wait times for healthcare
CHAPTER 3 — THE EVOLVING FEDERAL ROLE IN CANADIAN HEALTHCARE
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27
UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
boiling over, governments were poised to make significant
reinvestments. This sparked a new era of federal-provincial
health accords with unprecedented investments by both
orders of government. The menu for shared renewal varied
with the accord, but rolled up to an ambitious agenda:
improved access to care and diagnostic services, reduced
wait times for surgical interventions as noted in Chapter
2, the rolling out of electronic health records, alleviation
of health human resource shortages, reforms to primary
healthcare, investments in home care, and implementation
of a national pharmaceutical strategy. In keeping with
the prevailing intergovernmental ethos, the health accords
set out shared principles and objectives, and committed
all jurisdictions to measure progress and report publicly
on the results achieved. That is, governments would not
be accountable to each other, but rather to the citizens they
serve.71,72
It may be still too early to pronounce in any definitive
manner on the long-term legacy of the health accord period.
Progress was certainly made on many fronts. However,
there were also disappointments, including unfulfilled
promises to create a national pharmaceutical strategy and
a national approach to address home care, as well as limited
progress in transforming primary healthcare.
More fundamentally, with the benefit of hindsight, it
appears that much of the increased federal investment
during this period was absorbed into the system in the
form of increased compensation for physicians, higher
wages for healthcare providers, and increases in the volume
of services provided. For instance, as shown in figure 3.2,
CIHI’s analysis of physician cost drivers in 2011 indicated
that between 1998 and 2008 “physician fee increases
(average annual increase of 3.6 percent) were the main
cost driver during this period, accounting for approximately
one-half of annual growth in expenditure.”5
In other words, it is arguable that, rather than buying
change, federal reinvestments bought more of the same.
To that implied criticism, those involved might well reply:
buying more was always the primary objective. Nonetheless,
an opportunity was missed. Priorities shifted, federalprovincial-territorial goodwill defaulted back to jurisdictional
positioning, and then the global economy went into a
tailspin. We now have a vastly different environment in
healthcare. The question for the federal government is
how to make the most of its role and levers to support the
next generation of improvements to healthcare in Canada.
28
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Figure 3.2 Cost Driver Contributions to
Physician Expenditure, 1998 to 2008
Average Annual Increase = 6.8%
100%
1.50%
80%
1.00%
60%
0.60%
40%
3.60%
20%
0%
Utilization per Capita (Adjusted)
Population Aging
Population Growth
Fee-for-Service Prices
Source: adapted from Canadian Institute for Health
Information (CIHI). Health Care Cost Drivers: The Facts.
Ottawa (CIHI); 2011. Available from https://secure.cihi.ca/free_products/health_care_cost_drivers_the_facts_en.pdf
National Machinery to Support
Partnerships and Collaboration
One approach to supporting innovation and reform in
Canada’s decentralized healthcare system has been the
development of national agencies to support pan-Canadian
collaboration. Health Canada currently provides sustaining
funding for eight national arm’s length health organizations
that have inter-jurisdictional collaboration as a central part
of their mandates.
Pan-Canadian health organizations (PCHOs) have shown
themselves able to function across jurisdictions, bridge federalprovincial-territorial sensitivities in healthcare, and, albeit
with uneven success, provide leadership and coordination in
important areas. Their legitimacy arises in part because they
have been established as not-for-profit corporations at arm’s
length from the federal government. PCHOs have varied
approaches to shared governance that include representation
from governments, experts and stakeholders. This helps
PCHOs to pursue partnerships and shared objectives in a
way that meets public and stakeholder expectations for
national coherence with less political friction than would
occur with direct federal engagement.
CHAPTER 3 — THE EVOLVING FEDERAL ROLE IN CANADIAN HEALTHCARE
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
Figure 3.3: Pan-Canadian Health Organizations Funded by the Federal Government
Pan-Canadian Health
Organization
Description
Origin
Federal
Funding $M/y
2014-1573
FTEs74
Canadian Institute for
Health Information
(CIHI)
Holds much of Canada’s healthcare data and
measures and reports on health system
performance.
1992
77.7
675
Canadian Agency for
Drugs and
Technologies in
Health (CADTH)
Assesses and advises governments on the
cost-effectiveness of drugs and technologies, to
aid in decisions on coverage and reimbursement.
1989
16
145
Canada Health
Infoway
Makes joint investments with provinces and
territories to implement health information and
communication technologies, and support their
uptake.
2001
88.4xii
140
Canadian Foundation
for Healthcare
Improvement (CFHI)
Accelerates healthcare improvement efforts
through partnerships and knowledge-sharing
activities.
1996
11.6xiii
43
2006
47.5
95
2007
14.3
90
Develops tools and partnerships to advance a
Canadian Patient
Safety Institute (CPSI) culture of patient safety.
2003
7.6
35
Canadian Centre for
Substance Abuse
(CCSA)
1988
6.8
50
269.9
1273
Canadian Partnership Coordinates implementation of a national
Against Cancer (CPAC) strategy on cancer prevention and control.
Mental Health
Commission of
Canada (MHCC)
Acts as a catalyst for improving the mental health
system and changing the attitudes and behaviours
of Canadians around mental health issues.
Uses evidence to inform development of strategies
and partnerships to address substance abuse.
TOTAL
xii
2013-14 draw down on 2007/2010 allocations.
xiii Estimated 2014 expenditures from endowment.
Figure 3.3 illustrates how PCHOs vary in terms of funding,
mandates and structures. The first was established in the
late 1980s. Some were the subject of federal-provincialterritorial agreements, while others were launched when
the government of the day chose to shine a light on a
particular issue. Some represent fairly large contributions
from Health Canada (e.g. CIHI at $77.7 million annually),
while others are small (CPSI at $7.6 million). Some have
boards with representation from Deputy Health Ministers
across Canada (Infoway), while others consist of membersat-large (CFHI) and others are a blend of the two (CIHI).
Some are cost-shared with provinces to a greater or lesser
degree (CIHI, Infoway), while others cost share on a
minimal basis, often project-by-project (CFHI, CPSI).
Taken together, these pan-Canadian health organizations
represent a federal investment of some $270 million per
year and employ over 1200 personnel. This is very small
relative to a healthcare system that spends over $215 billion
annually, but does constitute a significant resource for
pan-Canadian collaboration.
As discussed in Chapter 4 and elsewhere in this report, the
Panel sees PCHOs as building blocks for a collaborative
approach to healthcare innovation. Most of these
organizations have had the opportunity to interact with
the Panel over the course of the past year. Each has
demonstrated a strong commitment to supporting change
in their respective spheres of activity. In its recommendations
on PCHOs, the Panel has taken the view that a more
CHAPTER 3 — THE EVOLVING FEDERAL ROLE IN CANADIAN HEALTHCARE
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29
UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
integrated suite of agencies is desirable to create critical
mass while reinforcing the importance of breaking down
existing silos. In other words, what is good for each
healthcare system in terms of greater integration and
collaboration is also good for the machinery supporting
pan-Canadian innovation in healthcare.
Research in Support of
Collaboration
The federal government is a key player in health
research, which in turn is an important input into the
innovation process. The Canadian Institutes of Health
Research (CIHR) is Canada’s premier health research
funding agency, created in 2000 as an independent
agency that is accountable to Parliament through the
Minister of Health. With an annual budget of nearly
$1 billion, CIHR supports peer-reviewed research across
four main ‘pillars’: basic science, clinical, health services
and policy, and population and public health. The CIHR
model – with 13 distinct institutes across a range of
health disciplines – was itself an innovation that has
drawn praise and interest from other countries. 75
Research in basic science was the primary focus of
CIHR’s predecessor organization, the Medical Research
Council of Canada. The addition of the other three
pillars has broadened CIHR’s mandate. However, an
external review in 2012 showed that, over the course
of a decade, basic science has continued to receive
about 80% of all funds awarded through open grant
competitions. The smallest proportion in that period
has been awarded to health services and policy.
Grantees from this pillar also consistently reported the
highest proportion of research studies that led to
changes in healthcare programs or policies. 76
Partly in response to the need for research that would be
more relevant to patients, front-line clinicians and
healthcare system managers, CIHR launched the Strategy
for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) in 2012. The SPOR
initiative brings together federal, provincial and territorial
partners with the goal of integrating their research into
care and ensuring that the right patient receives the right
intervention at the right time. The strategy is comprised
of five elements – SUPPORT units, networks, capacity
development, patient engagement and improving Canada’s
competitiveness in conducting clinical trials.77 To date
SUPPORT units have been created in several jurisdictions
with matching funding from provinces, and three networks
30
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have been launched in: youth and adolescent mental health,
primary and integrated healthcare innovation, and chronic
diseases.78,79 Though it is early days, the Panel sees SPOR
as synergistic with some of the objectives delineated in its
report, and addresses possible future directions for and
collaboration with SPOR in Chapters 4 and 7.
In addition to CIHR, the federal government supports
health research through the Canadian Foundation for
Innovation (CFI) and Genome Canada. CFI is an
independent corporation that provides infrastructure
funding to support leading-edge research and development
in Canada.80 Genome Canada is a non-profit corporation
that invests and manages large-scale research projects in
priority areas including health (e.g. personalized medicine,
bioinformatics, etc.).81 While CIHR reports to the federal
health minister, CFI and Genome Canada are part of the
industry portfolio.
Federal Health Levers: Beyond
the Usual Suspects
Beyond the big, visible levers reviewed in the previous
section, there is a second tier of federal responsibilities and
levers that have the potential to make a significant
contribution to healthcare innovation in Canada. Most of
these fall under the responsibility of the federal health
minister, but some are housed in other ministries.
Regulation of Health Products, Food,
and Risks to Health
Although Health Canada is responsible for regulating a
range of products, tobacco and controlled substances and
risks posed by environmental factors,82 the regulation of
pharmaceuticals and medical devices is of particular interest
to the Panel given the link to healthcare innovation.
Health Canada has responsibility for regulating
pharmaceuticals, including the assessment of the safety,
efficacy and quality of drugs before approval of sale in
Canada, and is also responsible for monitoring post-market
safety of drugs. The federal government also regulates the
price of patented drugs in Canada through the Patented
Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) by virtue of
authorities set out in the Patent Act.83 The PMPRB ostensibly
regulates patented drug prices to ensure that prices are
“not excessive” by limiting increases in the price of existing
patented drugs to the rate of general inflation, and by
CHAPTER 3 — THE EVOLVING FEDERAL ROLE IN CANADIAN HEALTHCARE
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
benchmarking the price of new patented drugs against
comparable drugs already on the Canadian market or, in
the case of breakthrough drugs, to a basket of comparator
countries.84
Health Canada also oversees the regulatory framework for
medical devices, which includes medical devices used in
the treatment, mitigation, diagnosis, or prevention of
disease. The department is responsible for assessing the
safety, effectiveness and quality of medical devices through
pre-market review, post-approval surveillance and quality
systems in the manufacturing process.85
The Panel has heard a range of views from stakeholders
about the effectiveness of these levers and has set out its
analysis and recommendations in Chapters 8 and 9.
Figure 3.4: Spending on Health Services
for First Nations, Inuit, and Other Federal
Populations in 2014/15 (in $ Millions)xiv
First Nations and Inuit Health
2563
Correctional Service of Canada
189
Citizenship and Immigration
58
National Defence
537
Veterans Affairs
1100
TOTAL
4447
Figure 3.5: First Nations and Inuit Health
Branch Budget, 2014-15
398.6M/16%
Health Services for First Nations, Inuit,
and Other Federal Populations
832.2M/32%
203.9M/8%
The federal government is responsible for provision of
health services to a number of federal populations, including
First Nations and Inuit, the Canadian Forces and veterans,
prisoners of federal penitentiaries, and some refugee
claimants. Taken together, these programs account for
nearly $4.5 billion in annual spending, as shown in
figure 3.4.86 Observers have remarked that this makes the
federal government the fifth largest healthcare system in
the country. In reality, however, these programs are all
managed independently by different departments – a fact
that leads the Panel to question the absence of a coordinating
function and the extent of group procurement. In any case,
none of these programs constitutes a proper healthcare
system, since many of the services these groups receive
are delivered through provincial and territorial healthcare
systems, albeit in some instances funded by the federal
government.
1127.9M/44%
Primary Health Care
Health Infrastructure Support
Supplementary
Health Benefits
BC Tripartite Initiative
xiv Kapelus M. Presentation to the Advisory Panel on Healthcare Innovation.
Ottawa: First Nations and Inuit Health Branch: Health Canada; 2015.
Correctional Service of Canada. 2014-15 Report on Plans and Priorities.
Ottawa: Correctional Service of Canada; 2014. Available from: http://www.
csc-scc.gc.ca/publications/092/005007-2602-eng.pdf;
Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Report on Plans and Priorities
2014-15. Ottawa: Citizenship and Immigration Canada; 2014. Available
from: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/publications/rpp/2014-2015/;
Department of National Defence. 2014-15 Report on plans and priorities.
Ottawa: Citizenship and Immigration Canada; 2014. Available from: http://
www.forces.gc.ca/assets/FORCES_Internet/docs/en/DND-RPP-2014-15.pdf;
Health Canada, Report on Plans and Priorities 2014-15. Ottawa: Health
Canada; 2014. Available from http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/performance/
estim-previs/plans-prior/2014-2015/report-rapport-eng.php
Veterans Affairs Canada. Report on Plans and Priorities 2014-15. Ottawa:
Veterans Affairs Canada; 2014. Available from: http://www.veterans.gc.ca/
eng/about-us/reports/report-on-plans-and-priorities/2014-2015/
report/2-0#prog133
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UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
Health Canada’s First Nations and Inuit Health Branch
(FNIHB) is a key provider and funder of health services for
First Nations and Inuit communities, with an annual outlay
of nearly $2.6 billion, as depicted in figure 3.4. FNIHB
provides and/or funds a range of programs and services
that supplement those provided by provinces and territories,
including community-based health promotion and disease
prevention programs, primary care services, programs to
control communicable diseases and address environmental
health issues, and health infrastructure support. FNIHB
also oversees the Non-Insured Health Benefits program.
This program provides supplementary health insurance
for First Nations registered under the Indian Act87 and
eligible Inuit regardless of where they live. It covers
medically necessary goods and services not covered by
private or provincial/territorial programs.88,89
How these programs are delivered varies considerably
across communities. While FNIHB is responsible for the
administration and delivery of these programs in some
First Nations and Inuit communities, other communities
are responsible for the administration of these health
services through contribution agreements and Health
Service Transfer Agreements with FNIHB. The latter reflect
alternative health governance arrangements that have been
established either through land-claim agreements, or
through other agreements reached between Aboriginal
communities and federal, provincial and territorial
governments.89
Given that these services fall directly within federal
responsibility, the Panel felt it was important to engage
with key stakeholders and advise if possible on strategies
that might help address what are clearly pressing problems.
Members did so with trepidation in light of the significant
health challenges facing all Aboriginal communities, the
evolving self-governance landscape, and the time
constraints of their mandate. The healthcare arrangements
for First Nations struck the Panel as particularly fragmented.
This situation is a function of the number of self-governing
First Nations, total population size and presence across
the provinces and two of three northern territories, and
diversity of living circumstances. That said, observations
and recommendations have been advanced that arguably
can be generalized in some measure to healthcare for all
of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples. These are set out in
Chapter 6.
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Prevention and Public Health
Responsibility for public health is shared among all levels
of government, as well as the private sector, non-profit
organizations, health professionals, and the public. The
Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) was created in
2004 within the Health Portfolio to respond to the federal
government’s “commitment to increase its focus on public
health in order to help protect and improve the health and
safety of all Canadians and to contribute to strengthening
public health capacities across Canada.”90
The Public Health Agency of Canada, with expenditures
exceeding $600 million in 2013-14, is broadly responsible
for: contributing to the prevention of disease and injury,
as well as promoting health; enhancing surveillance
information and expanding knowledge related to disease
and injury; providing federal leadership and accountability
in handling national public health events; strengthening
intergovernmental collaboration and national approaches
to public health policy/planning; and supporting
international collaboration in public health and the sharing
of Canada’s expertise.91
In their written submissions, some stakeholders and
members of the public identified the need for a greater
focus on disease prevention and health promotion, and
some also urged that the Public Health Agency of Canada
should play a larger role in these respects. The Panel, in
response, observes that PHAC has a very broad mission.
Local health units under provincial and territorial jurisdiction
are much more often engaged with healthcare providers
than the national agency can or should be. The underlying
issue – better integration of healthcare with community
health promotion and social development – is revisited in
subsequent chapters.
Health-related Tax Policy
A number of federal tax measures relate directly to
healthcare.90 Federal tax measures are also in place to help
individuals and their families offset out-of-pocket healthcare
costs that are not covered by public or private health
insurance plans. Other federal tax measures are intended
to provide support for families caring for individuals at
home. In addition, sales tax exemptions are provided for:
the services provided by certain healthcare professionals,
medical devices and products, prescription drugs, and
hospital parking. As well, hospitals receive a GST/HST
rebate on eligible purchases.
CHAPTER 3 — THE EVOLVING FEDERAL ROLE IN CANADIAN HEALTHCARE
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
More generally, the health sector benefits from certain
broad-based tax measures. For example, pharmaceutical
companies benefit from the Scientific Research and
Experimental Development Program, which supports
Canadian businesses in all sectors to conduct research and
development in Canada. Health sector charities and their
diverse causes also benefit significantly from tax measures
to support charitable giving.91
In the Panel’s view, health-related tax measures represent
a significant outlay of federal resources that should be part
of a federal healthcare innovation agenda. The role of tax
policy is explored in detail in Chapter 10.
Economic Development in the Health
Sector
During its consultations, the Panel heard about several
programs supporting healthcare innovation that are
delivered through the industry portfolio:
•
The National Research Council attempts to bridge the
innovation gap between early stage research and
development (R&D) and commercialization, focusing
on socio-economic benefits for Canada and increasing
national performance in business-led R&D and
innovation.92 Current health-related initiatives are
focused on human health therapeutics, medical devices,
and digital health.
•
The National Research Council’s Industrial Research
Assistance Program provides assistance in the form of
advice and funding to help small and medium-sized
companies build their innovation capacity.93
•
The Networks of Centres of Excellence Canada is jointly
administered by the three national granting councils
(CIHR, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research
Council, Social Sciences and Humanities Research
Council), in partnership with Health Canada and
Industry Canada. The aim is to create innovative
partnerships that “mobilize Canada’s best research
and development talent to build a more advanced,
healthy, competitive, and prosperous Canada.”94
In consultations, healthcare innovators and entrepreneurs
also emphasized the role of Export Development Canada
and the Business Development Bank of Canada as well as
regional development agencies in supporting small and
medium-sized enterprises in the health sector to develop
and commercialize their products.
Although healthcare innovators do seek federal support
through various economic development agencies and
programs, the Panel concluded that federal departments,
notably Health Canada and Industry Canada, need to work
together more closely to assist healthcare entrepreneurs.
To recapitulate briefly, this chapter has offered an overview
of the federal machinery in the healthcare field. It
emphasized that the Government of Canada has steadily
migrated away from the conditional cost-sharing
arrangements that prevailed in the 1950s and 1960s. Today,
the Canada Health Transfer is set to escalate in lockstep
with GDP growth and has no conditions other than
compliance with the Canada Health Act. Given this new
reality, the patchy record of previous arrangements, and
the evidence of declining performance by Canada’s
healthcare systems, the question before the Panel rapidly
became: Is there a new model for strategic federal funding
that could build true collaboration, create a vision for
innovation, and break the current healthcare policy gridlock?
This chapter’s review also summarized many federal
investments already in place across a range of areas linked
to healthcare innovation, and highlighted a number of
lesser known federal levers. Thus, a related question for
the Panel was: can this machinery be part of the solution
to Canada’s healthcare innovation gap?
These questions are addressed in Chapter 4.
CHAPTER 3 — THE EVOLVING FEDERAL ROLE IN CANADIAN HEALTHCARE
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UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
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CHAPTER 3 — THE EVOLVING FEDERAL ROLE IN CANADIAN HEALTHCARE
Chapter 4
Breaking the Gridlock
“Scaling up to meet the need is equivalent to when a large group of
people must use a bus to undertake a crucial journey. If the bus is too
small, or it goes too slowly, or it takes a wrong turn, or its mechanical
problems are not fixed, or it is badly driven, it won’t reach its
destination in time. Simply pouring in more fuel won’t resolve these
problems. Governments and other players in the countries involved
must deal with all the issues if the journey is to succeed.” 95
Bernard Rivers
“There should be a vehicle in place – a cheerleader – that would be
willing to accept risks and potentially fail. This could be a credible
and independent ‘Centre for Innovation’ in Canada to transmit onthe-ground lessons, versus high-level discussions, so that the wheel is
not constantly being reinvented.”
Stakeholder Submission
UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
Breaking the Gridlock
The preceding chapters have presented good news and
bad news. The good news is that Canada’s healthcare
systems have formidable assets: a dedicated and welltrained workforce, that, along with reputable institutions
and agencies, delivers care to countless Canadians every
day; a societal consensus on the value of making health
services available to all Canadians on the basis of need;
and a strong spirit of innovation at all levels of every system.
Chapter 3 further illustrated that, notwithstanding
constitutional realities and political conflicts, Canadian
governments have often worked around the existing
constraints to create new funding arrangements, necessary
partnerships, and supporting national machinery.
That said, the bad news is that our performance is slipping
in international league tables. Substantial numbers of
Canadians are concerned about the state of healthcare in
their respective jurisdictions. We are paying a lot for a
relatively narrow bundle of publicly-insured services.
Although there are many great ideas in circulation and
extraordinary pockets of innovative activity across the
country, Canada has not been successful in mobilizing
large scale change at the system level.
This chapter accordingly examines some of the forces
shaping healthcare, in two respects: how innovation is
fostered in high-performing healthcare systems, and what
global trends are forcing even more rapid-cycle innovation
in healthcare. Above all, the chapter sets out the rationale
and substance of a set of recommendations that the Panel
views as essential to creating a new model of interjurisdictional and multi-stakeholder collaboration, leading
to improved scaling-up of innovation and, in time, much
stronger healthcare systems for all Canadians.
Bottom-up and Top-Down
Innovation
To assist in its deliberations, the Panel had the benefit of
digesting a large number of scholarly reports on highperforming healthcare systems, and as noted earlier,
spending a day with leading experts from the UK, the US
(Kaiser Permanente), Australia, the Netherlands, and
Denmark. These inputs led to a simple but useful insight.
Every high-performing healthcare system encourages
front-line staff to innovate on a bottom-up basis. Every
high-performing system also depends on leaders to play
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CHAPTER 4 — BREAKING THE GRIDLOCK
a crucial role in setting the vision and direction for change,
and rewards those leaders for judicious use of their authority
to support the testing and scaling-up of promising ideas
from any source.
Earlier chapters have emphasized the growing momentum
for bottom-up innovation across Canada. The Panel also
heard about supportive top-down approaches across the
country, with system leadership in multiple provinces that
showed a commitment to accelerating innovation on the
ground. These are promising developments.
At the same time, the Panel members were taken aback
by the extent to which stakeholders focused on small
differences between jurisdictions, regions and institutions.
Whereas leaders of high-performing healthcare systems
are open to adopting or adapting well-proven innovations
from anywhere, some Canadian leaders seemed stricken
with the “Not Invented Here syndrome” described in
Chapter 2. The Panel’s conclusion was that positive changes
in Canadian healthcare systems could be accelerated by
mechanisms that challenge our propensity to reinvent the
healthcare wheel, city by city, and region by region. As
the following review of wider pressures for change indicates,
Canada is too short on both time and money to continue
indulging in healthcare parochialism.
Turning Challenges into
Opportunities for Change
The challenges facing Canada’s healthcare system are not
materially different from those facing high-performing
systems in other countries. The difference is that highperforming systems are able to leverage these pressures
into opportunities for change.
In this respect, the Panel sees the following challenges
facing Canada’s system as key opportunities for innovation:
•
Patients want “in.” As society becomes less hierarchical,
patients want to take charge of their health and
healthcare. They increasingly see themselves as
partners in their own care and are less willing to accept
poor customer service, including communication gaps
and outdated communication technology, long waiting
times, and poorly integrated services. They expect to
interact with a responsive system that is designed
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
around their needs, not around the needs of providers
and system managers. While these expectations
increase the pressure on providers and systems, they
also provide an opportunity to give patients greater
responsibility for their own health and healthcare.
This, in turn, can be leveraged to improve quality and
potentially reduce the cost of care.
system remains organized in silos. A more integrated
system that can effectively wrap itself around the needs
of the patient could deliver better care and better
outcomes at a lower cost – not just for seniors, whose
growing numbers may propel the change, but for all
Canadians.
•
•
Canada’s population is changing rapidly. Nearly one
quarter of Canada’s population is projected to be over
the age of 65 in 2036,96 with significant variation across
provinces and territories. Atlantic Canada, in
particular, is aging at a faster pace than the rest of the
country. At the same time, the prevalence of many
diseases increases with age, suggesting that as the
population grows older, the burden of chronic illness
will also rise97,98,99
While seniors are most often front and centre, there
are other demographic trends to consider. In some
provinces (e.g. Manitoba and Saskatchewan) the
absolute numbers and relative proportions of Aboriginal
peoples are expanding rapidly.100 One in four children
in Canada is now overweight or obese, increasing
lifetime risks for many chronic health conditions.101
Some see these demographic and disease trends as a
threat to the sustainability of the healthcare system.
However, they are only a threat to sustainability if the
The digital revolution is now disrupting healthcare. A
vast amount of health-related data is being generated
on a daily basis in Canada through clinical encounters,
administrative processes, and clinical research
activity. With the rapid pace, spread and reach of
information and communications technologies – such
as remote monitoring, mHealthxv tools, and ‘wearables’
– information about health and healthcare will grow
exponentially. This offers potential for smarter clinical
decision-making, better research and evaluation,
and more informed and engaged patients. However,
it also requires critical supports in order to channel
and focus this deluge of data into actionable
intelligence that patients, providers, and system
decision-makers can use.
Similarly, society’s knowledge and understanding of
disease is rapidly changing thanks to new developments
xv Mobile health.
Figure 4.1: Population 65 Year and Over, by Region, 2011 and Projected 2036 (%)
14.4%
Canada
23.7%
15.8%
NL
31.0%
15.8%
PE
27.4%
16.5%
NS
28.6%
16.2%
NB
29.4%
15.7%
QC
25.1%
14.2%
ON
23.1%
13.9%
MB
21.4%
14.6%
SK
23.3%
10.8%
AB
21.0%
15.3%
BC
8.8%
YT
23.8%
19.6%
5.6%
NT
20.1%
3.2%
NU
0%
10.8%
5%
Year 2011
10%
15%
20%
25%
30%
35%
Year 2036
Source: Adapted from Employment and Social Development Canada calculations based on Statistics Canada. Estimates of population, by age group and sex for July 1, Canada,
provinces and territories, annual (CANSIM Table 051-0001); and Statistics Canada. Projected population, by projection scenario, sex and age group as of July 1, Canada, provinces
and territories, annual (CANSIM table 052-0005). Ottawa: Statistics Canada; 2011.
CHAPTER 4 — BREAKING THE GRIDLOCK
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UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
in biotechnology. Precision medicine heralds a new
era for diagnosing, treating and preventing disease
that will move away from a ‘one size fits all’ strategy
to a more individualized approach based on a patient’s
genetic makeup. It offers an opportunity to dramatically
improve the effectiveness of healthcare by pinpointing
the right treatment at the right time in the right dose
with reduced side-effects and maximum efficiency.
The incorporation of this new paradigm into Canadian
healthcare must be swift, strategic, and, where
appropriate, sceptical, so that we can maximize its
benefits in a cost-effective manner.
•
•
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The era of rapid growth in healthcare spending is over.
Federal transfers are moving to a formula driven by
GDP growth, and provinces and territories have reined
in spending. 102 Some critics view this as a heavy-handed
tactic by governments to fund tax cuts on the backs of
healthcare providers and patients. This shift, however,
can also be viewed as an opportunity to introduce
overdue changes, i.e., changes in payment models that
reward value rather than volume; changes in how drugs
and medical devices are regulated, reimbursed and
managed; and changes to help healthcare systems
become leaner, more productive, and less wasteful of
tax-payer dollars. Canadians also face increasing direct
financial pressures as the system shifts towards goods
and services – such as drugs, devices, and home care
– that fall outside the traditional Medicare envelope.
Out-of-pocket expenditures for health have risen from
$277 per capita to $840 over the past two decades,
representing a 4.7 percent annual growth.5 This
presents an opportunity to innovate in how we finance
care beyond hospitals and physician services.
Healthcare has become both a social program and an
economic asset. The health sector directly and indirectly
supports more than two million workers in hundreds
of communities across the country,103 oversees
sophisticated infrastructure and procurement of
advanced technology, and supports leading-edge
research with significant commercial potential. In
Canada, the notion of partnering with the private sector
to improve the healthcare system has gained little
traction. Some see this as anathema to the underlying
values of Canadian Medicare. Others see the potential
to reap economic benefits for Canadians while improving
the quality and sustainability of the healthcare system.
Leading systems in other countries are taking the latter
position, and Canada should follow suit.
CHAPTER 4 — BREAKING THE GRIDLOCK
Chapters 5 through 9 delve into each of these areas in
further detail and set out recommendations to the federal
government. But knowing where to focus is only part of
the challenge. Knowing how to move forward is the other,
perhaps more challenging task.
Towards a More Productive
Environment for Collaboration
As discussed in Chapter 3, there have been highs and
lows in collaboration on healthcare across the federation.
When the federal government announced in December
2011 its plan to unilaterally renew the Canada Health
Transfer (CHT) for the period of 2014 to 2024, thereby
pre-empting intergovernmental negotiations on a new
health accord, provinces and territories were
understandably stunned.104,105 The immediate result was
retrenchment on the part of provincial and territorial
governments. If the federal government was not going
to engage with provinces and territories to discuss how
renewal of health transfers could be linked to healthcare
renewal, then provinces and territories would go it alone.
Under the auspices of the Council of the Federation,
provinces and territories created the Health Care Innovation
Working Group in 2012. This group was initially chaired
by the premiers of Saskatchewan and PEI and its
membership was comprised of provincial and territorial
health ministers. It quickly created theme groups to focus
on team-based models and scopes of practice, clinical
practice guidelines and health human resources. It next
produced a comprehensive report in 2012 profiling best
practices across jurisdictions, and identifying priority areas
for further work.106 Currently, the Working Group is
focusing on three areas for collaboration: pharmaceuticals,
appropriateness of care and seniors’ care.107
The pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA) has
already emerged as one of the key outputs. pCPA is
undertaking joint provincial/territorial negotiations for
brand name drugs in Canada, and getting better value for
provincial and territorial drug plans.
On the one hand, the decisive actions taken by provinces
and territories may be seen as a validation of the federal
government’s shift in strategy. Growth in provincial and
territorial health spending has dropped to levels not seen
since the mid-1990s. 5 Significant savings have been
achieved in the pricing of generic and brand name
drugs.108 Experiments with novel payment mechanisms
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
are finally and urgently being undertaken, and in some
jurisdictions the scope of practice of non-physician
providers is expanding.
On the other hand, this new incarnation of ‘two solitudes’
strikes the Panel as suboptimal – and likely to disappoint
those Canadians who expect their governments to
collaborate in solving pressing national problems.
The first limitation of the current provincial/territorial
approach is that it requires time, effort, and money that
may be in short supply. Convening meetings, commissioning
studies, and engaging stakeholders is costly and timeconsuming. It is challenging for provinces and territories
to do this at the national level, not least because, as one
deputy minister told the Panel, “the clinical lion feeds first.”
Apart from the primacy of local service demands, there
are also sharp inter-jurisdictional differences in size and
scope for these activities.
Second, joint work is targeted to select areas where there
is full agreement among provincial and territorial
governments to move forward. As a result, the scope of
activity may be narrow relative to the extant challenges,
and collaborations between subsets of jurisdictions are not
supported under this model.
A final limitation is that there is no available source of
long-term working capital. Cost pressures are sufficiently
intense that jurisdictions may be challenged to free up
funds apart from those focused on the realization of
immediate results. On a related point, although various
provinces have provided ad hoc support for the activities
of the Health Care Innovation Working Group, it seems
more than likely that these efforts could move much faster
with stable personnel and dedicated funding.
In short, the existing provincial and territorial collaboration
for healthcare innovation is a positive step, and could be
greatly accelerated by increased federal engagement on
two practical levels. The federal government has the ability
to fund longer-term machinery at the national level to
support the creation of partnerships and ‘coalitions of the
willing.’ It can also mobilize resources to support
experimentation, evaluation and scaling-up in a more
systematic and efficient fashion.
Apart from these pragmatic considerations, engagement
by the federal government might facilitate the development
of a shared vision for reform. Obviously, such a vision
must respect jurisdictional responsibilities and sensitivities.
On the other hand, as noted earlier, going it alone in
making fundamental changes to healthcare is a daunting
political challenge. Moreover, a national vision could give
voice to the legitimate expectations of Canadians for a
suite of healthcare systems that deliver excellent and
reasonably comparable services across the country.
Healthcare Innovation Fund
For reasons already given, the Panel heard persistent calls from
stakeholders across the country for a national strategy along
with concrete action to support and accelerate innovation in
Canada’s healthcare systems through creation of a catalytic
fund. After extensive deliberation, the Panel concurred that a
protected source of capital that dedicates funds toward
innovation is not only desirable but essential to sustain
momentum for change across jurisdictions. Accordingly, the
Panel is recommending the creation of a multi-year Healthcare
Innovation Fund.
The overall aim of the Healthcare Innovation Fund would
be to enhance the quality and value of healthcare provided
to Canadians, while improving the performance of
Canada’s healthcare systems as measured against their
international peers. To provide predictable funding and
time for major initiatives across multiple jurisdictions, the
Panel believes that the Fund should be created with an
initial term of ten years.
“The federal government should establish a
National Health System Innovation Fund
targeted to provinces and territories to support
the adoption of health system innovations.
Funding criteria should be designed to not
only support the development of these
innovations but to incent their adoption on a
scaled-up basis.”
Stakeholder Submission
CHAPTER 4 — BREAKING THE GRIDLOCK
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UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
A federal Healthcare Innovation Fund would therefore be
positioned to act as a strategic investor with a long-term
view. It would support coalitions of willing partners from
various sectors – i.e. federal, provincial and territorial
governments, patients, providers, and industry
representatives – in developing, testing, and evaluating
new models of care. In keeping with widespread concerns
about fragmentation of accountability and budgets in
healthcare, an obvious priority would be large-scale
demonstrations that promote integration of care and
remove structural barriers to innovation. A second critical
focus would be support for the further adaptation, spread
and scaling-up of the most promising ideas and approaches
to improving Canadian healthcare.
The Panel understands that many of the best prospects for
investment will come from those on or near the front-lines
of healthcare. Other ideas, however, may come from
examining healthcare systems at the proverbial 35,000-foot
level, or by studying international successes. While
priorities for the Healthcare Innovation Fund will therefore
evolve over time, the Panel has made a number of initial
recommendations for high-impact initiatives that can
accelerate work within each of the innovation themes
highlighted in Chapters 5 through 9.
“What we’d like to focus on is, over and above the
transfer, is the federal government going to be
interested in partnering with provinces on
outcomes-specific innovations that we propose?”
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall,
January 2012
has been missing in Canada is a pool of funds to support
change agents as they seek to develop and implement
both incremental and disruptive innovations in the
organization and delivery of healthcare.
The Panel emphasizes in this regard that the creation of
CIHR has been a very significant achievement. As described
in Chapter 3, CIHR’s mandate was built around a wider
scope for academic inquiry than its predecessor organization.
CIHR was also expected to do some bridging from research
to development through initiatives in knowledge translation
and commercialization. However, CIHR was never
intended to engage in non-academic scaling-up of
innovation, or to pursue the type of iterative evaluation of
payment models undertaken by the US Center for Medicare
and Medicaid Innovation. CIHR’s SPOR initiative, as noted
earlier, now has exciting projects underway that bridge
research and development. It thereby bolsters what is a
woefully under-invested field in Canada, and does so in
positive partnerships with provinces and territories.
However, the investments remain modest, and debate
understandably continues among stakeholders as to how
much support CIHR should direct to this type of
development, let alone innovation and implementation,
as opposed to primary academic research.
Indeed, coinciding with the creation of CIHR, the pragmatic
front-line work to apply new knowledge to practice and
policy-making was explicitly hived off to a new but small
agency called the Canadian Health Services Research
Foundation. The Canadian Foundation for Healthcare
Improvement (CFHI), described in Chapter 3, is the direct
successor and latest incarnation of that effort, with a budget
of approximately $10 million per year – 0.005% of total
healthcare spending in Canada. CFHI punches above its
weight in scaling up innovation but has nothing like the
required heft to transform Canada’s healthcare systems.
Taber J. Brad Wall prescribes collaborative federalism to improve heatlhcare. Globe
and Mail; 2012 Jan. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/brad-wallprescribes-collaborative-federalism-to-improve-health-care/article1358383/
The Panel has also carefully considered the nature and
sources of funding, the scale of investment, general
operating principles, and modes of oversight for this new
initiative. It begins by observing that every successful
knowledge-based enterprise makes strategic investments
in research, development, and innovation. The challenge
in the health sphere internationally has been that research
tends to draw the largest share of support, development
follows at some distance, and funding of front-line
innovation is often an afterthought. In like fashion, what
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CHAPTER 4 — BREAKING THE GRIDLOCK
All things considered, the Panel had no trouble concluding
that the goals to be accomplished through creation of a
Healthcare Innovation Fund are not remotely achievable
within any existing research agency’s mandates, machinery
or relevant budgets. To repeat: the Fund’s primary
rationale is to support activities that lead to scalable
improvements in healthcare, not to generate academic
research. That said, experience in the US and UK suggests
that secondary academic partnerships and by-products
may well occur, as work unfolds to reinvent aspects of
front-line healthcare. Partnerships with SPOR, as noted
in Chapter 3, are very likely to be mutually advantageous.
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
Additionally, the Panel stipulates that the Healthcare
Innovation Fund should not support provision of currently
insured healthcare services nor should its resources be
allocated on the basis of formulas currently or previously
used to govern pilot project funding or transfers to
provinces. Rather, allocations from the Fund would result
from rigorous adjudication against a set of transparent
specifications and goals as set out above. Flow of funds,
moreover, should be conditional on commitments by
partners to sustain successful demonstrations, and on
meeting milestones. The results from and return on these
investments should be assessed against those milestones
and reported publicly.
The Panel also considered potential sources of funding.
Reallocation of current investments in federal health
transfers was ruled out for obvious reasons. Pressing CIHR
to direct more funds to front-line healthcare innovation
struck the Panel as wrong-headed on three scores. First,
CIHR rightly has academic DNA – and diffusing its focus
is unhelpful. Second, a team with very different skills will
be required to oversee the disbursement of the Fund, to
support a range of innovators at a remove and on the
front-lines, and to assess the return on investments from
the Fund. (A means to build this capacity is set out below.)
Third, CIHR’s investigative community is already facing
intense global competition. For example, in the UK, the
Medical Research Council spent £845.3 million ($1.6
billion) in 2013-14, while the Wellcome Trust disbursed a
further £674 million ($1.287 billion), both with priorities
similar to CIHR’s.
The Panel is aware that provincial and territorial
governments provide matching funds for programs such
as SPOR and Infoway. Such matching arrangements could
well continue to the extent that the Healthcare Innovation
Fund becomes a co-funding vehicle with SPOR or the
primary federal funder for digital health projects (see below)
undertaken in partnership with provinces and territories.
However, implementing and evaluating front-line
innovations in healthcare delivery – and even more
significantly, scaling up these efforts – will invariably
require significant in-kind contributions from provincial
and territorial healthcare systems. The Panel members
accordingly caution against building in rigid cost-sharing
provisions that could undermine the objectives of the Fund
and preclude collaboration.
The Panel therefore concludes that existing sources of
funding can make only a very limited contribution, and
substantial new federal funding is required to create a
robust Healthcare Innovation Fund and grow it over time.
The next question for the Panel was the scale of investment
needed. The Panel’s deliberations on this front were
informed by its international research and discussions,
examination of the scope and merits of previous federal
investments, and consideration of private sector approaches.
First, international research demonstrates that all efforts
to galvanize large-scale changes in complex healthcare
systems are costly. There is no one-size-fits-all solution
as different healthcare systems have different structures
and levers on which to pull. Nonetheless, the Panel did
consider the relative size of innovation allocations in other
countries. As one bellwether, the Center for Medicare and
Medicaid Innovation in the US received an appropriation
of US$10 billion under the Patient Protection and Affordable
Care Act (2010) for 2011-2019. That Center, as described
earlier, is driving a highly innovative agenda of payment
and organizational reforms in US publicly-financed health
services. While some of its funds flow into direct support
of experimental models, the Center is able to leverage
significant resources through its position inside the Centers
for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal
administrator of the massive operating budgets (about
US$1 trillion in 2013) for those programs. The Innovation
Center is also able to leverage datasets and expertise from
the nearby Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality;
in 2015 the latter agency has a budget of US$465 million.
Despite these resources, as noted in Chapter 2, the
Innovation Center is struggling to scale up some of its
models. This point underscores the challenge Canada faces.
Even with provinces and territories providing substantial
support in kind, additional investments will be needed in
some cases to move new models of care from demonstration
projects into usual and customary practice.
Further comparators are hard to find. The UK, for example,
operates differently on two levels. First, changes in NHS
operating models are often driven top-down by
administrative fiat. Second, the talent and machinery to
respond to these shifts is being developed through the
relatively new National Institute of Health Research.
Created in 2006, this entity does fund some translational
research and clinical trials. However, it is overwhelmingly
focused on building capacity for applied research that will
improve care in the NHS. Its broad scope also includes
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UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
activities similar to some of the pan-Canadian healthcare
organizations reviewed in Chapter 3. In 2013-14, the
NIHR’s turnover was £1,014 billion, or $1.935 billion.xvi
From the standpoint of domestic precedents, the Panel observes
that the federal government has used targeted funds on
multiple occasions over the past 15 years to support healthcare
reform and renewal. The size and nature of these investments
provides a useful benchmark for the Healthcare Innovation
Fund. The most significant of these initiatives, in descending
order of value, are shown in Figure 4.2. Most of these initiatives
were targeted to a specific dimension or sector of healthcare.
In contrast, the Healthcare Innovation Fund is intended to
support a broad portfolio of investments and requires a wider
funding base. The closest analogue is accordingly the Health
Reform Transfer ($3.2 billion/year). As well, many of the above
initiatives were intended to support service delivery and were
therefore allocated to jurisdictions on a per capita basis. In
contrast, since the Healthcare Innovation Fund is intended to
act as a catalyst for fundamental change, the Panel has, as
noted earlier, rejected formula-based allocation in favour of
a more strategic approach involving rigorous adjudication,
milestones, conditional funding and reporting so that the
impact of taxpayers’ funds will be maximized.
xvi T
he closest analogue to NIHR in Canada is Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions,
with a budget in 2014-15 of $95.9M.
For further benchmarking, the Panel considered how the
private sector approaches research, development, and
innovation. It is not unusual to see knowledge-intensive
global companies devote 10 percent of revenue to these
three domains. In contrast, the most recent estimates
suggest that health-related research and development
expenditures account for about three percent of total health
sector expenditures,109 with the lion’s share of these
resources invested in basic medical and clinical research
performed by academic investigators, and in pharmaceutical
research and development by the private sector. None of
these expenditures have goals comparable to those
proposed for the Healthcare Innovation Fund.
Next, the Panel considered the types of projects that the
Fund would support. The amounts available annually
would need to be large enough to catalyze the scope and
breadth of activities identified elsewhere in the report,
including multiple large scale cross-sectoral demonstration
projects, investments in digital health and implementation
of precision medicine, and scaling-up across jurisdictions
of diverse programs to improve healthcare.
Putting all these elements together, the Panel has
concluded that, once a steady state is reached, the target
outlay for a Healthcare Innovation Fund should be set at
$1 billion per annum. This will mirror the current federal
Figure 4.2 Federal Support for Healthcare Reform and Renewal since 2000
Amount
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Description
$16 billion
over 5 years
Health Reform Transfer
Disbursed to provinces and territories from 2003-04 to 2007-08 to support improved
access to primary care, home care, and catastrophic drug coverage (this fund was
merged into the Canada Health Transfer in 2005-06)
$5.5 billion
over 10 years
Wait Times Reduction Fund
Disbursed to provinces and territories between 2004-05 and 2013-14 to support
strategies to reduce wait times in five priority areas
$2.5 billion
over 5 years
Medical Equipment Fund/Diagnostic and Medical Equipment Fund
Disbursed to provinces and territories on a per capita basis to support the purchase of
diagnostic and medical equipment from 2000-01 to 2005-06
$2.1 billion
Canada Health Infoway
Allocated to projects on the basis of merit with cost-sharing requirements and no
predetermined jurisdictional shares
$800 million
over 5 years
Primary Health Care Transition Fund
$560 million allocated on a per capita basis to support jurisdiction-specific projects and
the remaining $240 million allocated to cross-jurisdictional initiatives
$612 million
over 3 years
Patient Wait Times Guarantee Trust
$112 million in base funding of $10 million per province and $4 million per territory, and the
remaining $500 million allocated to provinces and territories on a per capita basis from
2007-08 to 2009-10 to support the adoption of wait time guarantees across jurisdictions
CHAPTER 4 — BREAKING THE GRIDLOCK
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
investment in research through CIHR of $1 billion per
annum. An annual investment of $1 billion also represents
half of one percent (0.5 percent) of total health expenditures
in Canada, which are estimated at $215 billion for 2014.
Moreover, it is an even smaller fraction of the total federal
budget, which in 2014 was $280 billion -- $250 billion of
which was in program spending.
The Panel recognizes that the proposed approach is novel.
Funding will flow in meaningful measure based on
initiatives identified by coalitions of willing partners rather
than traditional per capita transfers negotiated through
formal federal, provincial, territorial discussions. Unlike
systems such as the NHS with its unitary corporate
structure, or the US where the federal role is much stronger,
Canada’s highly decentralized arrangements mean that it
will take time to build coalitions across jurisdictions and
stakeholders, as well as to develop sound plans for projects
and initiatives. Thus, while a case may emerge over time
for an even more sizeable investment, the Panel endorses
a prudent approach wherein investment in and by the
Fund ramps up gradually. A gradual ramp-up not only
reduces the risks of suboptimal early spending as sometimes
occurs with new programs and agencies. It also allows for
creation of a new federal agency that will provide an
oversight mechanism to ensure responsible allocation of
the funds and be a resource to accelerate innovation across
all of Canada’s healthcare systems. In sum the Panel
recommends that funding ramp-up commencing in 201516, with a view to reaching an outlay of $1 billion per
annum within four to five years.
The Panel’s recommendation of a substantial investment
has been made with due regard to the current economic
context. As noted in chapter 3, the federal government’s
decision to reduce the rate of growth of the Canada Health
Transfer from six percent per annum to the nominal GDP
growth rate starting in 2017-18 opened the door to a new
model for inter-jurisdictional collaboration. It also provided
the Federal Government with some fiscal capacity for
reinvestment in healthcare. This Fund can accordingly be
seen as the bookend to the 2011 decision.
On that latter note, the Panel reiterates that the Government
of Canada in two momentous steps induced all provinces
to adopt universal healthcare programs through costsharing provisions. Given the frustrations of fiscal
federalism and size of the previous escalator in a period
of slow economic growth, the Panel understands the logic
of capping the Canada Health Transfer to match GDP
growth. That approach also has immediate advantages
for the federal government: it disentangles Ottawa from
programs that it does not manage, while giving the
provinces and territories responsibility for hard choices,
e.g., make unpopular tax hikes, and/or cut other social
programs and/or rein in healthcare spending. However,
as many stakeholders observed, that approach may also
be a prescription for further inter-jurisdictional wrangling,
a continued decline in the quality of Canada’s healthcare
systems, or a retreat from the core principles of Canadian
Medicare. It seems very likely that Canadians will
justifiably call not only provincial governments but the
Government of Canada to account if any of those
developments were to ensue.
A Healthcare Innovation Agency
The Panel carefully examined a range of options for
overseeing the administration of the Healthcare
Innovation Fund and an agenda of major change in
Canadian healthcare, supported by the Fund. Key
considerations included the need to avoid creating new
pan-Canadian machinery that would add to the already
extensive array of pan-Canadian healthcare organizations,
and the need to have a governance mechanism that
would be removed from the cut and thrust of interjurisdictional decision-making.
“The federal government must play a leadership
role in collaborating with jurisdictional
counterparts in the formation of a pan-Canadian
health mechanism to identify, promote and
advance needed healthcare innovation.”
Stakeholder Submission
The Panel looked at the existing array of pan-Canadian
health organizations to ascertain whether one of these
organizations might be well positioned to oversee the
proposed Healthcare Innovation Fund. The most obvious
candidates were the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare
Improvement (CFHI), Canada Health Infoway, and the
Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI). The Panel’s
assessment is that while each of these organizations has
considerable strengths, none has the governance, size, and
expertise needed to oversee a large-scale fund that supports
system-wide improvement.
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UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
The Panel is therefore recommending the creation a new
agency that will fold in the expertise and focus of CFHI,
CPSI and eventually Canada Health Infoway. The inclusion
of the first two of these fine organizations reflects the fact
that healthcare improvement, quality and safety would
both be core to the mandate of the new organization with
the addition of a much more significant focus on scaling
up and spreading innovations. An orderly wind-down of
CFHI and CPSI would enable the appropriate transfer of
staff and budget lines to a new Healthcare Innovation
Agency of Canada (HIAC).xvii
As for Canada Health Infoway, the Panel’s assessment is
that it should remain in place as a separate entity only to
complete its current mandatexviii or until the Fund and new
Agency are established. Infoway can claim an important
legacy of building essential foundations for electronic
health record-keeping. With the rapid shifts in information
technology and a greater emphasis on meaningful use of
those tools, the playing field has changed, and a more
integrated approach seems timely. Thus, the Panel is
recommending that any new federal support for eHealth
projects beyond existing commitments would flow through
the Fund, and that Infoway should fold into the Agency
within two to three years. The Panel has elaborated on its
perspective on Infoway and eHealth more generally, in
Chapter 7.
The Agency would work with a range of stakeholders and
governments to frame a practical agenda for improved
care and value, along with healthcare innovation goals
across the Panel’s proposed five areas of focus. As noted
above, the core operating budget for the Agency would be
drawn from the Healthcare Innovation Fund. The Agency
would also provide oversight and expertise for deployment
of the Fund to projects on the front-lines of healthcare.
All uses of the Fund, and the work of the Agency, should
seek to advance the twin goals of removing structural
barriers to innovation in Canadian healthcare, and
supporting spread and scale-up of proven models and
modalities of care. The Agency’s mission, exactly as for
the Fund, would be to support on-the-ground efforts to
enhance the quality and value of the healthcare provided
to Canadians, while improving the overall performance of
xvii T
his moniker is a placeholder for clarity. Given the unified purpose and likely
co-governance of the Fund and Agency, the term Health Innovation Canada
might be appropriate as a joint name for both initiatives.
xviii In addition to completing existing Infoway projects, some legacy activities
could be considered for support from the Innovation Fund to provide a further
brief window of opportunity to jurisdictions that have lagged in info-structure
development.
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CHAPTER 4 — BREAKING THE GRIDLOCK
Canada’s healthcare systems as measured against their
international peers.
To ensure that a shared vision, broad strategy, and
innovation goals can be adapted to the evolving healthcare
context, HIAC would have a healthcare forecasting and
planning stream. As discussed further in Chapters 8 and
9, it would house a Healthcare Innovation Accelerator
Office. This Office among other roles would facilitate the
more rapid adoption of healthcare innovations that promise
high-impact in terms of quality and cost-effectiveness.
Finally, given the gaps in health services and outcomes
between First Nations and Inuit and the rest of Canadians,
HIAC would link closely with the work of the First Nations
Health Quality Council and any related Inuit liaison
committees, as described in Chapter 6.
To carry out this work, HIAC would have resident expertise
in core areas such as: innovation spread and scale-up; quality
improvement and patient safety; health data analytics; and
digital health. Staffing must be lean, but benchmarking in
that regard should be done with care. On the one hand,
the staffing and related overhead costs of excellent grantmaking bodies are typically five percent of their total annual
budgets in steady state. On the other, the new Agency’s
mandate is sharply different from, say, CIHR. It is concerned
not with making grants and awaiting the eventual publication
of results, but facilitating timely and meaningful change in
policy, in system design, and in front-line practices. This
work is informed by research, but it is not research. As such,
the Agency must be results-driven, and engaged closely
with partners to effect improvements in healthcare. The
flow of analysis, writing, and consultation will be continuous.
This presumably explains why higher levels of internal
spending are seen in entities like the Center for Medicare
and Medicaid Innovation.
The Panel notes further that many of HIAC’s staff will be
on the road frequently to work alongside partners on major
projects. This suggests that a multi-nodal structure may
be appropriate – and would also send a collaborative
message to provinces and territories.
The Panel foresees that international recruitment will be
essential to ensure that the leadership of the Agency has
both relevant experience and a willingness to challenge
Canadian healthcare dogma and risk-averse attitudes.
Above all, the culture of the Agency should be one of
partnership with, support for, and facilitation of the work
of a range of stakeholders who bear the primary
responsibility for delivering healthcare to Canadians.
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
Provinces and territories would obviously be key partners.
At the same time, priorities for the Agency and the Fund
cannot be set by jurisdictional vote-counting, by political
posturing, or by expectations that these instruments will
serve fire-fighting and first-responder functions for
regional flashpoints. To repeat a point made earlier, the
Agency’s work should be driven by pressing priorities of
wide relevance to the health services and health status
of Canadians, and implemented by broad coalitions of
the willing.
HIAC would be established as an arm’s length organization,
budgeted through the Healthcare Innovation Fund by the
federal government. Its corporate structure should enable
it to provide robust, independent oversight and direction
for the Fund. The Agency would be governed by a group
of eminent Canadians, supported by one or more advisory
committees composed of representatives of a range of
stakeholders (provincial/territorial governments, patients,
providers, industry, and others).
There are two potential models of governance for HIAC.
One would be to create the Agency as a federal government
entity similar to CIHR, at arm’s length from the Minister
but still within the federal administration and subject to
Governor-in-Council or ministerial appointments to the
governance body. The second approach would be to create
a not-for-profit corporation similar to other pan-Canadian
healthcare organizations with the federal government as
the main funder.
Both options have strengths and weaknesses. A standard
federal agency could present advantages in terms of forging
ahead and accountability for a substantial budget. However,
this structure runs the risk of being perceived as too close
to the federal government and too far from provinces and
territories. A not-for-profit corporation would be able to
flow the funds more quickly as well as work more easily
and directly with a range of stakeholders. However, it could
also be more easily captured by inter-jurisdictional politics,
with subsequent redirection of priorities and allocation of
funds. A hybrid may be feasible so long as two objectives
are kept front and centre. First, the board must be truly
independent and non-partisan, ideally with some
international members. All members must be seen to have
substantial and relevant qualifications. The slightest whiff
of cronyism or box-tick appointments will kill the credibility
of the exercise from the outset. Second, howsoever the
organization is structured, a very high priority must be the
creation of a constructive climate for change and for
renewed collaboration.
In sum, Canadians have every right to expect excellent
care and better value for the money they spend on
healthcare, and to ask that all jurisdictions and providers
collaborate fully to that end. A new model of collaboration
is particularly important at this juncture when Canada’s
healthcare systems face significant pressures. As noted,
those pressures also present significant opportunities for
innovation. A federal commitment to provide meaningful
working capital in the form of a Healthcare Innovation
Fund, combined with national machinery that consolidates
existing organizations, would serve as a critical catalyst for
improvements in healthcare. Bold steps in this regard
would have the further benefit of resetting the federalprovincial-territorial dynamic around healthcare, and
restarting a working partnership based around the needs
of Canadians.
The next five chapters explore five priority areas of
innovation for Canada. In the Panel’s opinion, these should
be taken as priority areas for the new federal Healthcare
Innovation Fund and new Healthcare Innovation Agency
of Canada.
Recommendations to the
Federal Government
4.1 Starting in 2015-16, create a tenyear Healthcare Innovation Fund with
a gradual ramp-up, ideally reaching
steady-state by 2020.
•
The Fund’s broad objectives would be to effect
sustainable and systemic changes in the delivery of
health services to Canadians. Its general goals would
be: to support high-impact initiatives proposed by
governments and stakeholders, to break down
structural barriers to change, and to accelerate the
spread and scale-up of promising innovations.
•
The Fund will not be allocated on the basis of any
existing transfer formulae, nor will its resources be
used to fund provision of health services that are
currently insured under federal, provincial and
territorial plans. Funds will be allocated on the basis
of rigorous adjudication against transparent
specifications, having particular regard for measurable
impacts on health outcomes, creation of economic and
social value, sustainability, scalability, and commitment
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UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
of relevant stakeholders to sustaining successful
initiatives.
•
The annual outlay from the Fund should rise over time
towards a target of $1 billion per annum, derived
primarily from new federal commitments.
•
The Fund’s initiatives will be grouped under five
priority themes:
οο patient engagement and empowerment
•
The Agency should be an arm’s length organization,
funded by the federal government. It should be
governed by a group of eminent Canadians, who would
be supported by one or more advisory committees
composed of representatives of a range of stakeholders
(provincial and territorial governments, patients,
providers, industry and others). Its corporate structure
should enable it to provide robust, independent
oversight and direction for the Fund.
•
The Agency should catalyze and coordinate
collaboration with the pan-Canadian health agencies
and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research to
ensure alignment of activities.
οο health systems integration with workforce
modernization
οο technological transformation via digital health
and precision medicine
οο better value from procurement, reimbursement
and regulation
οο industry as an economic driver and innovation
catalyst
4.2 Create the Healthcare Innovation
Agency of Canada to work with a range
of stakeholders as well as governments
to set the long-term vision for the
healthcare system and healthcare
innovation goals across the Panel’s
proposed five areas of focus.
•
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The Agency should provide oversight and expertise
for the Fund, in keeping with the twin goals of
removing structural barriers and supporting spread
and scale-up, with the long-term aim of improving
Canada’s standing internationally on key metrics of
health system performance.
CHAPTER 4 — BREAKING THE GRIDLOCK
4.3 Shift funding and staff for
both the Canadian Foundation for
Healthcare Improvement and the
Canadian Patient Safety Institute to
the new Healthcare Innovation Agency
of Canada.
•
This recommendation reflects the relevance of the
mandates of both organizations to the promotion of
healthcare innovation. It will also reduce duplication,
provide some economies of scale for the federal
government, and streamline a crowded pan-Canadian
health organization field.
4.4 Continue Canada Health Infoway
pro tem as a separate organization with
staffing to complete projects currently
underway. Once the new Agency is
established, fold relevant functions
from Infoway into the Agency, and
flow future federal funding for digital
health through the Innovation Fund.
Chapter 5
Patient Partnership,
Public Empowerment
“When you have a serious chronic illness, like I do, you have to
see specialists in isolation. They never seem to have the full
picture and as a result I feel responsible for keeping my own
record to carry to each of these appointments. They don’t trust
the documents I carry but currently I am working with a family
doctor, a rheumatologist, a respirologist, a gastroenterologist
and a cardiologist. Yet, when I get into trouble, I end [up] in the
emergency room and they always want to know why I did not
go and see my own doctor…you can’t win as a patient. I wish
they would all get in the same room at the same time, with me
present, and talk about what is going on and what the best plan
of care should be.”
Public Submission
“Too often the customer service motto in healthcare seems to
be… ‘we aren’t happy until you aren’t happy’”
Participant at Regional Consultation
UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
Patient Partnership, Public Empowerment
In the Panel’s consultations, an unsettling theme recurred
often across the country. Not just patient advocates, but
professionals, administrators, and policymakers expressed
concern about an increasingly complex and disjointed
system that frustrates the best intentions of providers and
projects a fundamental lack of respect for patients and
their families. One stakeholder observed that untold
billions of dollars of productivity are lost each year in
Canada as citizens sit idle, waiting to see doctors in clinics
and offices. Patients also complained of feeling that they
were treated as parts on an assembly line, moving slowly
through an opaque quasi-system that they saw as more
“provider-centric” than “patient-centred.” Providers who
shared these concerns reported that many professionals
and managers are so stretched that they can do little other
than meet the demands for their own expertise. Some
professionals observed that their efforts to propose even
modest improvements at the institutional level were politely
heard and pointedly ignored by management. Finally,
patients and providers alike consistently flagged their
challenges in navigating the system and its complex web
of services across a range of sectors. In short, Canada’s
healthcare systems sometimes look and feel as if they have
forgotten who they serve.
This chapter provides an overview of some developments
in patient-centred care. Throughout, the Panel has been
particularly concerned to profile patient engagement at
multiple levels: in self-care or as a caregiver to a loved one,
in hospitals and similar institutions, in educational settings,
and in co-design of healthcare systems more broadly. The
resulting focus is unabashedly high-touch rather than
high-tech. The Panel respects leading thinkers who
envisage more personalized care based on extensive selfmonitoring through mobile devices and detailed biological
profiles. For example, Dr. Eric Topol has noted “[w]here
today people surf the Web and check their email on their
cell phones, tomorrow they will be checking their vital
signs”.110 However, for countless Canadians now living
with chronic diseases, this positive vision must seem far
removed from their daily struggles in navigating our
healthcare systems.
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Patient-centred Care: Ideal and Reality
Patient-centred care has been defined as “care that is
respectful of and responsive to individual patient
preferences, needs and values,” wherein “patient values
guide all clinical decisions.”111 Healthcare professionals
might reasonably argue that their goal has always been to
deliver patient-centred care. Literature to that effect
certainly dates back centuries. Recent incarnations of this
ancient ethos began in the 1980s111 amidst concerns about
the rising complexity and increasing discontinuity of
healthcare in an era of chronic disease.
Patient engagement is a term that encompasses the important
role of the patient as end-user: i.e., “starting from the premise
of expertise by experience, patient engagement involves the
collaboration and partnership with professionals.”111 In
Canada, a number of health commissions have highlighted
the importance of refocusing the healthcare system to centre
on the patient.xix For example, Recommendation 1 of
Saskatchewan’s Patients First Review stipulated that “the
health system make patient and family-centred care the
foundation and principal aim of the Saskatchewan health
system, through a broad policy framework to be adopted
system-wide. Developed in collaboration with patients,
families, providers and health system leaders, this policy
framework should serve as an overarching guide for health
care organizations, professional groups and others to make
the Patient First philosophy a reality in all work places.”46
Providers and administrators consistently acknowledge that
patients and their perspectives and experiences should be the
guiding factor in clinical care. However, the degree to which
the patient is engaged in his or her care is variable. Most
institutions do survey their patients; most professionals use
xix I n October 2009, Commissioner Tony Dagnone presented the findings of the
Patients First Review of Saskatchewan’s healthcare system. His report For
Patients’ Sake, was a first in healthcare reform efforts, as its findings and
recommendations were intended to reflect patients’ experiences of the
healthcare system. The report aimed “to realign the values of Saskatchewan’s
health system so that the patient is again made the centre of attention.” (p.3)
While unique in its approach, its call for a healthcare system oriented around
the needs of patients and their families was not. Rather, it echoed the findings
of earlier healthcare commissions and inquiries: Commission on the Future
of Health Care in Canada, Building on Values: The Future of Health Care in
Canada: Final Report, 2002; Alberta’s Premier’s Advisory Council on Health,
A Framework for Reform: Report of the Premier’s Advisory Council on Health,
2001; The Ontario Health Services Restructuring Commission, A Legacy
Report: Looking Back, Looking Forward, March 2000; Commission d’étude
sur les services de santé et les services sociaux, Emerging Solutions : Report
and Recommendations, 2000.
CHAPTER 5 — PATIENT PARTNERSHIP, PUBLIC EMPOWERMENT
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
hand-outs to fill in information about a diagnosis and journey
of care, and make time to field questions in person or online.
However, many patients expect a much wider agenda of
involvement. Patients expressed a desire for: better access to
collaborative, integrated care where their needs are respected;
improved communications with providers, including two-way
information sharing that would permit them to better manage
their own health; and engagement as partners in all decisionmaking processes related to their healthcare.
Patient advocates also emphasized the importance of
patient input to guide future decision-making around the
types of services that they and similarly afflicted individuals
may need now and in the future.
Evidence indicates that where “patients and families are
actively engaged in their health, patient outcomes,
experience of care and economic outcomes can be
substantially improved.”111 Canadian healthcare leaders
and professionals are clearly taking steps to reorient the
system around patients’ priorities. However, as noted in
chapter 2, the 2014 Commonwealth Fund ranking found
that in comparison to ten other countries, Canada lags on
a range of measures related to patient experience, including
patient-centred care (8th out of 11 countries), timeliness
of care (11th out of 11), coordinated care (8th out of 11) and
safe care (10th out of 11).27
Canada’s aging population will intensify the pressures for
change. More patients with chronic disease will expect to be
partners in their own care. Furthermore, there will be greater
impetus for providers to take a holistic approach that promotes
healthy aging,xx,112 both to respect patient’s wishes for
independence, and as a way of reducing demands on the
healthcare system. In this vein, care will need to be accessible
at home (e.g., through virtual care and self-management of
conditions) so that more seniors can live independently for as
long as possible. Thus, as with the move away from institutioncentred care, the so-called “Grey Tsunami” may catalyze a shift
towards patient engagement that benefits all Canadians.
These changes will need to take place at different levels:111
•
At the individual level, patients can be supported to
engage in their own care by consumer health
technologies and better access to information, including
their own health records.
xx D
efined as the “process of optimizing opportunities for physical, social and
mental health to enable seniors to take an active part in society without
discrimination and to enjoy independence and quality of life.”
•
At the organizational level, staff can be educated to
approach their daily work with respect for principles
of patient and family-centred care, while also providing
patients with a say in improving the local organization
of care.
•
At the system level, policymakers and leaders can
involve patients in designing services that go beyond
institutional walls and span the continuum of care.
This also means engaging patient advocates – and the
broader public – in a dialogue about the types of care
we need now and into the future.
Tools to Enable Patients to
Manage Their Own Care
Digital health technology offers patients access to health
information online through patient health portals. Patients
can also monitor their health status through health apps
or devices. Known collectively as consumer digital health
solutions, these tools encompass a range of information
technology products and serve a variety of functions:113
•
administrative tools that simplify patient interactions
with the healthcare system (e.g. e-scheduling and
e-prescribing),
•
information management and communication tools
that permit patients to be informed partners in their
care (e.g. patient portals or personal health recordsxxi),
and
•
virtual care, that enables the delivery of healthcare to
patients outside of the clinic or physician’s office, using
technological applications or devices (e.g. remote
patient monitoring).
xxi “ A Personal Health Record is a complete or partial electronic health record
under the custodianship of a patient or family member, that holds all or a
portion of the relevant health information about a person over their lifetime.”
Stylus Consulting. Nova Scotia Personal Health Record Demonstration Project:
Benefits Evaluation Report. Ottawa: Canada Health Infoway; 2014. Available
from: https://www.infoway-inforoute.ca/en/component/edocman/1995-novascotia-personal-health-record-demonstration-project-benefits-evaluationreport/view-document
patient portal is a secure website through which patients can access their
A
health information as well as carry out administrative tasks such as completing
forms online, communicating with their providers, requesting prescription
refills, reviewing lab results or scheduling medical appointments. What is a
patient portal? [Internet]. Washington: U.S Health and Social Services; Available
from: http://www.healthit.gov/providers-professionals/faqs/what-patient-portal
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UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
These tools can increase patient satisfaction and autonomy,
while allowing care at home. Other anticipated outcomes
include reduced emergency room visits, hospital admissions
and bed stays.114 Consumer digital solutions can also
increase provider satisfaction and improve provider
productivity. For example, e-scheduling has been shown
to reduce appointment no-show rates and time spent
booking appointments.115
A number of healthcare systems have successfully adopted
such tools. For example:
•
Denmark has made leading in information technologies
a political priority. Since 2003, patients in Denmark
have had access to their own health information
through a national public, internet-based portal called
www.sundhed.dk.116 Each citizen has a personal page
that sets out his/her health information, and allows
communication with health professionals, renewal of
prescription medicines, and viewing of waiting times
for operations and quality ratings of hospitals. The
portal also supports self-management of disease and
conditions by providing patients with access to local
disease management systems, as well as chat rooms
for patients with specific disease and conditions.117
•
In 2004, France implemented a voluntary electronic
health record system called the Dossier Médical
Personnel, which became electronically accessible to
patients through a secure patient portal in 2011.116
Through the portal, patients are able to access their
electronic record; view all documents except those
deemed sensitive by their author; prevent certain
documents from being seen by different care providers;
request the destruction of health documents, as well
as add personal health information that they feel is
relevant. They are also able to manage which
healthcare providers have access to their personal
health information and under which circumstances,
as well as view the activities healthcare providers
within their Dossier.
In contrast, Canada’s progress in rolling out consumer
health technologies to all patients has been slow. For
example, while 80 percent of Canadians would like access
to their health information online, surveys conducted by
Ipsos Reid in 2010 and 2013 indicate that only four percent
of Canadians currently had such access.118 From what the
Panel heard and read, a number of structural and cultural
barriers are slowing progress on this front. In particular:
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•
Through Canada Health Infoway, Canada is still
building health info-structure, even as the number
of wireless consumer digital solutions grows daily.
These digital health solutions, however, depend on
interoperable electronic medical and health records
systems.113 Canada is being held back by incomplete
interoperability, as well as gaps in uptake of
electronic medical records in primary and ambulatory
care settings.119
“As a specialist in a major urban centre, I provide
services to First Nations on reserve who are
flown down for care. I know of three
communities up North where the nursing
stations have digital X-ray capability, with the
scans stored on a secure server. However, this
secure server does not link up to any servers in
the province because of concerns about federal
privacy laws. This means that specialists like me
cannot access the patients’ films. Sometimes
when patients comes down for care, the nursing
station will can give them a CD, which is easily
lost and can be opened by anyone. So, either I
don’t get the scan or nurses at the nursing
station take a photo of the X-ray and text it to
me. Either way, this is not good quality care.”
Stakeholder Submission
•
The Supreme Court of Canada confirmed in 1992 that
patients have the right to access their personal health
information. However, misunderstandings by
practitioners, institutions, and jurisdictions persist on
this score, and are amplified by unsupported liability
concerns.120
•
Stakeholders across Canada cited a lack of clarity about
the scope and reach of privacy legislation, coupled
with a risk-averse culture, as impeding virtual care
and access by patients to their own personal health
records.
CHAPTER 5 — PATIENT PARTNERSHIP, PUBLIC EMPOWERMENT
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
•
Patient access to, and co-ownership of, their own
records is a significant cultural shift for providers who
have traditionally been custodians of health records.
This may require training and support in making the
change, e.g. guidance on how to share clinical notes
with potentially alarming but still incomplete
information.121 Currently, many patients experience
unreasonable delays or confiscatory charges when they
seek access to and control over their own records.122
“We need to educate providers and patients in
the areas of patient safety and engagement. It’s
crucial that both parties come together as one
unit and balance the gap between the two.
Patients, especially ones who have been
harmed by the “the system” have a very
unique perspective which offers valuable
insight for providers. What may seem
appropriate for providers may be the complete
opposite of what patients are wanting/
needing.”
“We may not need more doctors or more
testing. We may need better communication
between professionals and better
communications with patients.”
Public Submissions
•
Reimbursement processes have not kept up with
technological developments. Provincial payers are
justifiably wary that new fee codes for digital encounters
could escalate rather than reduce costs – another
signpost of the need to create blended payment
systems for physicians. On the other side of the coin,
the healthcare system provides little incentive for
physicians to adopt these new tools, particularly when
it is the patient, healthcare institutions, and the system
in general that realize the benefit.113
Notwithstanding these challenges, some jurisdictions in
Canada are moving forward with the roll-out of consumer
digital health technologies. Alberta, Saskatchewan, and
Nova Scotia are all pursuing provincial roll-outs of personal
health records and/or portals.123 BC is providing patients
with electronic access to lab results. In Ontario, adoption
of personal health records and patient portals is being
driven at the institutional and organizational level, e.g. by
Sunnybrook Hospital’s My Chart and McMaster University’s
Personal Health Record.xxii
Access to virtual care services in Canada is also improving,
particularly with respect to remote patient monitoring for
individuals with chronic diseases and those recently
discharged from hospital.124 A recent pan-Canadian study
found that many regional health bodies or providers are
adopting remote patient monitoring. Such monitoring is
regarded increasingly as the standard of care for particular
patient groups.124 Last, as evidenced by the examples
provided in Chapter 2, virtual care is also helping to extend
services to rural, remote and underserviced areas.125
Organizational and Culture
Change
At the organizational level, shifting to patient and familycentred care has serious implications. It means adopting
a different way of working – one that truly integrates
patients’ values, experiences and perspectives.111 This
requires firm leadership, engagement of staff through
coaching and training, and enlisting and preparing patients
to act as advisors.126
Through its consultations and commissioned research, the
Panel learned that healthcare organizations in jurisdictions
across the country are beginning to take these steps.
For example, Kingston General Hospital in Ontario first
formally adopted an institution-wide policy of patient and
family engagement in 2010.111 Today, the hospital involves
patients and families as advisors in all major committees,
hiring decisions, staff orientation, and health professional
education. Hospital leaders credit these efforts, along with
staff commitment, for significant improvements in patient
and health system outcomes, including improvements in
indices of patient satisfaction and institutional reputation.111
xxii O
ntario is also rolling out a comprehensive web-accessible electronic health
record, based on major upgrades of a longstanding platform in Southwestern
Ontario. The platform is nearing launch for about 6.75 million residents of
the Greater Toronto Area, and will scale up from there. Patient portals will
be activated in the second phase of the effort.
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UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
“Patients need to be seen and treated as
individuals and not just as a body or a
condition. There needs to be recognition of
and sensitivity to their personal circumstances
and life situation.”
Participant at Patient Roundtable
“There is considerable lip service to team
approaches, interdisciplinary and high-quality
care for older people but it is simply not a
reality in practice.”
Stakeholder Submission
The Université de Montréal (U de M), understandably, has
taken a more pedagogical focus. It is embedding patients
in the education and training of health professionals. The
goal is to galvanize movement to a new model of care that
sees the patient as an equally valued member of the
healthcare team.127 To this end, patients have been strongly
engaged in the redesign of U de M’s Interprofessional
Collaborative Education curriculum – a core component
for some 1500 students in health sciences and psychosocial
science programs. Patients are also trained and paired with
educators to become co-trainers in Interprofessional
Collaborative Education workshops that all students attend.
This helps students understand the patient’s perspective
and experiences, as well as the value of partnering
meaningfully with patients in clinical practice.
These and other pockets of success demonstrate the
potential for shifting organizational culture and provider
attitudes and practices. However, as noted, many Canadians
expressed concern to panelists about the disjointed design
of healthcare delivery at the systems level – a topic to which
this chapter now turns.
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A Systems Level Focus on
Patient and Family Care
In an ideal world, healthcare delivery would be organized
around a defined set of patient needs over the full
continuum of care; and patients would be attended by
interdisciplinary healthcare teams custom-designed to
anticipate and meet their needs throughout any given
journey of care.128 The patient perspective would also be
solicited and incorporated into the design of care, from
the research that informs it to the technologies that help
deliver it. As the Panel heard at a patient roundtable
discussion, involving patients in the design of some or all
segments of the healthcare system changes the conversation.
Indeed, their very participation can be a disruptive
innovation that accelerates healthcare system reform.129
Internationally, this latter message is being heard as health
professionals engage patients in what has been termed
experience-based co-design.111 The US Collaborative
Chronic Care Network (C3N) is internationally lauded as
exemplifying this disruptive approach. A prototype of the
Institute of Medicine’s vision of a learning healthcare
system, C3N aims to transform care for children with
Inflammatory Bowel Disease through a “large-scale ‘wrap
around’ network of care that connects patients, parents,
caregivers, clinicians and researchers to partner and codesign improvements”.111 Working with multiple industry
partners, C3N has created patient and parent workgroups,
apps and technologies, and developed a community across
73 sites involving 450 gastroenterologists and one third of
all paediatric patients with inflammatory bowel disease in
the US. This network is expanding into the UK and a new
C3N is in the works for patients with cystic fibrosis.
Participating clinics have seen remissions for their patients
increase from 55 percent to 77 percent over a five-year
period, along with increases in patient satisfaction and
overall happiness.
CHAPTER 5 — PATIENT PARTNERSHIP, PUBLIC EMPOWERMENT
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
Bridgepoint Active Healthcare specializes in
caring for patients with complex chronic health
conditions. Through a ‘living laboratory’
approach, clinicians and researchers at
Bridgepoint connect directly with patients and
their families to better understand their
experiences of care. This close link with patients
provides researchers with the opportunity to
model, test and evaluate new approaches on a
rapid basis, with a view to optimizing clinical
services, making system-level improvements,
and using design principles to improve health
outcomes for individuals who often must
transition between home and both general and
rehabilitation hospital settings. To ensure better
institutional integration on that latter score,
Bridgepoint has recently merged with Mount
Sinai Hospital to form the Sinai Health System.
McGill University and the Fondation de l’hôpital de
Montréal, as well as a $22 million investment by the
Government of Quebec.131 The goal is to serve 20,000
vulnerable children in Quebec by 2020. The
organization representing Quebec’s nurses has
announced that it will be providing a $250,000 grant
to support clinical nurse training in these centres.132
•
Source: About us. Toronto: Bridgepoint Active Healthcare; c2014. Available from:
http://www.bridgepointhealth.ca/en/who-we-are/about-us.asp
In Canada, too, there are pockets of innovation where
services for specific populations are being re-designed
around the needs and experiences of patients. While
different in ambition from the C3N model, they embody
a similar commitment to thinking beyond a single clinic,
institution, or service. For example:
•
Community social pediatrics is an integrated approach
to care that focuses on underserved or vulnerable
children and youth.130 Founded in Canada by Dr.
Gilles Julien in the 1990s, this approach integrates
care for patients and families across both the health
and social services sectors. Healthcare providers
deliver pediatric services and work with families and
other community-based professionals including
educators, social workers, legal aid, and law
enforcement, to provide children with the support
they need to flourish. Currently, there are 16 clinics
in Quebec, serving approximately 4,000 children and
their families. Community social pediatrics is on track
to being spread more widely in Quebec through
partnerships among the Université de Montréal,
First launched in 2012, Community Health Links is
a program run by the Ontario Ministry of Health and
Long-Term Care that supports the coordination of
care for high needs patients such as seniors and
people with multiple conditions. 133 Healthcare
organizations that are part of Health Links must work
with other sectors in the healthcare system to develop
and oversee coordinated care plans for complex
patients. Patients are assigned a designated provider
that they know and can contact regularly.
Collaboration by members of Health Links across
health sectors is enabled by digital technology, which
also allows them to track and measure their results.
Several promising initiatives that empower seniors were
highlighted during the Panel’s consultations. As one
example, Teams Advancing Patient Experience – better
known as TAPESTRY – is a program in Hamilton, Ontario
that enlists and trains volunteers to help older adults
identify and meet their health goals, as well as manage
their own care. The volunteers, in turn, are engaged with
an inter-professional healthcare team.134
Whereas these innovations are localized, wider-angle
engagement of patients in overall system design is also
underway. Alberta’s Patient and Family Advisory Group
partners with leaders across the health department to
review policies and initiatives and share insights from the
patient and family perspective for the planning and delivery
of quality healthcare services.135 The BC Patients as Partners
initiative is a formal partnership among the Ministry of
Health, healthcare providers, universities, healthcare notfor-profits and non-governmental organizations.136 All
these provincial organizations work together to include
the patient voice, choice, and representation in healthcare
improvement.
The credo driving the BC Patients as Partners initiative is
“nothing about me without me.”136 That motto might be
adopted more generally by patients and families in dealing
with healthcare across Canada. Nowhere is it more
applicable than in the case of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples.
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UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
Patient and community engagement are exemplified in
the All Nations’ Healing Hospital in Fort Qu’Appelle,
Saskatchewan, one of the first healthcare facilities in
Canada owned and operated by First Nations’ governments.
The All Nations’ Healing Hospital provides culturally
relevant healthcare in a team environment,137 including
maternal-child services and a wide range of counselling,
mental health, and addictions services. All these programs
carefully integrate the best of mainstream therapeutic
techniques with traditional First Nations healing practices. The Panel learned about many other examples of facilities
and programs run by First Nations, and was encouraged
by the growing movement across Canada to offer culturally
appropriate, patient-centred care for Aboriginal peoples.
In this regard, the Panel urges all governments to accelerate
such efforts in partnership with Canada’s Aboriginal
peoples, and returns to this topic in Chapter 6.
The Societal Dimension
As noted in Chapter 4, the Canadian healthcare system is
facing a period of accelerating change with population
aging, demands for consumer autonomy, the rapid
emergence of precision medicine, and an explosion of
genetic information about individuals and populations.
These issues give rise to a range of social and ethical issues
and have created new imperatives for sharing information
and respecting the views of patients, families, and, more
broadly the Canadian public.
End-of-life care exemplifies some of these challenges. The
Supreme Court of Canada decision in Carter v. Canada138
has been widely interpreted as decriminalizing physician
assistance in dying. In responding, governments will need
to balance the needs of the patients with protection of the
vulnerable. As seems to be the rule in Canada, there are
also jurisdictional complexities. Regulation of medical
services falls within the constitutional jurisdiction of
provinces and territories. Absent federal revisions to the
Criminal Code,139 some provinces and territories will move
ahead with regulations while others take a “wait and see”
approach – a situation that puts terminally ill Canadians
on an uneven playing field.
As governments grapple with the Supreme Court of Canada
decision, there is widespread acknowledgment that we
need to strengthen palliative care resources and services
for Canadians. A novel approach has been taken by the
Canadian Virtual Hospice (http://www.virtualhospice.ca)
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-- a comprehensive online resource that provides
information on advanced illness, end-of-life care, and
grieving to a wide audience.140 The website features multimedia content, and also connects the public directly online
to an inter-professional team of health experts who respond
confidentially to questions. While it operates out of
Winnipeg with support from the Government of Manitoba,
it serves more than 21,000 unique visitors per day with
Ontario, BC, Alberta and Quebec driving three-quarters
of the traffic.
“Much of healthcare focuses on curing the
incurable. I wonder about the cost and
suffering caused by attempts to preserve life
when quality will be limited. Now that is
loaded, because I also realize that quality
exists in many different packages and it is not
my decision to determine this for others…
Perhaps more conversations about
‘expectations’ and ethics could make some of
the muddy waters clearer.”
Public Submission
The success of the Canadian Virtual Hospice speaks to the
broader issue of making objective and credible information
on healthcare more accessible to all Canadians. Health
literacy should be actively promoted through expanded
use of digital resources and apps that provide patients and
the public with customized, interactive sources of
information and advice on health and healthcare services.
For example, England’s National Health Services Choices
(www.nhs.uk) is a reliable, comprehensive source of health
and social care information for the public. It aims to support
the public in making choices about their health, from
lifestyle choices to accessing NHS services in England.141
It includes more than 20,000 regularly updated articles
and more than 50 directories that allow people to find,
choose and compare health services available in England.
Rather than reinventing the wheel, the Healthcare
Innovation Agency of Canada could play a useful role
simply by aggregating links to the most reputable and
relevant sites, thereby making it easier for Canadians to
access health-related information.
CHAPTER 5 — PATIENT PARTNERSHIP, PUBLIC EMPOWERMENT
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
“I am part of the Canadian Virtual Hospice
team that has created an amazing free resource
for people and their families who are coping
with a life limiting illness like cancer.”
“Much could be saved by funding national
entities that provide information to patients
and families. For example, each LHIN in
Ontario is developing its own palliative care
website. Duplication is a problem.”
Recommendations to the
Federal Government
5.1 Through the new Healthcare
Innovation
Agency
of
Canada,
with federal investments from the
Healthcare Innovation Fund, pursue
the following priorities:
•
Public submissions
As well, information about the healthcare system and its
performance in Canada is difficult to access for patients
and the public. The Canadian Institute for Health
Information (CIHI) does offer extensive information about
comparative health system performance on its website,
but the tools seem to be designed more for researchers,
managers, and providers than for a wider audience. The
Panel returns to this issue in Chapter 7.
Develop and implement a strategy to promote patient
and family-centred care in partnership with
governments, patients, providers and others. Elements
of this strategy would include:
οο Developing and implementing information tools
that patients need;
οο Creating incentives for greater patient engagement
at the organizational and system level, with the
goal of improving models of care and system
design;
οο
In conclusion, the Panel has learned about many pockets
of successful innovation to promote patient-centred care
and patient and family engagement in healthcare and
health professional education across Canada. Panel
members commend the commitment and dedication of
many individuals within the system who have advanced
the patient engagement agenda. At this point, a more
concerted and collaborative effort is needed to: spread and
scale up these initial efforts; support and evaluate new
initiatives for wider adoption; improve awareness of the
relevant concepts; address structural barriers to innovation
in patient-centred care; help Canadian governments to
stay aligned in responding to the ethical, legal and social
issues emerging in healthcare; and promote wider health
literacy in an era of rapid innovation.
The following recommendations respond to these
identified needs.
Sourcing and supporting mobile and digital health
solutions that meet needed common standards and
interoperability requirements; and
οο Adopting and deploying best practices in the
development and use of patient portals, including
best practices internationally.
•
Support the development of policy and legislative tools
to enable patient access to, and co-ownership of, their
own personal health records.
•
As discussed in Chapter 6, support provinces, territories,
and regional health authorities in undertaking largescale projects that implement highly integrated delivery
systems that test new forms of payment, where care
is organized and financed around the needs of the
patient.
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UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
5.2 Through Health Canada, take the
lead in consultation and consensus
building
across
provinces
and
territories on emerging ethical and
legal issues arising from technological
and social innovation in healthcare,
and bring forward needed legislative
changes in a timely fashion.
5.3 Through Health Canada, request
the federal Privacy Commissioner to
work with provincial and territorial
privacy commissioners to develop
a common understanding on how
to protect privacy while enabling
innovation (e.g. in precision medicine
and genomics, mHealth, and various
forms of digitized health records)
across Canada.
•
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Privacy commissioners should be asked to consider
how their respective legislative frameworks could be
better harmonized across Canada to reduce any
unnecessary duplication or confusion that could
impede innovation.
CHAPTER 5 — PATIENT PARTNERSHIP, PUBLIC EMPOWERMENT
Chapter 6
Integration and
Innovation:
The Virtuous Cycle of
Seamless Care
“Canada does not have an integrated system. Canada has a series of
disconnected parts, a hodge-podge patchwork, healthcare industry
comprising hospitals, doctors’ offices, group practices, community agencies,
private sector organizations, public health departments and so on….The list
of problems is long: uncoordinated care, underuse of non-medical
practitioners, provider payment methods with perverse financial incentives,
emphasis on disease treatment, unexplained variations in service utilization,
geographical maldistribution of practitioners, little use of information and
information technology, waits and other access problems, retarded
dissemination of proven technology, little emphasis on consumer satisfaction,
sparse evaluations of quality of care and outcomes, shortages of various
health professionals, rigid role definitions that do not allow new models of
care, and looming significant cost increases.”142
Peggy Leatt, George Pink and Michael Guerriere
UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
Integration and Innovation: The Virtuous Cycle of
Seamless Care
Made-in-Canada models for integrated delivery systems
were proposed almost twenty years ago.143 At the time,
the vision was that these systems might compete for
patients in larger urban centres. Dr. Leatt and colleagues
published their lament about lack of progress (quoted
above) five years later. Another 15 years have passed, and
most of the same criticisms still apply to Canada’s healthcare
systems.
Now, as then, there is no logic to the existing payment and
accountability silos in our healthcare systems. Healthcare
remains disjointed, with poor coordination and alignment
within and across the various professions, acute and chronic
care institutions and community care. Lack of integration
is partly understandable where there is a multitude of
payers (e.g., public insurance, private insurance, out-ofpocket spending). That services that are solely publicly
funded are still arranged in stovepipes has been harder
for the Panel to comprehend.
During Panel consultations, stakeholders repeatedly cited
this fragmented financing as a barrier to the uptake of
innovation, a frustration to entrepreneurs and industry,
and an impediment to high-quality and cost-effective care.
Moreover, as one might infer from Chapter 5, so long as
the system is organized around providers and so long as
those providers are paid out of separate funding envelopes,
patient-centred care will be easy to announce and difficult
to achieve.
This chapter first defines integrated models of care, and
then reviews some of the relevant evidence and experience
from the US from whence many of the key insights about
integration models and methods have come. The chapter
then briefly takes stock in Canada, before turning to the
two strategic elements in achieving more integrated care
for Canadians: alignment of payment systems and
incentives, and development of new health human resource
models. The Panel concludes the chapter with a discussion
focused on First Nations, who currently navigate the leastintegrated of any healthcare system in Canada.
What is an Integrated Model of
Care?
Based on successful international models, the critical elements
of a highly integrated system can be defined as follows: Interprofessional teams of providers collaborate to “provide a
coordinated continuum of services” to individual patients,
supported by information technologies that link providers and
settings.144 Operating revenues are derived by pooling funds
across the involved sectors of the healthcare system. Whether
in a single entity or organized in a network configuration, the
providers must be “willing to be held clinically and fiscally
accountable for the outcomes and the health status of the
population being served.”145
The degree to which different systems have integrated
healthcare services varies, from comprehensive integration of
services in the US Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)
model (e.g. Group Health or Kaiser Permanente) to more
focused integration strategies (e.g. regional commissioning in
the UK National Health Service and some payment models
being rolled out under US Patient Protection and Affordable Care
Act reforms).
Evidence dating back forty years suggests that integration
has benefits in terms of the patient experience and cost
containment. Starting in the early 1970s, the landmark
RAND Health Insurance Experimentxxiii compared patients
enrolled in an integrated healthcare plan or HMO where
professional staff were salaried, with those who received
first-dollar coverage of care obtained from private fee-forservice physicians making referrals to independent
hospitals. The results? Those receiving care in the
integrated model had lower rates of hospitalization and
received more preventive services. As a consequence of
lower hospitalization, the cost per person was much lower.
Those in the fee-for-service group fared slightly better on
process and satisfaction measures because the patients in
the integrated model were not guaranteed consistent access
to their own physician of choice.
xxiii T
his randomized trial was primarily concerned to determine how different
levels of co-payments (i.e. user fees at the point of service) affected use of
medical care. Compared to patients with full coverage (or ‘free care,’ analogous
to Canadian Medicare), those making co-payments definitively reduced their
visits to physicians. Controversy has continued for decades as to the potential
impact of those reductions on patients’ long-term health outcomes.
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REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
Figure 6.1: Annual Rates of Service Utilization and Healthcare Costs
Group Health
Cooperative
Fee-for-Service
No Cost-Sharing
25% Cost-Sharing
Percent Using Service
87
85
76
Percent Hospitalized
7
11
9
Hospital Days/100 persons
49
83
87
Physician visits
4.3
4.2
3.5
Preventive visits
0.6
0.4
0.3
$439
$609
$620
Annual costs/person
Source: Adapted from: Wagner EH, Bledsoe T. The Rand Health Insurance Experiment and HMOs. Med Care. 1990 Mar; 28(3):191-200.
The RAND study involved Group Health, a well-known
HMO that continues to operate successfully on a larger
scale today. A similar organization, Kaiser Permanente,
has been more closely studied and offers newer insights
into the benefits of integrated delivery systems.
Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente serves approximately 10 million
members throughout the southwest US.146 It offers a very
wide range of services, both directly and through contracts
and networks. For example, Kaiser operates its own
pharmacies and is the largest non-governmental purchaser
of pharmaceuticals in the world.
In a comparison with the National Health Service (NHS)
in 2002, Kaiser was found to perform better at roughly the
same cost per capita. As well, its members “experienced
more comprehensive and convenient primary care services
and much more rapid access to specialist services and
hospital admissions. Age adjusted rates of use of acute
hospital services in Kaiser were one third of those in the
NHS.”147 The study’s authors concluded that “widely held
beliefs that the NHS is efficient and that poor performance
in certain areas is largely explained by underinvestment
are not supported by this analysis.”148
What are the critical elements to Kaiser’s success? The
authors of the 2002 study attributed much of Kaiser’s
success to real integration through partnerships between
physicians and the administration. Related factors were
system control and accountability across all components
of the healthcare system, efficient management of hospital
use, greater investment in information technology, and the
motivation for continuous improvement provided by
competition.149
As noted above, Kaiser engages physicians and other health
professionals in the co-management of the system. While
professionals are salaried, they receive bonuses for quality
of care and effective stewardship of shared resources.
Professionals also spend more time using their unique
expertise and innovating at “the clinical coal-face,” because
clinical responsibilities are allocated to the most appropriate
personnel. As the 2002 study noted, the integrated
management and budgeting allows Kaiser “to manage
patients in the most appropriate setting, implement disease
management programmes for chronic conditions, and
make trade-offs in expenditures based on appropriateness
and cost effectiveness rather than artificial budget
categories.”150
“At Kaiser Permanente, there are many
thousands of staff who have a major portion
(15%) of their variable compensation tied to
innovation contributions.”
Stakeholder Submission
In 2005, Kaiser created a comprehensive personal health
record called MyChart, which patients can access through
a secure patient portal called My Health Manager.151 Fully
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integrated with existing information technologies, the
portal permits secure messaging between patients and
providers, e-scheduling and e-renewal of prescriptions.
Since the implementation of the system, the number of
digital encounters has risen from five percent to 67
percent, with 50 percent of all interactions between Kaiser
patients and physicians occurring via secure messaging.
146
Overall, the number of physical visits (i.e., clinic visits,
emergency department visits and hospital admissions)
has dropped significantly.
Last, Kaiser’s rich databanks are used to support quality
improvement efforts, evaluate innovations in the delivery
of care, find new efficiency opportunities, and facilitate
academic health services research.146 They also help identify
patients at risk. In that regard, while Kaiser’s low rates of
hospitalization are largely a result of excellent primary
care, effective deployment of multi-professional teams,
and heavy use of virtual care, there is a strong emphasis
on population health management and preventive care,
including outreach to vulnerable subpopulations.
Kaiser’s strength demonstrates the importance of learning
from successes in any system. While the US is still
struggling to contain healthcare costs, improve value, and
deliver more equitable access, it is also a hotbed of
healthcare innovation. Moreover, as discussed below, more
systematic reforms are being attempted in American
healthcare with the specific objective of enhanced
integration of payments and services.
Accelerating Integration in US
Healthcare Services
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010152
(also known as the Affordable Care Act and widely called
Obamacare) has garnered international headlines for its
insurance reforms, particularly the extension of coverage
to millions of uninsured Americans. Less well known are
the integrative payment modalities that have been enabled
by Obamacare, as briefly introduced in Chapter 2. Panel
members reviewed key publications, commissioned
research on payment modalities, and visited the Washington
area to hear first-hand from policy experts as well as those
involved in designing, driving, and evaluating these new
remuneration and delivery mechanisms.
Two strategies that the Affordable Care Act has introduced
bear brief notice here.
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The first is the funding of Accountable Care Organizations.
These are voluntary networks of providers that take
responsibility for the costs and quality of a defined set
of services for a given number of US Medicare recipients
(persons 65 and over). 153 There is no predetermined
mode of physician payment. The goal of Accountable
Care Organizations is to drive down costs while
maintaining quality.
The second strategy is bundling of payments. Bundled
payments were defined by Jason Sutherland in a Panel
research report as “single payments issued for a patient’s
entire episode of care for a health condition or procedure,
potentially spanning multiple healthcare providers and
settings”.154 This is some distance, obviously, from the
fully integrated and comprehensive care provided in US
group health plans such as Kaiser Permanente. However,
as Sutherland notes, bundled payments offer “built-in
financial incentives for coordination and integration of
care between providers” and “more cost certainty across
the continuum of care than traditional a la carte payments
to multiple providers.”154 Indeed, by putting a single price
on an entire episode of care, bundled payments offer “the
equivalent of a ‘care warranty,’ where the financial
consequences of any complications that occur within a
defined period of time (such as unplanned readmis­sions)
are the providers’ responsibility.”154
Sutherland notes that these payment changes have driven
vertical integra­tion of services and catalyzed a rapid increase
in the number of US healthcare mergers.155 On the other
hand, as the US Society of General Internal Medicine’s
National Commission on Physician Payment Reform observed
in 2013, neither of these models requires a shift from feefor-service remuneration of individual doctors. Their primary
recommendation follows: “Over time, payers should largely
eliminate stand-alone fee-for-service payment to medical
practices because of its inherent inefficiencies and problematic
financial incentives.”156 Other recommendations urge rapid
experimentation with new models of payment designed to
reward quality and value, with a view to “broad adoption”
of the best models within a decade.157
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI)
in the US has taken this advice seriously. Bundled and
blended payment models that start to move physicians
away from simple fee-for-service remuneration are now
being rolled out.158 These and other innovations in payment
and organization of healthcare are being implemented for
seniors through the federally-administered Medicare
program, and for low-income Americans through
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conditional cost-sharing and collaboration with state
governments.
Both the CMMI and its sister organization, the Agency for
Healthcare Research and Quality, are strongly committed
to transparency. Data are shared widely with researchers,
and CMMI staff actively study and refine all new models
of care. As a result, a cycle of evaluation and iterative
improvement to the Affordable Care Act reforms is unfolding
publicly through an ever-growing number of articles in
leading US medical journals.
Today, while the US faces huge healthcare challenges, it
has also become a dynamic laboratory for healthcare
innovation and integration. Scaling-up remains a
challenge, as noted in Chapter 2. However, as PierreGerlier Forest from Johns Hopkins University has rightly
stated, “We would be fools not to try to learn from this
colossal experiment.”159
Limited Integration of Healthcare
Services in Canada
Chapter 3 highlighted how frequently concerns about
limited integration have surfaced in major healthcare
reports. While many countries share the problem, Canadian
healthcare appears to be particularly frag­mented – and
peculiarly resistant to reform in this regard.
The regionalization of healthcare that took place in most
Canadian provinces during the 1990s is sometimes
presented as a positive example of integration.160 While
governance was indeed notionally integrated, the impact
was limited, in part because regional health authorities
have generally lacked any authority over budgets for
physician services and drugs, and in some instances, home
care services as well.
Another widespread strategy has been to approach
integration from the front-lines through primary care
reform. For simplicity, initiatives in Canada’s two largest
provinces can serve as cases in point.
Quebec’s Centres locaux de services communautaires
(CLSC), for example, number over 140, date back to the
early 1970s, and provide a focal point that integrates
multidisciplinary primary care and social services.161 This
visionary initiative had the potential to link primary care
with efforts to address the wider determinants of health.
However, the proportion of CLSCs that have recruited
family physicians unfortunately was and remains small.
Quebec later underwrote a more traditional model – the
Family Medicine Groups, launched in 2002.
“We need to shift from an emphasis on acute
hospital care to community-based care based on
inter-professional teams of healthcare providers
working with other community social services in
collaboration with specialists and hospitals - and
also with municipalities, school boards, police and
the business community to address the
underlying causes of illness.”
Public Submission
“We don’t have a system. We have a collection
of services and programs.”
Participant at Regional Consultation
Ontario’s Community Health Centres were also set up in
the 1970s with salaried staff. They offer multi-professional
primary care with an emphasis on health promotion and
a strong community development orientation. 161
Policymakers considered scaling up this model because of
its preventive possibilities. However, as occurred with
CLSCs in Quebec, most family physicians elected instead
to establish their own practices.
In the late 1990s, as noted in Chapter 3, Ontario began a
wider initiative in primary care reform that has continued
in waves ever since. New models of capitation funding
have increased the number of primary care practitioners
working in a range of new physician-led group practice
models. 69 Over the years, these reform efforts have cost
hundreds of millions of dollars in new spending.69 Models
vary in the amount of supplemental funding provided to
broaden primary care teams. In an interesting nod to its
own history, Ontario in 2007 created a set of Nurse
Practitioner-led Clinics for patients who have trouble
finding a family physician. About 25 of these clinics
currently provide multi-professional team care to these
vulnerable patients. Nurse practitioners also help these
patients navigate the healthcare system.162
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Five tangible outcomes of primary care reform have been
a shift to capitation as the basis for remuneration of a
substantial proportion of Ontario’s family physicians, a
sharp increase in the annual earnings of family physicians,
a related rise in applications to family medicine residencies,
growth in the employment of other health professionals
in primary care settings, and, as noted in Chapter 3,
encouraging but very modest improvements in a moderate
number of performance measures.69
In sum, attempts to fully integrate primary care with social
services have not met with great success. The full potential
of multi-professional team care has not been consistently
realized in reform initiatives. And, perhaps most importantly,
integration of primary care with specialty care or with the
institutional sector has been limited in most models.
Turning to patients with particular characteristics or
conditions, Chapter 5 highlighted some pioneering efforts
to make care more effective and patient-centred through
integration. A similar motivation is evident in Alberta’s
Strategic Clinical Networks (SCN), introduced briefly in
Chapter 3. To elaborate, these are province-wide teams
comprised of healthcare professionals, researchers,
community leaders, patients and policymakers. The teams
are organized around a specific clinical focus with a view
to enhancing the patient journey, improving health
outcomes, and standardizing care delivery.163 Ten SCNs
are currently in place covering major clinical conditions,
with six more slated for implementation over the next two
years.164 SCNs are expected to align their work with
provincial priorities, develop a research and innovation
program with academic partners, and attempt to identify
and eliminate harmful, outdated, ineffective and/or
inappropriate elements of care. The Panel was particularly
encouraged to learn that each team is committed to the
scaling-up of improved practices.165,166
Realigning Incentives and
Physician Payment Systems
All these reform initiatives are praiseworthy. None,
however, comes close to matching the type of alignment
of incentives that occurs in the new payment programs
being launched in the US Medicare and Medicaid programs
– let alone the comprehensive level of integration seen in
large group health plans south of the border. This continued
weak integration of budgets and accountability may well
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be ‘the fatal flaw’ in Canadian healthcare. 167,158
One partial exception is the Integrated Comprehensive
Care program at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton,
Ontario. This initiative is unusual in that it uses a “bundled
payment” approach for certain clinical streams, e.g. patients
undergoing thoracic surgery or total joint replacement (hip
and knee), as well as those hospitalized with conditions
such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and
congestive heart failure. Evaluation of the program has
already shown improved continuity of care, evidenced by
reduced readmission rates for target procedures, higher
patient satisfaction, and positive perceptions on the part
of patients and providers alike.168 Ontario seems poised
to scale this program up across the province – an important
step forward.
At present, then, Canada still lags the US in tackling the
hardest silo of all: the small business model of medical
practice with its fee-for-service compensation system. The
Panel encountered a range of opinion about what
compensation methods would fairly reward doctors for
the vitally important work they do. The rationale for a
change, heard repeatedly in the Panel’s consultations, is
that physicians should be rewarded for clinical excellence
and for generating value. Such goals are neither compatible
with a simple salary model, nor with an unadulterated
fee-for-service system that rewards volume and little else.
Even capitation payment in “reformed” primary care has
only weak alignment with system-wide value generation.
There is, however, very little imagination needed to come
up with other modes of bundled payment that might
engage primary care physicians and align incentives and
outcomes in the interests of patients and taxpayers alike.
For example, a number of studies have identified Ambulatory
Care Sensitive Conditions – those where excellent primary
care and, if needed, ambulatory specialist care, can reduce
the rate of urgent hospitalization.
Panel members accordingly asked: Why not create bundled
payments for primary care groups that offer incentives –
and yes, some financial penalties – based on the number
of patients at risk who are kept well enough to avoid
hospital care? Why not devise, test, and as appropriate
scale up other modalities, whereby other physicians can
be compensated on a blended basis – partially through
the fee schedule, and partially through bundled payments?
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Reimagining the Healthcare
Workforce
As discussed in Chapter 5, healthcare delivery in Canada
needs to move from a provider-focused system to one that
is based upon the needs of patients. This will involve
organizing delivery over the full care cycle, with patients
grouped based upon their healthcare needs and provider
teams established to meet those needs.128 Those teams
can be enabled by a combination of changes in payment
models and by optimizing the scopes of practice of health
professionals – a topic to which the Panel turns now.
In 2014, the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences released
its ground-breaking report on health human resources in
Canada.169 This wide-ranging review focused on the most
effective scopes of practice to support integrated models
of care in Canada. In the words of the report, there is an
“emerging consensus that optimizing scopes of practice
paired with supporting evolving models of shared care can
provide a multidimensional approach to shift the healthcare
system from one that is characteristically siloed to one that
is collaborative and patient-focused.”169 The report assesses
where Canada is right now, where it should aim to be and
how to get there (see figure 6.2).
In its recommendations, the Canadian Academy of Health
Sciences calls for “an integrative structural framework
that supports the optimization of healthcare professional
scopes of practice and innovative models of care.”169 This
framework would recognize shared responsibility at the
practice and institution levels with a regulatory model
and a proposed accreditation structure.
The Panel strongly endorses the findings and
recommendations of the Canadian Academy of Health
Figure 6.2: Scopes of Practice Supporting Innovative Models of Care
WHERE WE ARE
Current Canadian Health Care
System characterized by
insufficiencies around:
• Accessibility - particularly for
marginalized and disadvantaged populations
WHERE WE WANT TO BE
HOW WE CAN GET THERE
A transformed health care system
characterized by:
Evaluation &
Performance
Measurement
• A move from supply to need focused
(needs determine models to scope)
• A move from professional
to patient focused
• Care provided outside of
business hours
• Wait times
• A move from isolated, siloed
professionals to teams based on
non-conventional and conventional
providers
Enablers and strategies
for circumventing
barriers towards
innovative models of
care optimizing scopes
of practice
• Health promotion including
patient involvement and
self-management
• Appropriate use of healthcare
providers and resources
• Chronic care management
• A move away from historic long term
credential SoP to a model of team
defined tasks to meet population
needs; team allocates resources and
responsibilities (task certification
process to ensure competency)
• Mental health care
• Individual regulation to
combined/team accreditation
• Elderly and end-of-life care
• Fiscal effectiveness and
sustainability
• Performance monitoring and
evaluation that is aligned with these
principles
• Funding groups rather than individuals
(not necessarily health outcomes process outcomes, reduction to ER)
MACRO INPUTS - Structure Level
MESO INPUTS - Institution Level
MICRO INPUTS - Practice Level
Education & Training Context
• Education needs/requirements
• Assessment/standards/competencies
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Economic Context
• Funding
• Financing
• Remuneration
Governance
Labour/CQI Processes
Unionization
Technology form & content
Provider supply & retention
Geography
Team composition
Team vision
Degree of hierarchy
Professional cultures
Communication
Infrastructure
Legal & Regulatory Context
• Legislation/Form of regulation
• Registration requirements
• Provider accountability
Source: Adapted from: Nelson S. et al. Optimizing Scopes of Practice: New Models for a New Health Care System. Ottawa: Canadian Academy of Health Sciences; 2014. Available
here: http://www.cahs-acss.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Optimizing-Scopes-of-Practice_REPORT-English.pdf, p.10
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Sciences and urges governments and providers to
implement them in a timely fashion. In addition, the
Healthcare Innovation Agency of Canada and the
Healthcare Innovation Fund should play a supportive role
in accelerating progress on this front, e.g. by supporting
the development of a pan-Canadian mechanism to assess
the value of healthcare services in terms of cost, provider
role, and patient outcomes. This would help decisionmakers determine fair and cost-effective payment strategies
for different providers and enable the setting of prices that
reflect value in terms of patient outcomes.
“The various elements of the current system
were largely created to respond to acute,
episodic care provided in hospitals and most
often by individual physicians. Over the
decades, these elements have become
enshrined in legislative, regulatory, and
financial schemes that challenge adaptation to
shifts in population health care needs. Health
care organizations and personnel seeking
innovative solutions must often work around
these barriers in order to optimize resources
and improve quality of care.”
Nelson S. et al. Optimizing Scopes of Practice: New Models for a New Health Care System.
Ottawa: Canadian Academy of Health Sciences; 2014. Available here: http://www.cahsacss.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Optimizing-Scopes-of-Practice_REPORT-English.
pdf, p.10
Given the need for greater collaboration between provider
groups, many health organizations have called for interprofessional education and training in collaborative
practice for health professions.170 The good news is that
Canada has long been a leader in inter-professional
education. The bad news is that the regulatory and
payment environment is still a barrier to shared care. This
must change.
Integrated Incentives and
Shared Care
As argued above, the current segmented funding envelopes
and budgetary silos create many perverse incentives in the
deployment of health human resources. Among the
bundled payment concepts that some have suggested
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would make a rapid difference to Canadians is the
introduction of shared financial incentives for hospitals,
physicians and community providers.158 More generally,
even without adopting the staffing model of large-scale
US health plans, a range of approaches can be imagined
that would create strong financial incentives for providers
to coordinate their efforts, to assign responsibilities in a
team to the most cost-effective professional, and to be
rewarded for the quality and value of the services provided.
“Implementation and operation of an
integrated health system requires leadership
with vision as a well as an organizational
culture that is congruent with the vision.
Clashing cultures…is one of the reasons
named for failed integration efforts”
Suter E, Oelke ND, Adair CE. Healthcare Q. 2009 Oct; 3(spec no): 16-23. http://
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3004930/
“Nurse practitioners and doctors should work
together to provide care to our patients. It’s not
a competition. There is a place for them to
work collaboratively.”
Public Submission
As noted, more integrated delivery systems, such as
Accountable Care Organizations or the Kaiser model, go
one step further and include risk sharing. System managers
organize care across different institutions and different
types of professional services with a view to optimizing
safety, effectiveness and efficiency. Compensation for
professionals is aligned with the objectives of the entire
enterprise. Perhaps the single biggest barrier to these
large-scale innovations is the unease of practising
physicians – and their concerns should not be taken lightly.
The Panel returns here to a theme in the preceding section.
No matter the approach, better integrating services through
alignment of incentives will entail changes in physician payment
and accountability structures. There is no doubt that a great
many physicians are willing and more than able to take on a
much larger leadership role in changing the healthcare system
for the better. Their engagement is essential to the future of
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Medicare. However, in the Panel’s respectful view, physicians
cannot readily join other health professionals in leading the
system while standing guard in front of their traditional
budgetary silos and related modes of remuneration.
Integrated Healthcare for
Vulnerable Populations: The
Case of First Nations
Nowhere are the impacts of a fragmented and disjointed
healthcare system more keenly felt than with many of
Canada’s First Nations. The Panel had the opportunity to
meet and learn from First Nations stakeholders in its
consultation activities across Canada. It also had the
opportunity to meet with the First Nations Health
Technicians Network of the Assembly of First Nations, and
with a senior representative from the First Nations and
Inuit Health Branch of Health Canada.
Many Canadians are aware of the relatively poorer health
status of First Nations and Inuit peoples.xxiv What is less
well known is that First Nations living both on and off
reserve must traverse a patchwork of health systems that
includes multiple federal departments (Health Canada,
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada),
provincial/territorial governments, and sometimes interprovincial/territorial health authorities. The result is that
the endemic lack of coordination in Canada’s healthcare
systems is exacerbated by jurisdictional ambiguity and
inconsistencies.
One notable example of this phenomenon involved Jordan
River Anderson, a five-year-old boy born with a rare
muscular disorder requiring constant treatment. After two
years in hospital, doctors felt Jordan could be treated at
home. However, Jordan stayed in hospital for an additional
two years, as the federal and provincial governments fought
over whose responsibility it was to pay for his home care.
Jordan died in hospital in 2005. In 2007, the House of
Commons unanimously supported a Private Member’s
motion that “the government should immediately adopt
a child first principle, based on Jordan’s Principle, to resolve
jurisdictional disputes involving the care of First Nations
children.”171 However, in the Panel’s consultations, it heard
first hand that all First Nations, including children, continue
to experience barriers in care, in part because of jurisdictional
ambiguity and disagreements between provinces and
territories and the federal government as to who should
pay for what services. The Assembly of First Nations has
been working with the federal government and other
partners to address this critical issue.
“I had a First Nations patient from up North who
needed drainage of cancer-related fluid around the
lungs. The patient was required to fly down weekly
to my urban hospital to have the fluid drained
despite the fact that this could be done at home
with a catheter and the use of sealed bottles. I was
told this was because there was no funding to pay
for the bottles, but that in a different budget
envelope there was funding for his medical
transport. This meant that in his last six weeks of
life, he had to be flown down once a week for care,
rather than being looked after at home. On top of
the impact that this had on his quality of care, the
system should consider the cost. One of his six
return trips alone would have more than paid for all
of the bottles needed for caring for him at home.”
Participant at Regional Consultation
This situation highlights the imperative of designing and
implementing integrated healthcare systems that respond
to the unique needs and priorities identified by First
Nations themselves and the related need for resolution
through tripartite discussion.
One such model was created for BC in 2013. The BC First
Nations Health Authority reflects a shared governance
model that has integrated a broad range of services. This
innovative initiative is now being evaluated on multiple
levels to determine its strengths and weaknesses, but holds
considerable promise.
xxiv O
n average, First Nations live about eight fewer years than the general
Canadian population; First Nations infant mortality rate is declining but
remains approximately 2 times higher. Compared with the overall tuberculosis
incidence rate for Canada in 2012, the rate was 4.9 times higher among First
Nations on reserve. Health Canada. First Nations and Inuit Health Fact Sheet.
Ottawa: Health Canada; 2014 September.
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The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium
(ANTHC) is a non-profit organization which
manages statewide health services for
approximately 140,000 Alaska Natives and
American Indians of Alaska. The ANTHC is
managed and operated by the Alaska Native
tribal governments and the regional health
organizations. ANTHC delivers both upstream
and downstream care; leads construction of
water, sanitation and health facilities around
Alaska; offers community health and research
services; is at the forefront of innovative
information technology; and, offers
professional recruiting to partners across the
state. ANTHC operates under a US $0.5 billion
operating budget and employs approximately
2,000 people.
Source: About ANTHC. Anchorage: Alaska Native Tribal Consortium; c2005-2015.
Available from: http://www.anthc.org/abt/
Transfer of some services to First Nations is also occurring
at the local community level in both Yukon and the
Northwest Territories. However, without adequate scaleup, these arrangements are likely to remain limited in
scope and may be inefficient.
More generally, First Nations leaders expressed concern
to the Panel that devolution could become a form of
downloading. What seems essential is that all sides
collaborate to ensure that resources and authority are
aligned with responsibilities, and that there is perfect clarity
about who does what in any tripartite arrangement. In
particular, the federal government should take steps to
ensure that health infrastructure and health human
resource capacity are adequate to meet the needs of
communities before devolution occurs.
In this regard, the Panel was also made aware of the unique
challenges and importance of the development of health
information technology for First Nations and Inuit. Health
Canada has implemented the First Nations and Inuit
eHealth Infostructure Program to support the development
and adoption of information and communications
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technology systems that could improve First Nations and
Inuit healthcare.xxv However, barriers still exist that impede
further implementation, including:
•
lack of available funding for eHealth capacity,
implementation, and sustainability
•
inadequate infrastructure to support eHealth projects,
including basic broadband access
•
First Nations’ own fragmented healthcare governance
structures
•
weak communication about eHealth project planning
among the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch,
provinces and territories, and representatives of First
Nations and Inuit172
On another front, however, responsibilities are clear.
Health Canada’s Non-insured Health Benefits (NIHB)
program for registered members of First Nations and
eligible Inuit covers various services that are not covered
by provincial and territorial plans, such as drugs, dental
and vision care, and medical travel. Total program
spending in 2013-14 was over $1 billion, including $352
million for medical transportation.173 While NIHB
provides a critical support for First Nations and Inuit,
during its consultations, the Panel heard a wide variety
of complaints about the program.174
“Under the NIHB program with regard to
dentistry, we have a predetermination system
which is centralized and which takes weeks to
provide decisions to dentists. This requires
patients with complex issues to travel once for
a diagnosis and a second time and possibly
more to receive treatment.”
Stakeholder Submission
xxv A
s First Nations and Inuit health is a federal program, it was not eligible for
Canada Health Infoway funding.
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Panel members are aware that the details of administration
of these benefits are under review as part of a general
assessment of how the First Nations and Inuit Health
Branch discharges its responsibilities. However, Panel
members remain troubled by the brief glimpse they were
given into the state of First Nations and Inuit health and
healthcare. The general recommendations offered below
are therefore no more than a starting point for what must
be a fundamental rethinking of how Canada’s governments
work with First Nations and Inuit communities to improve
their health services and health status.
competition through tendering or bidding for care
contracts.
•
Support pan-Canadian multi-sectoral collaboration
to implement the recommendations of the Canadian
Academy of Health Sciences 2014 report Optimizing
Scopes of Practice.
•
Collaborate with provinces and territories, professional
associations and others on a pan-Canadian pay
commission to examine the relative value of healthcare
services in terms of cost, provider activity and patient
outcomes, thereby helping decision-makers evaluate
professional roles, payments and prices.
Recommendations to the
Federal Government
6. 1 Through the new Healthcare
Innovation
Agency
of
Canada,
alongside federal investments from the
Healthcare Innovation Fund, promote
integrated delivery systems across
Canada.
6.2 Through the Canadian Institute
for Health Information, in collaboration
with interested provinces and territories,
and with supplemental support from
the Healthcare Innovation Fund as
needed, pursue the following priorities:
•
Expedite work to develop methodologies adaptable
for use in physician capitation payment and in
designing integrative or bundled payments based
around common episodes of care.
•
Accelerate work in the area of patient reported outcome
measures (PROMs) and patient costing data, including
case costing data, to create national risk-adjusted
patient grouping methodologies and other tools.
Relevant themes follow:
•
•
•
•
Per Recommendation 5.1, support provinces, territories,
and regional health authorities in undertaking largescale projects that implement highly integrated delivery
systems that test new forms of payment where care is
organized and financed around the needs of the patient.
Review and identify the best practices in interprofessional shared care, with specific reference to
leading integrated delivery models. Promote
adaptation, scaling-up and spreading of similar
practices in Canadian jurisdictions.
Develop, implement, and evaluate strategies for
ensuring that integrated delivery arrangements in
Canada address social needs and determinants of
health, protect and promote health, and prevent disease.
Support provinces, territories, and regional health
authorities in adapting, scaling up and spreading
partial integration models, e.g. primary care
commissioning, portfolio funding for disease
management, and assorted bundled payment
strategies. Where possible, introduce elements of
6.3 Through Health Canada, and its
First Nations and Inuit Health Branch,
pursue the following priorities.
•
Co-create a First Nations Health Quality Council, in
partnership with First Nations representatives and
patients, and with provincial and territorial
governments. This Council would report on the quality
and safety of care for First Nations across all sectors
and regions. A priority for the First Nations Health
Quality Council should be collaboration with CIHI for
data development and collection relevant to First
Nations (see Recommendation 7.6).
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UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
•
Co-create a tripartite liaison committee with Inuit
representatives and patients, and with the relevant
provincial and territorial governments. The mission
of this committee would parallel that of the First
Nations Health Quality Council.
•
Support First Nations leaders, together with willing
provinces or territories and other partners, not least
the Federal Government to initiate, evaluate and scale
up new models of co-governed integrated care in
varied locations across Canada. Managed by First
Nations, these holistic entities should be modelled on
international best practices, such as the Alaska Native
Tribal Health Consortium or the Nuka System of Care.
•
Facilitate the transfer of federal healthcare delivery
programs to interested First Nations communities,
working in partnership with First Nations leadership
in those communities and the relevant province or
territory, while ensuring that service transfers are
accompanied by commensurate resources.
•
Continuously monitor existing initiatives that transfer
responsibility for services, such as the BC First Nations
Health Authority, to ensure that devolution strategies
are effective, efficient, and equitable.
•
Improve the health infrastructure and health human
resource capacity on reserve to meet patients’ needs.
•
Work with First Nations, Inuit, and other stakeholders
to improve the management and responsiveness of
the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program to
enhance access to care through digital technologies
and ensure that it provides coverage comparable to
other public and private plans.
οο To this end, the federal government should provide
quasi-statutory authorities to Health Canada to
adjust or expand health benefits offered through
NIHB within an overall financial framework set
by Parliament.
οο
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Through the combined resources of the Healthcare
Innovation Fund, the Healthcare Innovation Agency
of Canada, Health Canada, relevant provincial and
territorial partners, First Nations and Inuit
communities and others, develop new models of
virtual and physical care to mitigate the hardships
incurred by patients and families when First Nations
and Inuit peoples travel to receive healthcare.
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Chapter 7
Channeling the Data
Deluge, Mapping the
Knowledge Frontier
“Hiding within those mounds of data is
knowledge that could change the life of a
patient, or change the world.” 175
Atul Butte
UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
Channeling the Data Deluge, Mapping the
Knowledge Frontier
From diagnostic images to lab test results, we are now able
to digitize more health-related data than ever before. There
are also more data to digitize. For example, advances in
medical genetics and related fields have generated reams
of biological data about patients and populations, offering
previously-unmatched insights into health status and
disease risks. Add to this the growing capacity of remote
monitoring and wearable technology to collect data on
both behavioural patterns and their effect on heart rate,
blood sugar and other biological parameters, and it has
become clear that we are surrounded by health data, which
offer massive potential for use in improving care.
Unfortunately, Canada has fallen behind in key areas of
digital health and data-driven care. Earlier chapters have
already highlighted that we are failing to make best use
of data that are already available, and lagging in
implementation of electronic health records (EHRs) – the
secure and private lifetime records that describe a person’s
health history and care.
“Medical students and residents are currently
handling patients with 1980s charts.”
Participant at Regional Consultation
Canada is also woefully unprepared for the wave about to
crest as the revolution in biological characterization of
individuals ushers in the era of precision medicine. Precision
medicine is an approach to medicine in which diagnostic,
treatment, and prevention strategies are tailored to subpopulations of patients or even personalized at the
individual level. Canada has global research leaders in
various aspects of precision medicine, but as will be outlined
below, we urgently need a strategy for moving precision
medicine to the clinical front-lines, and for turning the
sophisticated data arising from such clinical encounters
back into generalizable research findings.
This chapter accordingly focuses on these two inter-related
themes. It deals first with issues surrounding health and
medical records under the prevailing medical paradigm,
and then considers some of the challenges and opportunities
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that precision medicine will bring to Canadian healthcare
systems. These two themes converge around the use of
advanced analytics on these enriched databases to monitor
and improve quality of care at all levels of Canada’s
healthcare systems, and to generate new insights into
health and disease.
Turning Data into Knowledge
In 1991, the late Martin Wilk reported to the Government
of Canada that health information was “in a deplorable
state … like an unmapped forest with undefined
boundaries.” 176 A former chief statistician of Canada, Wilk
concluded that the problem was one the Panel continues
to see in Canadian healthcare – fragmented effort, and
lack of collaboration and coordination. Wilk called for a
single national agency that could foster “productive
incrementalism.”176
This work led to the creation in 1994 of the Canadian
Institute for Health Information (CIHI), profiled briefly
in Chapter 3. Today CIHI has a wide range of data
holdings. Its profiles of health system performance have
repeatedly informed this report, and have a wide impact
nationally as governments, provider organizations and
institutions, and researchers all use CIHI analyses and
customized databases. The organization is respected
domestically and abroad, and has maintained a high
degree of inter-jurisdictional collaboration as well as
positive stakeholder relations.
At the same time, healthcare data are collected and analyzed
independently by many other players, including provinces
and territories, health quality councils, regional health
authorities, and individual healthcare organizations. While
the Panel was gratified by evidence that Canada’s healthcare
systems are increasingly data-driven, stakeholders
cautioned that these efforts remain fragmented.
Indeed, the Panel’s review suggests that Canada’s health
data infrastructure needs to be enhanced. Specifically:
•
The utility of existing performance measurement
information is often limited due to lengthy data lags.
Clinicians and administrators need real-time or near
CHAPTER 7 — CHANNELING THE DATA DELUGE, MAPPING THE KNOWLEDGE FRONTIER
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
real-time data and information in order to inform their
decision-making.
•
•
Providers and administrators are under increasing
pressure to collect more data, but do not see returns
in terms of meaningful and actionable clinical and
administrative information.
Performance and health outcome reporting efforts
happen at multiple levels by multiple organizations,
generating a deluge of information, a sense of indicator
chaos, and uncertainty among providers and
administrators on what is credible, what is a priority,
and how to use the right information to make better
decisions.
•
Access to data and information among patients,
providers, researchers, and policymakers is inconsistent.
The Panel heard that data access is particularly difficult
for clinicians and researchers in certain provinces who
have no choice but to buy raw data or customized
analyses from other jurisdictions.
•
Data gaps still exist in important areas including but not
limited to primary care, where the majority of interactions
with the healthcare system occur. As already noted in
Chapter 6, another serious gap occurs with First Nations
and Inuit communities, where the lack of health outcomes
and system performance data hinders resource planning
and delivery. As well, healthcare purchased by individuals,
private insurance companies, and employers makes up
30 percent of health spending in Canada.5 This sector is
very poorly understood at present.
Stakeholders expressed particular concern that the
available information systems do not provide actionable
intelligence. They made repeated calls for better data
linkage – bringing together multiple sources of data that
relate to the same individual, family, place or event. CIHI
was acknowledged as a leader in creating high-quality
data holdings, but lengthy delays in cleaning the data and
standardizing reporting mean that the information that
can be used is always retrospective, and not useful for
real-time decision making.
The Panel’s view is that many of these shortfalls relate not
to back-end data usage but front-end data collection and
standardization. Access to data in “real time” will only
come from investments in ensuring that individual patient
records are rapidly digitized in standard formats that permit
easy and quick aggregation in servers for online access.
This leads logically to the question of the status of digital
health record-keeping in Canada.
The Emergence of the Electronic
Health Record
Unlike the consensus-based approaches that have guided
the development of pan-Canadian health databases, the
diffusion of electronic health and medical records has been
based on centralized investment in large-scale projects by
Canada Health Infoway. Infoway has partnered successfully
with all jurisdictions to make big investments in health
info-structure over the past fifteen years. Obvious progress
has been made in developing a core backbone of health
information and communications technology (ICT) across
Canada (e.g., patient and physician registries, diagnostic
imaging systems, lab information systems, etc.).
For clarity, the Panel notes that EHRs consist of information
from a variety of sources, including hospitals, clinics,
doctors, pharmacies, and laboratories.177 EHRs can also
be broadly understood to encompass electronic medical
records (EMRs), which are the in-office systems used by
healthcare providers to record information during a
patient’s visit. The progress in ICT implementation is clear:
56 percent of primary care physicians reported that they
used EMRs in 2012, up from 37 percent in 2009 as noted
in figure 7.1.178 Although more recent information provided
by Canada Health Infoway suggests this figure is now over
75 percent, Canada is still playing catch-up.
Not just in family physicians’ offices, but more generally,
Canada has not yet reached full deployment of EHRs across
the continuum of care. The comparatively slow roll-out
of EHRs has put Canada at a disadvantage compared to
better-performing OECD peers. Shortfalls inevitably
impede the quality and efficiency of front-line healthcare,
leading to wasteful duplication of tests, incompletely
informed clinical decisions, and medical errors. Limitations
in EHR utilization also impede the development of higher
level information systems and databases, with consequences
for policy-making, quality management, healthcare
research, and data-driven innovation.
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UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
Figure 7.1: Primary Care Physicians’ Use of Electronic Medical Records in Their Practice,
2009 and 2012
100%
99% 98%
97% 98%
97% 97%
96% 97%
95%
92%
90%
94%
88%
82%
80%
72%
69%
70%
68% 67%
56%
60%
46%
50%
37%
40%
41%
30%
20%
10%
2009
Switzerland
Canada
France
United States
Germany
Sweden
Australia
United Kingdom
New Zealand
Norway
Netherlands
0%
2012
Source: Adapted from: 2009 and 2012 Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Survey of Primary Care Physicians. Available from: http://www.commonwealthfund.
org/interactives-and-data/international-survey-data
for 6.75 million residents in the greater Toronto area,
“Outlaw the fax machine in doctors’ offices …
across hospitals, community care access centres,
It is absolutely unacceptable that fax machines
community health centres, long term care facilities,
still exist in medicine, it is absolutely
and others.
unacceptable that e-mail is not accepted in
• Conformity in EHRs across jurisdictions is also mixed,
doctors’ offices. These things must change and
as provinces and territories determine their own degree
must change tomorrow as a national standard.”
of adoption, standards and timelines, thereby impeding
the ability for jurisdictions to share data and
systems.179,180
Participant at Industry/Government Roundtable
Given the rapid changes in health information technology
(e.g., mobile health technologies and virtual care options)
and the growing demand by patients to gain access and
make use of their own health data (as discussed in chapter
5), it is fortunate that the adoption and use of EHRs is
accelerating. However, other challenges persist:
•
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Point-of-care access to fully interoperable EHR is
limited, restricting the ability of healthcare providers
to seamlessly share patient health information with
one another. A 2012 Commonwealth Fund survey
found that only 14 percent of primary care physicians
can electronically exchange patient summaries and
test results with doctors outside their practice. 178
Progress is happening in pockets across Canada, such
as ConnectGTA which aims to deliver a regional EHR
•
The lack of data harmonization and common data
standards and elements between EHR systems limits
the development and analysis of data sets that can be
used for research, evaluation, predictive risk analysis,
real time decision-making and quality improvement.
•
Implementation of electronic records is not the same
as meaningful use. A 2014 National Physician Survey
found, for example, that out of all physicians who plan
to use EMRs in the next two years, only 40.3 percent
planned to use their EMRs for secure transfer of patient
information, and only 52.3 percent for drug interaction
warnings.181
Other jurisdictions have focused more closely on meaningful
use of EHRs, as summarized in the next section.
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Meaningful Use
As one stakeholder in the Panel’s consultation put it, EHRs
are not just a way for doctors to digitize the notes from
their meetings with patients. To reap full benefit, healthcare
providers – and others, such as payers – must also be able
to use EHRs to their fullest extent “to improve quality,
safety, efficiency, and reduce health disparities; engage
patients and family; improve care coordination, and
population and public health; and, maintain privacy and
security of patient health information.”182
“EHR adoption is not just having a computer
in the office, but knowing how to use it.”
Participant at Regional Consultation
This scope of use is achieved in only a few healthcare
systems or plans. However, in many countries, including
the US, a narrower definition of “meaningful use” is
codified in law and achieved in stages. The first stage
involves data capture and sharing (e.g., recording chart
information). The second hinges on more advanced
processing (e.g., using decision support to improve
performance on high-priority conditions), while the third
requires demonstration of improved patient outcomes.
Canada Health Infoway has also articulated levels of
enhanced EHR use (called clinical value targets). Unlike
the US which supports achievement of each stage with
financial incentives to providers and healthcare
organizations, there are few pan-Canadian incentive/
disincentive structures in place for using/not using EHRs
at these levels.183
This situation speaks to the changing priorities in the realm
of health information technology. As already signalled in
Chapter 4, the Panel doubts that Infoway in its current
configuration will make an easy transition to mobile health
and high-touch activities such as promoting meaningful
use of EHRs with front-line providers (see Recommendation
4.4). Downstream integration with the proposed Healthcare
Innovation Agency of Canada should prove synergistic.
Even the first stage of ‘meaningful use’ leads to the
production of digitized records that, if compiled with
common standards, can be aggregated for higher-level
analysis by provider institutions and organizations. Such
analyses can not only achieve the goals quoted above, but
can also provide advanced business intelligence and
predictive analytics. Here, the US Veterans Health
Administration (VHA) is an instructive example of the
power of interoperable, harmonized EHRs. Serving more
than six million veterans across the country, the VHA has
long been recognized as a pioneer in electronic health
information systems. These systems now generate a wide
variety of local and system-wide performance reports,
covering clinical, financial and administrative matters –
with the option to drill down to the level of individual
providers and patients. More recently, the VHA has turned
its attention to use of these data for more advanced
analytics, including predictive analyses that enable better
planning and earlier intervention in at-risk groups.184
The latter observations speak to the power of what is
commonly termed Big Data.
Big Data in the Public Interest
The hype that has turned Big Data into a meme is
unfortunate. Worldwide, the amount of digitized and
stored data is indeed growing at a staggering rate. Not
just information technology companies and other service
enterprises, but governments and publicly-funded
healthcare systems are accumulating truly massive amounts
of stored data. All too often, however, no one has much
idea how to make meaningful use of these collections or
data sets. The data gathered are often illogically organized,
complex, incompletely standardized, uneven in quality,
and difficult to analyze.
These data sets have forced the development of hypothesisfree approaches to analytics based on pattern recognition.
Canada has world leaders in this field, most notably
Geoffrey Hinton, who now divides his time between the
University of Toronto and Google. The challenge of sorting
through these types of data sets also accounts for the
phenomenon of hackathons, in which governments or
industries open up anonymized or limited versions of
their data sets, and convene a competition to see what
individual or team can make the most creative use of the
data at hand.185,xxvi
xxvi I n another example of this trend, as this report was going to press, the Centers
for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that they would be opening
up their data to innovators and entrepreneurs in order to drive transformation
in the healthcare system. Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services. CMS
announces entrepreneurs and innovators to access Medicare data. Washington
(United States): Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services; 2015 June.
Available from : http://cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Pressreleases/2015-Press-releases-items/2015-06-02.html
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While the excitement about advanced analytics and large
data sets is justifiable, the Panel cautions that the strategic
assembly of reliable data will usually trump self-defeating
initiatives based on what might be termed,‘endless heaping
and random digging’. For example, by linking together
several health administrative databases and studying
physician referral patterns, researchers from the Institute
for Clinical Evaluative Sciences were able to identify nearly
80 informal multispecialty physician networks or “selforganizing systems of care that collectively serve their large
panels of patients.”186 This discovery formed the theoretical
basis for the Ontario Community Health Links initiative
described in Chapter 5, which funds and supports teams
of networks of local healthcare providers to care for patients
with chronic complex conditions.
Other provincial groups are also internationally recognized
for leadership in linking health and social care data sets.
In this regard, the Panel notes the success of initiatives
such as PopData BC and the Manitoba Centre for Health
Policy, long-time leaders in this area and well supported
by governments. More recent initiatives include the Alberta
Child and Youth Data Laboratory, a research initiative that
links and analyzes administrative databases across multiple
child- and youth-serving government ministries, including
health, education, justice, and Aboriginal relations.187 All
these efforts have shown how big datasets can yield
practical insights for innovation in policy and administration.
The latter examples have the particular advantage of
highlighting the interconnectedness of the health and
social service sectors. As the Panel has noted, integration
of health and social services remains a weak point of
Canada’s healthcare systems – one that will become more
problematic as the proportion of seniors grows.
From an economic perspective, data-driven innovation is
widely seen as holding potential for enhanced productivity,
efficiency gains, and competitive advantages. The OECD
has identified publicly administered sectors like healthcare
and education as those standing to gain the most from
this model of innovation: “These sectors employ the largest
share of occupations which perform many tasks related to
the collection and analysis of information with, however,
a relative low level of computerisation.”188 The Panel agrees,
and will return in its recommendations to steps that must
be taken to ensure maximum impact from data-driven
innovation in Canadian healthcare.
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Patient-Centred Data
Just as earlier chapters have highlighted the need for
patients to access their own health records and for
healthcare systems to become more patient-centred in
all dimensions, so too should health data be focused on
patients.
Patient Reported Experience Measures (PREMs) represent
one tool. In the US, the Agency for Healthcare Research
and Quality has had a voluntary, standardized patient
experience survey program in place since 1995. The
aggregate results are routinely made public. In contrast,
patient experience surveys in Canada are administered
using many different tools and data collection methods,
and cannot be aggregated for comparative purposes.
The Panel was encouraged to learn about the emergence
of the Canadian Patient Experience Initiative, a collaboration
between the CIHI, Accreditation Canada, The Change
Foundation, the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, members
of an inter-jurisdictional committee, and experts in the
field. CIHI is also collaborating with several provinces to
develop patient experience indicators that can inform
performance improvements over time and support
benchmarking across Canada.
Similarly, Canada’s collection of healthcare data would be
enriched by use of Patient-Reported Outcome Measures
(PROMs). Patient-reported outcomes “are any reports
coming directly from patients about how they function or
feel in relation to a health condition and its therapy, without
interpretation of the patient’s responses by a clinician, or
anyone else.”189 PROMs, currently under development at
CIHI, are an alternative to more traditional health outcomes
measures such as mortality or morbidity. When collected
in a systematic fashion, as is done within the England’s
National Health Service for patients undergoing selected
elective surgeries, PROMs can offer valuable performance
improvement data.190,191
The collection and analysis of reliable, comparable,
actionable data on patient experience and patient-reported
outcome measures is an essential to Canadian efforts aimed
at making our healthcare systems more patient-centred.111
The Panel urges intensification of all these efforts, consistent
with recommendation 6.2 above.
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Figure 7.2: Genome Sequencing Costs over Time
Cost per Genome
$100M
$10M
Moor
e’s La
w
$1M
$100K
$10K
$1K
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
Source: Adapted from DNA Sequencing Costs [Internet]. Bethseda (United States): National Human Genome Research Institute; 2014 Oct 31. Available from: http://
www.genome.gov/sequencingcosts/
Precision Medicine: A Data-rich
Knowledge Frontier
As noted above, precision medicine has been enabled by
breakthroughs in biology that accelerate unprecedented
characterization of individuals. The goal is that diagnostic,
treatment and prevention strategies will be tailored
increasingly to sub-populations of patients or even
individuals, by combining standard clinical, laboratory, and
psychosocial assessments with measurements of a range
of sophisticated biomarkers.
A key step was the completion of the Human Genome
Project in 2003. Since then, improvements in technology
have dramatically reduced the costs and time required
for genetic testing and genomic sequencing (as illustrated
in figure 7.2), broadening their potential to a wider range
of applications and exponentially increasing the potential
amount of genetic information available to clinicians
and researchers.
Four other areas of development have accelerated this
transformation. First, more sophisticated medical imaging
is offering unprecedented clarity about not just internal
body structures but their function. Second, the inter-related
areas of stem cell science, tissue engineering and
regenerative medicine have opened up new therapeutic
vistas. Third, chemistry and biotechnology have converged,
allowing the production of an enormous range of bespoke
therapeutic molecules. And fourth, biomedicine’s ability
to manipulate the body’s own immune and inflammatory
responses has grown exponentially – a critical factor in
curing or controlling a wide range of diseases.
With all these advances, what was once a single condition,
defined by clinical features, is often found to be several
different disorders that happen to look roughly similar at
the bedside or with standard laboratory tests. A patient
with a cancer that has stopped responding to intravenous
chemotherapy can now contemplate surprising and truly
personalized options, such as oral treatment with a drug
used for high blood pressure or a now little-used antibiotic.
This represents a radical shift in thinking. In healthcare
evaluation, pioneering approaches in health technology
assessment and evidence-based medicine were predicated
on creating standardized treatment pathways and protocols.
The goal was to help clinicians and policymakers make
decisions that would allow the largest number of patients
to achieve the best results. In particular, the foundations
of analysis were and remain probabilistic, with analytical
techniques borrowed from epidemiology and psychometrics.
Evidence-based medicine – a Canadian innovation arising
from McMaster University’s medical school – remains an
important toolkit of ideas for managing a clinical realm
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where decisions reflect a struggle to do the right thing in
the face of the play of chance. For example, because many
drugs have only a small chance of benefiting a given patient,
randomized trials must be very large to reliably assess drug
effectiveness, or combined through meta-analysis.
Interpreting imprecise laboratory tests has likewise required
trade-offs between the chances of false-positive and falsenegative results.
Precision medicine, in contrast, has the ambition of allowing
clinicians to pursue a more deterministic approach.
Originating from root biological causes and pathways, new
biomarkers can radically enhance the signal to noise ratio
in laboratory tests or tumour characterization. And by
targeting the right patient with the right drug at the right
time, precision medicine may well reduce the collateral
injuries – and waste – associated with the shotgun
pharmacotherapy that currently prevails.
All that said, the need for a disciplined and critical
approach to clinical research evidence is not likely to
disappear any time soon. The applicability of precision
medicine to many common conditions remains unclear.
For reducing one’s risk of most common diseases,
individualized prevention through precision medicine is
a side-show at present; behaviours based on common
sense and general knowledge remain the sensible way
forward for most Canadians. Thus, the question
contemplated by the Panel was not how to suddenly
change clinical paradigms, but how to ensure that patients
in Canada’s healthcare systems will be able to benefit
from these fast-breaking changes in the near future and
medium-term as they become ever more pervasive.
Panelists received a snapshot of that future at a round-table
with leading clinicians and scientists. For example, at the
London Health Sciences Centre’s Personalized Medicine
Clinic in Ontario, patients benefit from clinicians who can
provide on-site pharmacogenetic expertise, tailoring drug
treatments according to a patient’s genetic makeup. In
speaking with the Panel, Dr. Richard Kim, director of the
clinic, outlined the story of the 35-year-old man with
Crohn’s disease and mild renal impairment. Under standard
treatment approaches, the patient would have received a
medication dosage leading in many instances to adverse
outcomes, such as severe bone marrow suppression, sepsis
and death. However, because the man underwent
genotyping, he was given a dramatically lower dosage and
experienced no related adverse effects.
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This case illustrates the potential consequences of imprecise
prescribing. At best, when drugs are not a good fit for the
patient they are wasteful and expensive and may require the
use of second or third drugs to treat the side-effects from the
first drug. At worst, adverse drug reactions can lead to poorer
quality of life, heavier healthcare utilization, or even increased
risk of death. Seniors in particular are disproportionately
affected by adverse drug reactions, and are also more likely to
take multiple medications. Estimates suggest that
pharmacogenomics testing could be relevant for 15 to 25
percent of all clinical decisions about existing prescription
drugs.192 As new, more targeted drugs become available,
genotyping and other biomarker information will become
increasingly important for drug selection.
Emerging evidence is also illuminating the linkages
between imprecise prescribing, mental health issues, and
economic impacts – both direct and indirect. For example,
in a study of patients with depression and anxiety, patients
who were on antidepressants or antipsychotics but who
were later found to be poor metabolizers of these drugs
took more sick leave from work, made more disability
insurance claims, and used more medical care. On average
this cost an additional $5000+ in direct care costs per
patient over those whose medication was a better
metabolic match.193
Dr. James Kennedy, Head of the Psychiatric Neurogenetics
Section of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in
Toronto, shared additional insights with the Panel.
Kennedy’s team has already found that a substantial
minority of patients are either very fast or very slow
metabolizers of many powerful drugs used routinely in
psychiatry. They estimate that literally thousands of people
with depression alone would benefit from having this
information to guide their choice of drug and dosing.
Kennedy is now moving forward with a randomized trial
to test these strategies in practice. Even slight improvements
in medication management and adherence could improve
the lives of many individuals with severe mental illness,194,195
while saving very large costs in emergency department
visits and hospitalizations.
In the same session, panelists were apprised of new ways
of diagnosing and treating cancer, genetically-conditioned
differences in responses to a heart drug that caused a
completely wrong-headed interpretation of a major
randomized trial, and ground-breaking research in the
application of genomics to understanding nervous system
diseases such as autism and spinal muscular atrophy.
These impressive advances, and additional information
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gathered by the Panel, affirmed the standing of Canadian
research and researchers in this field. The Panel would
be remiss, therefore, not to applaud the investments in
applied genomics and precision medicine research that
have been made by CIHR, Genome Canada, many other
national foundations and grant-making bodies, provincial
research agencies and ministries, private industry and
other supporters.
Despite these advances, the Panel also heard warnings
from clinicians, researchers, and healthcare stakeholders
that Canada may squander its research investments without
a more strategic approach. What is missing, in particular,
is a wider-angle strategy to ensure that, from the standpoint
of application and innovation, Canada is competitively
positioned. In this work, not only is CIHR a potentially
valuable partner, but CIHR’s SPOR initiative, described
earlier, represents a network that would be a useful
launching pad for implementation of any strategy.
The appeal of working with CIHR rests on the fact that,
in this field more than others in healthcare, the lines
between research, development, clinical application, and
innovation are blurred. Bio-banks feed databanks and
vice versa. Instead of random associations, big data
analytics drive out results with a biological rationale that
can easily be tested. Translation into clinical studies ensues
at a much faster pace than has previously been possible.
This rapid cycle creates enormous potential for discoveries
that can be commercialized, but in an era of intense
competition, other jurisdictions are unlikely to buy
Canadian biotechnology if the product cannot achieve
domestic market entry.
The Panel accordingly sought out examples of jurisdictions
taking steps to turn the healthcare system itself into a
living laboratory for precision medicine. Two came quickly
into view.
•
•
Genomics England, a subsidiary of England’s National
Health Service (NHS), recently announced the 100,000
Genomes Project, which aims to sequence the genomes
of NHS patients with rare diseases or cancer and their
families. This genomic information will be linked to
clinical data, providing a wealth of information to
enable the provision of genomic medicine at the
bedside and to promote new medical and scientific
discovery.196,197
The National Health and Medical Health Research
Council, Australia’s granting council for health
research, recently launched an AU$25 million grant
competition to fund research on “Preparing Australia
for the Genomics Revolution in Health Care.” As one
of the largest single grants in the Council’s history,
the funding will support a multi-disciplinary, crossnational research team that will explore how medicine
can improve precision for disease prevention,
diagnosis, and treatment; analyze the economic and
policy impacts genomic data will have on the
healthcare delivery system; and develop intelligence
on how genomics can be applied in real world
healthcare settings. 196,198
The US, too, has entered the fray. In his 2015 State of the
Union address, President Obama announced the Precision
Medicine Initiative, starting with US$215 million in the
2016 Budget. 199 In the words of the White House release,
“The potential for precision medicine to improve care
and speed the development of new treatments has
only just begun to be tapped. Translating initial
successes to a larger scale will require a coordinated
and sustained national effort. Through collaborative
public and private efforts, the Precision Medicine
Initiative will leverage advances in genomics, emerging
methods for managing and analyzing large data sets
while protecting privacy, and health information
technology to accelerate biomedical discoveries. The
Initiative will also engage a million or more Americans
to volunteer to contribute their health data to improve
health outcomes, fuel the development of new
treatments, and catalyze a new era of data-based and
more precise medical treatment.” 200
Notably, the funding included a special allocation to the
Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information
Technology, to “support the development of interoperability
standards and requirements that address privacy and enable
secure exchange of data across systems”.200
The Panel was struck by the clarity and foresight of these
announcements. In the case of the US, the investments
are partly enabling, and partly operational around a large
volunteer cohort. In Australia, the investment is enabling
– albeit much more limited in scope than suggested by the
Panel’s synthesis of the challenges and opportunities arising
from this field.
The one Canadian initiative that partly reflects these models
comes from Newfoundland and Labrador. On a visit to St.
John’s, Panel members heard first-hand about Newfoundland’s
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Translational and Personalized Medicine Initiative (TPMI).
TPMI was designed with the goal of using advanced computer
infrastructure, provided by IBM, to integrate electronic health
information (e.g., a patient’s health history, laboratory results,
family genetic history), improvements in clinical practice,
and healthcare research.187 Because a limited number of
Founder Families make up a substantial portion of
Newfoundland’s population, there is an unusual concentration
of rare genetic disorders on the island.201 TPMI’s design turns
that problem into an opportunity. By targeting patients and
families at high risk for certain diseases (e.g., various cancers,
sudden heart attacks due to cardiomyopathy, inherited
deafness, and inflammatory arthritis), it aims to improve care
while reducing healthcare costs and generating novel research
findings. The rest of Canada can and should learn from TPMI
and its work to make Newfoundland a living laboratory for
precision medicine.
The Panel also observed that a project under the auspices
of Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH)
presents a contrast to the ‘islands of genetic discovery’
model pioneered by Iceland and adapted by Newfoundland.
The Matchmaker Exchange is co-led by Dr. Kym Boycott
from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Using
academic pediatric hospitals worldwide as living
laboratories, this initiative enables more efficient
characterization of rare genetic diseases by multi-national
matching of phenotypes and genotypes.
The Panel views these as complementary strategies for
understanding rare diseases. However, experts have
emphasized to the Panel that the challenges are very
different in tackling the most prevalent chronic disorders.
Canada’s relatively small size means that researchers will
instead need to collaborate across provincial, territorial,
and even international boundaries to develop study
populations of sufficient size that will allow characterization
of disorders with extremely complex genetic and
environmental causes.
The GA4GH is focused on fostering those collaborations.
Both Genome Canada and the CIHR are members of this
global alliance, along with member organizations from
thirty other countries. GA4GH’s aims to create a common
framework of harmonized approaches that “enable the
responsible, voluntary, and secure sharing of genomic and
clinical data”. 202 Its secretariat is co-hosted in the US, UK,
and Canada; the Executive Director, Peter Goodhand, is
based at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. By
setting common standards, the hope is that large amounts
of data can be aggregated and analyzed across international
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jurisdictions, opening the door for the discovery of patterns
and insights about health and disease that would otherwise
remain obscure.
What does the Panel conclude from this high-altitude
survey?
First, without a cogent strategy, without the right
infrastructure – both biobanks and databanks, without
mechanisms to translate successful discoveries into both
improved clinical care and exciting new businesses,
Canada runs a risk of wasting opportunity and money
– and falling even further behind our peers.
Second, the data storage and handling demands of precision
medicine may well exceed those anticipated in current plans
for institutional and jurisdictional information technology. Day
to day clinical applications at a given clinical site may require
less‘crunching power,’but data-driven innovation and formal
research studies will require major analytical capacity. The
situation is more complex given Canada’s under-developed
healthcare info-structure, and the fact that the lines are blurred,
as noted above, between data-driven innovation in precision
medicine and its clinical applications. Furthermore, neither
the Canada Foundation for Innovation nor CIHR have been
entirely clear about what they will fund in the realm of Big
Data infrastructure and related operational requirements for
health research and healthcare delivery. The Panel believes a
roadmap must be drawn to determine the respective
responsibilities and contributions of the various federal agencies
(Canada Foundation for Innovation, CIHR, Genome Canada,
Infoway, and CIHI) as well as the provinces and territories that
have primary responsibility for healthcare operations.
Third, the Panel believes that, in responding to the
emergence of precision medicine, Canada must be guided
by several objectives:
1. Developing mechanisms to adopt, scale up, and
contribute new clinical insights from across the global
field of precision medicine;
2. Securing a global leadership position in selected fields
of research relevant to precision medicine – a goal
where CIHR is obviously the primary agency;
3. Establishing a global leadership position in the
systematic uptake and iterative improvement of these
methodologies as applied to clinical care in healthcare
systems across Canada;
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REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
4. Ensuring that national and international collaboration
is maximized, and that data are shared widely with
due regard for privacy and security;
5. Fostering the development of the Canadian talent pool
not only in the relevant biological and clinical fields,
but in data analytics and software development; and
6. Promoting the commercialization of made-in-Canada
precision medicine concepts.
In sum, the rapid rise of precision medicine offers both an
opportunity and a challenge for Canada. Our response
will help define the trajectory of our healthcare systems
for the next generation and beyond. The Panel views action
on this front as an extremely high priority.
“Canada is a little bit too blue sky and open air
around genetics and the use of personal
genetic testing… quite frankly, no one knows
who is protected, what is what.”
Participant at Industry/Government Roundtable
As of June 2015, Canada has no specific protections in
place to prevent genetic discrimination. However, there
is growing awareness that Canada needs ethical, legal and
social parameters to guide the collection and use of this
information. The Panel addresses this issue in a
recommendation below.
Open Data
Preventing Genetic
Discrimination
Although genetic information has the potential to be a
powerful tool for health, this information could also be
used to discriminate against individuals. For example,
insurers, financial lenders, or employers may be more
negatively inclined towards individuals who are known to
be genetically at risk of developing a serious illness or
chronic condition. The Panel has heard anecdotally that
there are patients in Canada who have been counselled
by their physicians not to undergo voluntary genetic testing,
given the lack of legal or policy safeguards to protect them
and their families from discrimination by third parties.
Related reports have come to the attention of the Canadian
media, as well as the Standing Senate Committee on
Human Rights.203,204
Recognizing these risks, other countries have enacted
legislation or other policies to protect their residents from
discrimination on the basis of genetic makeup. For example,
in France, the law stipulates that genetic tests may only
be taken for valid medical or scientific reasons, and there
are penalties for misuse.205 In the UK, insurers and
employers are responsible for handling genetic information
according to existing laws governing the use of personal
information, and British insurers have voluntarily adopted
a policy to not ask or pressure individuals to undergo
genetic testing in order to obtain insurance, with some
exceptions.205 The US enacted the Genetic Information
Non-discrimination Act (GINA), legislation that limits the
ways that employers and insurers may use genetic
information to protect individuals from discrimination.
The Open Data movement has gained momentum worldwide even as anxieties about privacy and data security
have grown. Institutions, enterprises, and jurisdictions
alike are struggling to find the right balance – not an easy
matter if health-related data are involved.
Earlier, the Panel emphasized that general privacy concerns
must not be invoked to justify denying patients access to
their own health records, or to excuse foot-dragging on
the development and implementation of EHRs. The
question here, however, is different. Assuming that the
data have been anonymized – i.e., stripped of identifiers
– who should have access to what data sets and on what
terms?
The question arises because researchers, software
application developers, journalists, and a range of other
users are keenly interested in these data sets.
The case for making reliable analyses on health system
performance widely available to the public is wellestablished. Some provinces are well along this road, and
CIHI has created online tools that allow website visitors
to examine and compare the performance of healthcare
providers on multiple levels. The Panel observes, however,
that the CIHI analyses could be more accessible, more
informative and more widely publicized. In any case,
sharing pre-digested data through an interface is not the
same as sharing unprocessed data.
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“Somehow, the governance of Canada’s wealth
of data needs to be reformed so that data
custodians become ‘data stewards’ – they are
mandated (and provided adequate resources)
not only to protect confidentiality, but also to
facilitate bona fide research.”
Stakeholder Submission
80
While there is much to be done, the Panel sees that most
of the foundations have been laid and the necessary raw
materials are at hand. Enormous progress can now be
made in short order with the right strategies, serious
investments, political will, and a resolute commitment to
inter-jurisdictional collaboration.
Recommendations to the
Federal Government
On that latter score, some data custodians, including CIHI,
have a good record of making anonymized raw data
available to a wide range of interested parties for their own
use. Others do not. A comprehensive review of access to
health data for research was recently undertaken by the
Council of Canadian Academies. A key finding of this
review is that inter-provincial barriers to data-sharing may
be impeding the work of academic health researchers and
the aims of national data platforms with strong relevance
to health and healthcare (e.g. the Canadian Longitudinal
Study on Aging).206 In the Panel’s view, Canada as a
federation cannot have it both ways. We cannot trumpet
the virtues of decentralization as a vehicle for ‘natural
experiments’ in public policy, and then refuse to share
appropriately anonymized data so as to permit independent
assessments of the results of those experiments. A
recommendation on data-sharing follows below.
7.1 Through
the
Healthcare
Innovation Fund and new Agency,
develop and initiate a national Strategy
for Implementation of Precision
Medicine, in concert with provinces,
territories, healthcare and health
research agencies, and a range of
relevant stakeholders and experts.
•
This field is characterized by a blurring of the lines between
applied research, innovation, and implementation at scale.
The Strategy should seek to leverage Canada’s diverse
populations and single-payer healthcare systems as a
competitive advantage.
The Panel is reluctant to add a lengthy coda to what is
already a long chapter, and will recapitulate only a few
points. After what has been written above, it may be
superfluous to observe that Canada has not made optimal
use of information and communications technology in the
nation’s healthcare systems. Acceleration of the adoption
and meaningful use of EHRs remains a necessary
precondition. The rapid development of precision medicine
and the related data handling challenges and opportunities
add to the urgency of the situation. The goals, obviously,
should be improved collection of data, and effective
transformation of those data into usable intelligence for
patients, providers, administrators and policymakers.
Opening up anonymized data sets to a wide variety of
stakeholders is consistent with the principle of data-driven
innovation that will be essential if Canada’s healthcare
systems are to thrive in the era of applied genomics and
precision medicine.
•
The Strategy should include development of a roadmap
of steps needed to ensure that Canada’s health
information and communications technology can
support data-intensive models of care and the rapidcycle innovations that characterize this field.
•
The Strategy should focus on:
|
οο Developing and implementing mechanisms to
adopt, scale up, and contribute new clinical insights
from across the global field of precision medicine;
οο Establishing a global leadership position in the
systematic uptake and iterative improvement of
Precision Medicine methods as applied to clinical
care across Canada;
οο Ensuring that national and international
collaboration is maximized, and that data are
shared widely with due regard for privacy and
security;
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REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
οο Fostering the development of the Canadian talent
pool not only in the relevant biological and clinical
fields, but in data analytics and software
development; and
οο Promoting the commercialization of made-inCanada precision medicine concepts and tools.
7.4 With support from the Healthcare
Innovation Fund, and building on
current efforts by organizations such
as CIHI, provide greater transparency
about healthcare in Canada, by:
7.2. Through
the
Healthcare
Innovation Fund, and in partnership
with federal and provincial research
and innovation agencies, accelerate
the implementation of the abovenoted Strategy by assessing and
scaling up models of care in the field
of Precision Medicine.
•
enabling more accessible and user-friendly information
on areas including patient satisfaction, quality, safety,
efficiency, effectiveness and health outcomes
•
leading “open data” efforts, by making data available
to a wide range of stakeholders, including the public,
to enable development of new tools and approaches
•
developing partnerships to build the capacity of health
system stakeholders to use data for health system
improvement
•
•
exploring mechanisms to gather and share data about
activity in healthcare’s private sector – corresponding
to the 30 percent of spending that is not supported by
public funds.
Potential starting points with wide impact include
pharmacogenomics in diverse clinical fields, and
precision/personalized cancer care.
οο A major commitment of funds will be needed to
launch the broad Strategy across Canada as well
as to effect clinical scaling-up in select fields.
7.3 Convene a federal, provincial
and territorial dialogue on a panCanadian framework that will protect
Canadians while putting put Canada at
the forefront of applied genomics and
precision medicine, including:
•
•
Regulatory and legislative amendments to prohibit
genetic discrimination, such as changes to the Canadian
Human Rights Act, the Criminal Code, the Personal
Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act,
and the federal Privacy Act.
Policies to enable broad sharing of appropriately
anonymized data across and within jurisdictions.
7.5 Through Infoway initially and
then through the Healthcare Innovation
Agency of Canada, accelerate the
deployment of interoperable electronic
health records across points of care,
including efforts to assist providers
and payers in meaningful use and
prioritizing the creation of online
portals where patients have mobile
access to their own records.
•
Ensure future investments in health information
technologies are standardized, interoperable, linked
across multiple sites, and available to third parties for
assessment of performance.
οο This is critical not only for rapid innovation in the
field of precision medicine, but for enhancing
applied health research and data-driven innovation
in Canada’s healthcare delivery systems.
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UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
7.6 Through the Canadian Institute for
Health Information, and in partnership
with the First Nations Quality Council,
address the significant data gaps that
exist in the area of First Nations health,
providing a fuller picture, of First
Nations health status, as well as access
to care, and quality of services.
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Chapter 8
Improving Value in
Healthcare
“Many of the business models healthcare
has been using for half a century that
reward high volume care — how much you
do rather than how well you do — will
have to be modified. This is one major
challenge in adopting healthcare reform. To
deliver patient-centered care, to realize that
often doing less rather than more may be
better for the patient, the infrastructure of
healthcare and the practice culture will both
need to change. We can do it, but it will be a
difficult transition.”207
Don Berwick
UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
Improving Value in Healthcare
Recently, there has been no shortage of dire prognostications
about the future financial sustainability of Canada’s
healthcare system. David A. Dodge and Richard Dion
estimate that between now and 2031, health spending as
a share of gross domestic product (GDP) could increase
from current levels to anywhere from approximately 15
to 19 percent.208 The Parliamentary Budget Officer
estimates that publicly-funded healthcare costs could
increase from 7.4 percent currently to over 13 percent of
GDP in 2087.209 Projections such as these do spark debate
about how much society should spend on healthcare
relative to other social and economic priorities (i.e.,
education, social programs, etc.). But the numbers also
make assumptions about demographic, social and
economic drivers that are unlikely to hold.
For now, instead of spinning further out of control,
healthcare spending growth has moderated dramatically.
Real per capita spending on healthcare has actually
decreased by 1.2 percent from 2011 to 2014,5 something
that has not been seen since the mid-1990s. This
phenomenon is not unique to Canada. Almost everywhere
in the industrialized world, governments are capping or
reducing healthcare spending growth in an unprecedented
push to address growing debts and deficits.5
On the other hand, Canadian experience during the 1990s
provides a cautionary tale. Faced with a deep recession
and high indebtedness, governments took measures to
reduce the growth in health spending, including cutting
medical school enrolments, capping medical fees and
imposing utilization controls, closing hospital beds,
freezing hospital budgets and delisting services. While
this helped to reduce the growth in health spending to
about one percent in real per capita terms over a four
year period, public concerns about access started to build.5
When economic growth picked up again, governments
were forced to open up the spending tap once more.
Hectic spending escalation resumed.
Fortunately, jurisdictional efforts are now underway to
tackle spending pressures and change the health
spending trajectory in a sustainable way. The strategies
and investments outlined thus far in this report are
designed to support and accelerate those efforts. This
chapter adds to the Panel’s recommendations by
focusing specifically on value-for-money in Canadian
healthcare.
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Measuring Value: the
Cornerstone of a HighPerforming System
It is difficult to imagine running a business without
understanding production costs or the value of products
to consumers. Yet in Canadian healthcare, this has been
the historical reality. In the past, medical fees were – and
still are – negotiated by governments and physician
organizations with limited consideration of the measurable
value of different services to patients.210 Hospital budgets
were based on historical spending.158 Drugs and medical
devices that meet regulatory safety requirements would
spill into the market and be diffused with uneven evidence
of their cost-effectiveness in different groups of patients
who receive them – a situation that has changed only
slightly.211 Expensive technology solutions were routinely
adopted without a proper assessment as to their value –
again, only somewhat improved today. And little if any
information was collected on what patients think about
their experience with the healthcare system – somewhat
better now, but a far cry from what one encounters dealing
with many private businesses.
Adding Value to Value: Porter’s
Contribution
The term “value” has been popularized by competition
guru Michael Porter as “the health outcomes achieved
per dollar spent”. Health economists have long used
such constructs in different forms of cost-effectiveness
analysis. Likewise, long before Porter, countless
academic papers rigorously explored the place of
process and outcome assessments in healthcare quality
assurance. While some academics may take a dim view
of Porter’s failure to acknowledge his debts to pioneers
in these fields, there is a lesson here: Academic papers
are like pilot projects - and Porter’s accessible
elaboration and scaling-up of these ideas has greatly
amplified their impact.
Porter, M. What is Value in Health Care. The New England Journal of Medicine.
2010 Dec; 363:2477-2481. Available from: http://www.nejm.org/doi/
full/10.1056/NEJMp1011024
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
In contrast, during its visit to Washington DC the Panel
was impressed by the intensity of data collection and
reporting activity in the US healthcare system. This is
partly attributable to a multi-payer system that requires
detailed costing information to support billing for the full
continuum of health services, and a competitive
environment where performance on quality and patient
satisfaction both have an impact on the bottom line. From
the development of Diagnostic Related Groups used for
hospital reimbursement, to the resource-based relative
value scale used to adjust physician fees, to pioneering
health technology assessment, the US has been at the
leading edge of innovation in the evaluation of healthcare
services and products. As outlined in earlier chapters, this
expertise has led to the development of a new array of
funding and delivery models – medical homes, bundled
payments, and accountable care organizations – that could
very well revolutionize US healthcare.
For its part Canada has also been a leader in methodologies
and frameworks for measuring value in healthcare. Starting
in the early 1970s, Canadian researchers at McMaster
University played a key role in the conceptualization of
quality-adjusted life years, as well as in the development
and application of methods to measure health outcomes,
and the cost-effectiveness of health interventions (i.e.,
drugs, treatments, etc.).212 However, until recently, given
Canada’s reliance on fee-for-service payment for medical
care and global budgets for hospital services, there has
been little incentive to further develop methodologies that
would support value-based payment strategies.158
Governments in Canada are now beginning to move away
from global funding for hospital budgets and towards
activity-based and patient-based funding models.158 Unlike
global funding, activity-based funding approaches strive
to encourage greater efficiency by providing funding to
hospitals based on the number and type of activities
performed, and classifying activities using diagnosis-related
groups to develop reimbursement levels and prices.
Ontario, Alberta, and BC have all had some success in
implementing activity-based and performance-based
funding models in an effort to improve hospital funding
transparency and create better incentives for high-quality,
efficient care.158
Ontario, for example, is shifting from global budgets to
funding based on the number of patients treated, services
delivered, quality of services and specific needs of
population.213 The Health Based Allocation Model estimates
funding at the organizational level for expected healthcare
expenses based on a number of factors including:
demographics, age, gender, growth projections, socioeconomic status/ geography, clinical data and complexity
of care. Quality Based Procedures (QBP) allocate funding
to specific procedures based on a “price X volume”
approach. To date, QPB has been rolled out for 10 different
procedures including hip replacement, cataract surgery
and stroke. By 2015-16, 70 percent of the provincial funding
envelope provided to hospitals is expected to be allocated
via these two measures.213
“To ensure innovations are ultimately
incorporated into practice, healthcare
providers need to be reimbursed based on
performance rather than volume. The current
pay system hinders efficiency, and therefore
innovation: if new programs decrease patient
volumes, and therefore funding, healthcare
professionals and organizations are
disinclined to adopt them.”
Stakeholder Submission
Investments in case-mix costing methodologies by the
Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) are
supporting these payment reforms.214 Per recommendation
6.2, the Panel encourages CIHI to extend these efforts
and pave the way for bundled payment models by
developing methods to measure multi-sectoral costs of
episodes of care.158
While hospital funding is becoming more sophisticated,
the same cannot be said of the valuation of medical services.
Physician fee schedules contain hundreds of figures on
the unit price of individual services. The absolute and
relative value of these services is rooted in the social history
of medicine, changes in healthcare technology, and interspecialty politics. So-called “relativity adjustments” do
get made. For example, there have been adjustments
recently to fees for services such as cataract surgery where
technological change has dramatically reduced the time
required for an operation. 215 But while most medical
associations have tried to manage the fairness challenges
implicit in relativity, the logic model for fees and total
compensation remains opaque. In particular, there are
substantial differences in compensation across family
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practice, and cognitive and procedural specialties that defy
explanation.216 As well, some types of services, such as
consultations by phone, email, or web-enabled video are
simply not considered as billable services despite evidence
in other jurisdictions that virtual visits lead to reduced
costs and improved patient experience. 113 This acts as a
huge disincentive for the development and uptake of new
approaches to care.
With support from the proposed Healthcare Innovation
Fund and new Agency, jurisdictions could collaborate with
medical associations in developing a set of evidence-based
benchmarks for a set of key medical services, and, in the
interests of transparency, make this information public
along with comparative analyses of medical fee schedules.
Such work would obviously complement the broader review
of scopes of practice in relation to professional compensation,
recommended in Chapter 6.
Moving Away from Fee-forService: a Long Goodbye
From the initial exploration of health insurance proposals
in the 1920s, to the adoption of universal hospital and
medical insurance in the 1950s and 1960s, to the adoption
of the Canada Health Act in 1984217, national and provincial
physician associations have been at the centre of debates
about how to fund and deliver healthcare. Core principles
of professionalism – the primacy of the patient-physician
relationship and importance of preserving clinical autonomy
– were routinely turned into political positions, and used
to justify the maintenance of fee-for-service payment
models and protection of independent private practice.218
These arrangements remain largely intact 50 years later.
The adoption of fee-for-service as a primary method of
payment for physician services under Medicare was the
least disruptive way for governments to transition physicians
from private health insurance plans to universal, publiclyfunded medical plans. Physicians gradually warmed to
the advantages of working in a system that provided them
with a guaranteed income while preserving their clinical
autonomy and small business ethos. As medical services
insurance was established province by province, and then
continued in operation nationally, organized medicine
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shifted its energy to collective bargaining. The new battle
fronts were levels of fees, obtaining coverage for costs of
practice such as malpractice insurance, and preservation
of “extra-billing” – i.e. doctors’ latitude to charge more
than the negotiated insurance rate.
As explained in Chapters 2 and 6, most high-performing
health systems have moved away from stand-alone feefor-service as a dominant payment model for physician
services. Even in the US, the global bastion of fee-forservice private medicine, the Obama administration has
set goals and a timeline to shift physician payment under
Medicare from traditional fee-for-service to alternative
payment models that are tied to quality or value.219 The
goal is to tie 30 percent of fee-for-service Medicare
payments to quality or value through alternative payment
models such as accountable care organizations and bundled
payment by the end of 2016, and 50 percent of payments
to these models by the end of 2018.219
Canadian jurisdictions have also been moving in this
direction. As shown in figure 8.1, close to 30 percent of
physician clinical payments in 2012-13 were made through
alternate payment plans, up from 10 percent in 1999-2000.
This includes a range of models such as block funding for
specialty groups in academic health sciences centres,
blended fee-for-service and salary funding for specialists,
on-call stipends, capitation in primary care settings,
contracts, sessional remuneration, and salary.
The Panel welcomes this trend, but observes that movement
is slow. Some of these payments, moreover, are simply
add-ons to core fee-for-service compensation, while others
are capitation payments to family physicians with uneven
yields as discussed earlier. The Panel reiterates the position
taken in Chapter 6. In an ideal world, provinces and
territories would set timelines and targets to greatly reduce
the prevalence of physician payment models solely based
on fee-for-service, and align incentives around measurable
quality parameters with risk-sharing. For now, the federal
agency and Fund introduced in Chapter 4 should foster
the development of integrated funding models that are
cost-effective and promote quality and continuity of care.
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
Percentage of Total Clinical Payments
Figure 8.1 Fee-for-Service vs. Alternative Payment
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
1999–
2000
2000–
2001
2001–
2002
Fee-for-Service
2002–
2003
2003–
2004
2004–
2005
2005–
2006
2006–
2007
2007–
2008
2008–
2009
2009–
2010
2010–
2011
2011–
2012
2012–
2013
Alternative
© Canadian Institute for Health Information, 2014
Source: Adapted from: Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). Approaches for Calculating Average Clinical Payments per Physician Using Detailed Alternative Payment Data. Ottawa:
CIHI; 2015 March 12. Available from: https://secure.cihi.ca/free_products/PhysicianMetrics-mar2014_EN.pdf. P.12
Pressing “Reset” on Labour
Relations and Health Human
Resources (HHR) Regulation
The collective bargaining process employed in Canada
to determine physician fees and practice conditions has
been described as a significant barrier to system change.220
High-stakes discussions take place behind closed doors
with little or no public transparency. Governments and
medical associations both claim to speak for the public
good and to have the best interests of patients at heart.
A deal is struck that sets in motion a range of incremental
changes to fee schedules and practice models. If fiscal
conditions are tight as they have recently been,
governments may be able to extract concessions or even
impose a deal that is unpopular with the profession.210
But chances are that nothing fundamental will change
in the way the system is organized. Regional health
authorities and institutions are then left with the
unenviable task of integrating the physician workforce
into the daily operations of a health system with minimal
ability to realign incentives to the advantage of patients,
physicians, and the institution or region.
The Panel is convinced that a new model is urgently needed.
Governments will need a steady hand to set out the overall
funding envelope for medical services and articulate goals
and expectations for patient care. What the Panel envisages
is an open process, not a closed-door negotiation with
organized medicine. The goal should be the creation of
an environment of trust whereby senior public officials,
healthcare administrators, and physicians function as
partners, not adversaries, in the management of local health
services, to the benefit of the patient an
taxpayer. The Panel emphasizes here that it is not referring
to jurisdiction-wide co-management by physicians – a
model that has been tried, without much success, in
Canada. Rather, as discussed in Chapter 6, the concept is
to create local partnerships. As already outlined, the Kaiser
Permanente model in the US is a superb example of
successful physician leadership at the local level, resulting
in a world-renowned non-profit healthcare system.221
More generally, there is significant inefficiency and
duplication in the regulation of the healthcare workforce
in Canada. Entry-to-practice credentials and licensure
requirements differ across jurisdictions, impeding labour
mobility and the efficient deployment of health human
resources. Professional guilds often seek to increase study
requirements for their profession, creating a domino effect
in disciplines and jurisdictions.220 Negotiations with unions
create competition across jurisdictions to attract scarce
health human resources and create additional financial
pressure on a system that is already under fiscal duress.
Chapter 6 has already made the case for more enlightened
regulations that will support shared care.
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“The same budget source would encourage the
right provider, providing the right care for
Canadians at the right time. In the current system
where physicians are paid from a different budget
source (medical service branch or equivalent) and
all other providers paid from the region health
authority (or equivalent) only encourages
offloading of care. The cash strapped health
authority would rather contract the services of a
physician that they do not have to pay for out of
their own budget rather than develop Nurse
Practitioners or Clinical Nurse Specialists who
could do the same role for fewer tax payer
dollars.”
Stakeholder Submission
Fortunately, there has been increased collaboration across
jurisdictions on health human resources strategies in recent
years. The Council of the Federation has identified the
need to share evidence and leading practices across
jurisdictions, recognize the inter-dependence of policies
from one jurisdiction to another, and integrate planning
activities.222 Complementary federal investments have
been made to support the development of provincial and
territorial health human resources strategies and facilitate
the integration of internationally educated healthcare
professionals.223 The new Agency and Fund would
unquestionably facilitate and accelerate progress in these
positive directions.
A Digression on “Pharmacare”
Prescription drugs are an essential part of modern
healthcare systems. Without them, many diseases and
conditions would be untreatable or would require more
invasive interventions, and the quality of life of patients
suffering from debilitating chronic diseases would be
significantly worse. In the vast majority of industrialized
countries, universal coverage for prescription drugs is the
norm.224 In Canada, however, universal drug coverage is
limited to prescription drugs provided in hospitals. Drug
coverage is otherwise provided through a patchwork of
public and private drug plans.
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There is a long history of proposals and failed attempts to
introduce universal drug coverage in Canada dating back
50 years, when the 1964 Hall Commission recommended
50/50 cost sharing between the federal and provincial
governments to create a national prescription drug program
with a co-payment of $1 per prescription. 225 Three decades
later, the National Forum on Health recommended first
dollar coverage for prescription drugs in 1997, and in 2002,
the Romanow Commission and the Kirby Senate Committee
called on the federal government to jointly fund improved
coverage for catastrophic drug costs with provinces and
territories.226
What happened as a result of all these recommendations?
Very little nationally, as it turns out: federal commitments
were made in the 1997 Speech from the Throne to develop
a national plan to improve access to medically necessary
drugs. In the health accords of 2000, 2003 and 2004,
governments acknowledged the need to improve coverage
for prescription drugs, including a nine-point National
Pharmaceuticals Strategy under the 2004 Accord that costed
but did not implement, a national approach to catastrophic
drug coverage.227
Fortunately, provinces and territories did not wait for a
national consensus before moving forward with initiatives
to broaden coverage for prescription drugs. Starting in
the 1970s, most jurisdictions created public drug programs
to provide free or subsidized prescription drug coverage
for seniors and low-income Canadians.227
In 1997, Quebec mandated universal prescription coverage
for its residents through a combination of private health
insurance plans and a public program for those ineligible
for private coverage. The Quebec Public Prescription Drug
Insurance Plan, administered by the Régie de l’assurance
maladie du Québec (RAMQ) covers all Quebecers who are
not eligible for a private plan. All provincial residents must
have some type of drug insurance coverage, regardless of
age or income. Those who are not covered through group
insurance or an employee benefit plan are automatically
covered by the RAMQ’s public drug insurance plan.228
Recently, New Brunswick introduced a mandate for
universal prescription drug coverage similar to the Quebec
model, albeit with very modest publicly funded coverage.229
At present, no other Canadian province has universal
coverage. Canada also has the lowest proportion of its
population covered by a public drug plan of all comparator
countries, except the US. 230
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
Cost is a key reason why Canadian jurisdictions have balked
at the idea of expanding public coverage for prescription
drugs. Spending on drugs has grown sharply over the past
40 years, almost doubling as a share of total health
expenditures from 8.8 to 15.8 percent.5 Drugs are now the
second largest area of healthcare spending after hospitals,
closely followed by physician services. In 2014, spending
on prescription drugs in Canada is estimated to have
reached more than $33.9 billion.231 Public drug plans
accounted for approximately 42 percent or $12 billion,
private drug plans accounted for 35 percent or $10 billion,
and out-of-pocket spending by Canadian households
represented 23 percent or $7 billion.5 Expanding public
coverage would require governments to absorb a significant
portion of current private spending on drugs, and to increase
taxes or levy premiums to make up the difference. And
until very recently, drug costs have been the fastest growing
category of health expenditures, increasing by an average
of approximately 10 percent annually from 1997 to 2008.5
In sum, the Panel strongly supports the principle that all
Canadians should have access to medically necessary
drugs without financial barriers. The Panel takes no
position on whether this should be a single-payer or
multi-payer plan involving both private and public health
insurers. However, while such strategies are debated and
designed, the Panel believes that it is vital to improve
Canada’s management of drug costs, including purchasing
and negotiating strategies as set out below. In the shortterm, recognizing that financial barriers are currently
impeding access by many Canadians to needed drugs, the
Panel is recommending in Chapter 10 measures to assist
individual Canadians without drug coverage, specifically
changes to the Income Tax Act to help Canadians cover
out-of-pocket costs.
Some experts have recently called for yet another push for
national pharmacare, arguing that moving to a national
program of universal coverage with a national formulary
and collective purchasing would result in lower overall
spending on drugs and only a marginal increase in spending
by government.232 In their view, true cost control in this
area can only be achieved through consolidation of buying
power under a national drug plan.
Canada’s performance in managing the cost of drugs has
been poor by international standards. Among OECD
countries, Canada has the second highest level of per capita
spending on drugs next to the US.234 From 2000 to 2011,
drug spending in Canada increased by 160 percent,
compared to 126 percent in the US, 81 percent in France
and 44 percent in the UK.235 Drug prices in Canada are
relatively high when compared to other OECD countries.
The Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB)
reports that of the seven countries included in its reference
basket, only Germany and the US have higher patented
drug prices than Canada.235
The Panel certainly sees merit in a more robust approach
to collective procurement and pricing, but is concerned
that the current structures and incentives may not be
aligned appropriately.xxvii Expanding public coverage of
drugs risks creating yet another silo of spending, and runs
counter to the basic principle of trying to integrate budgets
and align incentives. Indeed, one expert argued
provocatively in a recent speech about the US and Canadian
healthcare systems that “pharmacare without managed
care is nothing else but an open bar for big pharma.”233
The Panel observes in fairness that “big pharma” does not
write prescriptions and that leaders of pharmaceutical and
medical device companies have been advocating risksharing arrangements for their products over the last few
years. Be that as it may, concerns about cost escalation
and lack of budgetary integration strike the Panel as valid.
xxvii O
ther aspects of any single-payer plan will need attention. For example, the
plan proposed by Morgan et al includes user fees or co-payments. If the level
of these charges is too high, then coverage may become less comprehensive
for some portion of the population with private plans. It is also unclear
whether the presumed windfall for employers would simply fall to the bottom
lines of enterprises co-funding existing private coverage or be taxed away.
Making Pharmaceuticals More
Affordable
As shown in figure 8.2, Canada’s performance relative to
these seven countries deteriorated from 2005 to 2013. This
is hard to understand given the regulatory mandate of the
PMPRB and its seven-country reference basket. Canada
has also been lagging other countries with respect to
generic drug prices. Canadian generic drug prices are
approximately 185 percent higher than the Netherlands,
and significantly higher than most countries except for
Switzerland and Austraia.236
The provinces and territories have recognized this problem
and have taken collective action to bring drug prices more
in line with the experience of other countries. The
aforementioned Pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance
(pCPA) has been formed to address outdated policies of
provinces and territories making individual decisions on
the prices of brand and generic drugs. Through pCPA,
provinces and territories may participate in joint
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Figure 8.2: Average Foreign to Canadian Price Ratios: 2005, 2013
2.5
2.07
2
1.83
1.5
1
1.21
1.11
0.99
1.05
0.78
0.72
0.88
0.9
0.79
1.15
0.95
1
1
1.04
2005
United States
Germany
Canada
Switzerland
Sweden
France
United
Kingdom
0
Italy
0.5
2013
Source: Adapted from: Patented Medicine Prices Review Board. Annual Report 2013. Ottawa: Patented Medicine Prices Review Board; 2014 May 30. Available from: http://www.pmprb-cepmb.gc.ca/CMFiles/Publications/Annual%20
Reports/2013/2013-Annual-Report_2013-09-15_EN.pdf. P.24
negotiations with drug companies to leverage their
combined purchasing power with the aim of achieving
lower prices, improving access to drugs, and realizing
greater consistency in coverage. As of December 31, 2014,
these collaborative efforts have realized 49 completed joint
negotiations on brand name drugs and price reductions
on 14 generic drugs, resulting in over $315 million in
savings annually.237 The Panel applauds the significant
progress made by jurisdictions on this front. But it believes
there is potential for further innovation in this area
supported by federal actions.
Pharmaceutical policy is an area where the federal
government has comparatively significant levers and
responsibilities, both as a payer and regulator of
pharmaceuticals. The Government of Canada as a payer
provides drug benefits through separate plans that serve
First Nations and Inuit, Royal Canadian Mounted Police
(RCMP) members, the Canadian Forces, veterans and
federal inmates, for a total of $630 million in drug-related
spending in 2014.5 Ontario, Quebec, BC and Alberta spend
more, but this is a larger annual outlay than is made by
several provinces and all three territories. Given the
significant scope to achieve price reductions through
collective purchasing, the Panel urges the federal
government to coordinate efforts across federal plans and
reaffirm its desire to join the pCPA as soon as possible.
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“We need to find efficiencies. We need to
purchase pharmaceuticals, supplies and
equipment on a national basis, not each
jurisdiction buying these things on their
own. This squanders the leverage we have
as a nation.”
Public Submission
As noted earlier, the federal government regulates the
prices of patented drugs through the Patented Medicine
Prices Review Board (PMPRB). This unique regulatory
mechanism was created in 1987 under the Patent Act to
protect consumers by regulating the price of patented
drugs to ensure they are not excessive. At that time, price
regulation of patented pharmaceuticals was accepted by
the brand name pharmaceutical industry in exchange for
enhanced patent protection stemming from trade
agreements. Pharmaceutical manufacturers also publicly
committed to increase their investment in research and
development activities in Canada to 10 percent of the value
of drug sales, a benchmark they have latterly failed to
reach.238
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
The PMPRB regulates the price of patented drugs by
comparing the price proposed by the manufacturer to the
price of existing drugs on the Canadian market and in up
to seven other countries specified in regulations. To stay
within the definition of “non-excessive,” the price of new
breakthrough drugs cannot exceed the median of a seven
country basket.xxviii New formulations of existing drugs or
new drugs that do not represent a significant additional
therapeutic benefit over existing drugs are benchmarked
against the price of comparable drugs already on the
market. Year-over-year increases in prices are limited to
the consumer price index. When prices are found to be
excessive, the manufacturer can voluntarily lower its prices
and provide compensation to the PMPRB for the excess
revenues it earned. As a quasi-judicial body, the PMPRB
also has the power to levy financial penalties.238
The Panel has mixed views about the PMPRB. The data
presented above clearly show that even with the PMPRB,
Canada’s performance in managing drug prices has been
weak. To make matters worse, commitments by industry
to increase investment in research and development have
not been met.235 As collective purchasing of drugs expands
across public plans, and eventually to private plans, the
PMPRB’s role may be further diminished.
However, as long as Canada does not have universal
coverage of prescription drugs through a network of public
and/or private plans, the PMPRB should continue to serve
as a backstop against high drug prices for consumers who
are not covered by group purchasing arrangements. This
will become increasingly important as new, expensive
“niche” drugs and biologics arrive on the market with the
promise of curing or treating rare diseases. The Panel
therefore recommends that the federal government review
and strengthen the PMPRB, paying particular attention to
the choice of reference countries, and how PMPRB arrives
at a benchmark price, so as to ensure that the Board will
provide more effective consumer protection against high
patented drug prices.
More generally, the Panel observes a disconcerting lack of
transparency in drug pricing. Confidential price listing
agreements between public payers and pharmaceutical
companies are now the norm around the world.239 Collective
purchasing arrangements will consolidate purchasing
power and may lead to lower effective drug prices that
benefit taxpayers. However, even under the pCPA,
negotiated rebates off the official list price of drugs will
xxviii France, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, and the US.
continue to be confidential. Pharmaceutical companies
will continue to price discriminate between countries, and
between payers within the same country. While it may
not be possible to have full transparency in drug pricing
in the current international regulatory and trade
environment, the Panel is strongly of view that drug prices
should be more transparent. The Panel therefore
recommends that the federal government, through the
Healthcare Innovation Agency of Canada, work with public
and private payers, as well as the pharmaceutical industry
and pharmacists, to improve transparency of drug prices
and ensure that prescribers and patients have enough
information to make informed choices, and explore options
for bringing private insurers into the pCPA.
“Canada and the provinces have been
continually under pressures to approve and
fund a myriad of new drugs, diagnostic
imaging, medical devices and surgical
interventions – and these pressures have been
growing inexorably. Many of these demands
for new funding are highly valuable and worth
the investment. But there are also many
innovations which are simply not worthwhile.
In the private sector, there is a constant
weeding that separates really beneficial from
poor quality innovations – whether in mobile
phones or new cars.”
Stakeholder Submission
Towards more Efficient Regulation
of Healthcare Products
Throughout the Panel’s consultations, participants
expressed concerns about the inefficiency and duplication
of regulatory processes governing healthcare products and
services. Innovators are frustrated by a multi-tiered system
for regulatory approval and fragmented purchasing, forcing
them to seek adoption by individual healthcare institutions
and providers. Payers are in a fiscal straightjacket and can
barely keep up with the flow of products in the industry
pipeline, only some of which represent significant value-
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added benefits for the healthcare system. (i.e., breakthrough
therapies, new diagnostics). Patients do not really have a
voice in the process, but they are the ones with the most
at stake when health-enhancing therapies are not available
to them or when scarce public resources are squandered
on products with no health benefit.
Measures to integrate services and create shared budgets,
recommended in Chapter 6, may address some of the
frustrations of innovators industry stakeholders seeking
greater clarity about purchasing decisions. However, to
address the regulatory concerns, the Panel recommends
that federal, provincial and territorial governments embrace
the following directions:
1. Adopt a life-cycle approach to product regulation that
builds on pre-market evaluations and uses information
from real-world use
2. Where possible, harmonize requirements with, and
leverage the capacity of foreign regulators such as the
US Food and Drug Administration and the European
Medicines Agency
3. Develop and use common metrics for evaluation and
avoid duplication of product assessments across
Canadian jurisdictions
4. Streamline regulatory processes to expedite adoption
of value-added innovations
5. Strengthen communication among all players to enable
more effective procurement by the healthcare system
Stakeholders also expressed concerns that Canada is
lagging in its adoption of international regulatory
approaches that facilitate the adoption of incremental
innovations for medical devices, including the “substantial
equivalence” (SE) provision under the US Food and Drug
Administration 510(k).240 This SE process differs from a
pre-market approval process as regulators are only partially
assessing the safety and efficacy of a device based on its
SE to a product already on the market. Consideration is
needed as to a similar approach in Canada, particularly in
light of the fast life-cycle of medical devices.
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“Medical device technologies are a long term
investment, and investors are often hesitant to
fund small and medium-sized medical device
companies because of lengthy regulatory
hurdles and uncertainty of the affordability of
development in Canada. It is for this reason that
leadership is sorely needed from government.”
Stakeholder Submission
The federal government has a well-established role in
regulating the safety and efficacy of drugs. This is a
necessary role, but it is no longer sufficient. The emerging
reality of pharmaceuticals is that decisions about their use
need to be made on a continuing basis, throughout the
product’s lifecycle, and by many different actors. Information
needs to be collected and shared to support this process.
As part of new federal initiatives to strengthen drug safety,
Health Canada is updating its user fees to better allocate
its resources to reflect the growing importance of postmarket work.241 Through regulatory cooperation initiatives
with Australia and initiatives focused on generic drugs,
Health Canada is expanding the use of approvals of other
trusted regulatory authorities to meet the market access
requirements in Canada, particularly for more straightforward
reviews (i.e., generic drug review, low risk small molecule
drugs).242 This should allow Health Canada to focus scarce
resources on more post-market work, complex reviews,
and reviews of more benefit to the healthcare system.
Building on these initiatives, Health Canada should actively
seek to improve dialogue and communication with other
parts of the healthcare system, while making adjustments
to its current policies and processes. Departmental officials
should establish regular bilateral meetings with provincial
and territorial officials responsible for drug plans. Health
Canada should adjust its fee schedule and/or prioritization
of product reviews to privilege drugs that are a priority for
the healthcare system. It should share information with
others, such as informing the Canadian Agency for Drugs
and Technologies in Health (CADTH) and provincial/
territorial officials when a drug is under review. It should
also develop guidance on the interchangeability or similarity
of biologics and subsequent-entry biologics, to advance
Canadian adoption of this class of drugs, and provide drug
plans with greater leverage to negotiate better prices.
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
Furthermore, the federal government should use its role
in approving clinical trials to encourage the pharmaceutical
industry to conduct studies for the benefit of payers, not
just for Health Canada’s market approval. The objective
would be to support organizations like CADTH, the pCPA,
and provincial and territorial drug plans in getting the
studies and information they need, as has been proposed
for the implementation of the orphan drug framework.
This could be done by providing advice to pharmaceutical
manufacturers on trials they ought to perform, or it could
be turned into a regulatory requirement.
Finally, recognizing that there are a variety of organizations
and players in this area, and that an increasing proportion
of drug-related information will be obtained post-market,
the federal government should improve and align the work
of federal or federally-funded agencies, including Health
Canada, CADTH, the PMPRB, CIHI and the Drug Safety
and Effectiveness Network (DSEN).
Fostering Culture Change to
Reduce Waste and Inefficiency
The Panel would be remiss not to highlight two promising
areas of work that seek to change system culture to improve
value in healthcare.
First, several provinces, including Saskatchewan, Manitoba,
BC, Ontario and Quebec, have integrated Lean techniques
in their reform efforts. In its simplest form, Lean is a system
that organizations can use to eliminate waste and meet the
demands of customers through continuous improvements
to processes. Originally popularized in North America
through the Toyota Production System in the manufacturing
sector, Lean is now applied to healthcare, where it has the
potential to reduce wait times and length-of-stay, create
system efficiencies, and improve quality of care.243
Saskatchewan has identified Lean as the foundation for
the province’s quality improvement efforts, and hundreds
of projects are currently underway. For example, clinical
practice redesign is a key component of the Saskatchewan
Surgical Initiative and includes a set of tools and
methodologies designed to improve access to care, improve
office efficiencies and improve communication between
office settings and healthcare providers.187 Within hospitals,
Lean activities have helped to reduce waste in front-line
staff. Lastly, major capital projects have also incorporated
Lean principles in facility design to improve processes.243
As one example of the type of work that might be
supported by an Innovation Fund and the new Agency,
Lean techniques could be scaled up to other regions and
jurisdictions in collaboration with leaders and practitioners
who have already applied them successfully in some
parts of Canada.
Choosing Wisely Canada is a new campaign to help
physicians and patients engage in conversations about
unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures, and to
support smart and effective choices to ensure high-quality
care. The movement, spear-headed by Dr. Wendy Levinson
from the University of Toronto, began in the US and has
now been introduced in Canada with support from the
Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.244
Canadian national specialty societies participating in the
campaign, representing a broad spectrum of physicians,
have been asked to develop lists of “Things Physicians
and Patients Should Question”. These lists identify tests,
treatments or procedures commonly used in each specialty,
but that are not supported by evidence and/or could expose
patients to unnecessary harm. For example, in the area of
primary care, family physicians have proposed the following:
•
Avoid imaging for lower-back pain unless red flags
are present;
•
Do not use antibiotics for upper respiratory infections
that are likely viral in origin, such as influenza-like
illness, or self-limiting, such as sinus infections of less
than seven days of duration;
•
Do not order screening chest X-rays and
electrocardiograms for asymptomatic or low risk
outpatients;
•
Do not screen women with Pap smears if under 21
years of age or over 69 years of age;
•
Do not do annual screening blood tests unless directly
indicated by the risk profile of the patient.245
The Panel salutes this initiative as an innovative physicianled and patient-centred approach that has the potential
to shift healthcare away from a culture of consumption to
a focus on appropriateness and quality of care. The Panel
encourages governments to support the implementation
of this initiative in all jurisdictions and to carefully evaluate
its impact.
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Recommendations to the
Federal Government
8.1
Coordinate
and
integrate
existing federal drug plans and reaffirm
federal desire to join the Council
of the Federation’s pan-Canadian
Pharmaceutical Alliance.
8.2 Through Health Canada, expand
the Government of Canada’s approach
to regulating drugs beyond drug safety
to better support system decisionmaking on the cost- effectiveness of
drugs.
•
Consider therapeutic benefits in addition to safety
benefits in its approval process;
•
Require drug manufacturers to conduct comparative
effectiveness studies;
•
Adjust cost recovery for drug approvals to privilege
high impact and value drugs over “me too” drugs;
and,
•
Provide advice to system decision-makers on the
interchangeability or similarity of biologics and
subsequent entry biologics.
8.3
Through
Health
Canada,
accelerate work on transparency in
its regulatory processes. This should
include providing advance notice as to
which products it has under review to
permit decision-makers to plan their
budgets accordingly.
It also must
include making public all data on the
safety and effectiveness of drugs and
devices.
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8.4 Review the Patented Medicines
Pricing Review Board to assess its
relevance and strengthen its role
in protecting consumers against
high drug prices in an era of
enhanced collective procurement and
coordinated national pricing.
8.5 Through the new Healthcare
Innovation
Agency
of
Canada,
with federal investments from the
Healthcare Innovation Fund:
•
Offer to serve as the secretariat for a pan-Canadian
Drug Purchasing Alliance.
•
Pursue support for the implementation of the Choosing
Wisely Canada initiative in all jurisdictions and carefully
evaluate its impact.
•
Work with public and private payers, as well as the
pharmaceutical industry and pharmacists, to explore
options to that would improve transparency about
drug prices, and ensure that prescribers and patients
have enough information to make informed choices.
•
Collaborate with provincial, territorial, and private
drug plans on strategies to extend the reach of collective
purchasing strategies to all Canadians including the
potential for bringing private insurers into the pCPA.
8.6 Re-orient the Canadian Agency
for Drugs and Technologies in Health
(CADTH) to better support innovation
by providing real-time advice to
decision-makers on drugs and medical
devices, and support CADTH to:
•
Build up its expertise and increase its turnover related
to its decisions on technologies to reflect their rapid
life-cycle, including partnering with provincial
initiatives that seek to align the pre-market and postmarket assessment processes.
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
•
Benchmark its turnaround against similar health
technology assessment agencies internationally, which
play a central role in providing rapid-cycle guidance
on the cost-effectiveness of drugs and technologies.
•
Assume the responsibilities of the Drug Safety and
Effectiveness Network (DSEN; currently located in
CIHR), which supports research into the post-market
safety and effectiveness of drugs, given the natural
affinity of this work with CADTH’s mandate.
•
Examine and make recommendations related to
practices that are becoming obsolescent, such as those
that no longer provide optimal patient outcomes.
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Chapter 9
Healthcare and
Economic Prosperity
“Entrepreneurs challenge the status quo, whereas
incumbent institutions in health are designed to largely
maintain the status quo. A vibrant community of young
health start-ups that are problem solving at the front lines
is critical to support healthcare institutions.”
Public Submission
“In order to succeed, innovators need access to national and
international markets. Doing so allows innovators to scale
their solutions, provide a reasonable return on investment,
and generate profits that can be reinvested in new research
and development. The Canadian marketplace, with 14
government jurisdictions each setting their own
requirements, makes it difficult for innovators to succeed.”
Stakeholder Submission
UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
Healthcare and Economic Prosperity
The costs of healthcare in Canada understandably receive
considerable attention. On occasion, however, we overlook
the economic benefits that this sector provides to our society.
According to the Conference Board of Canada, in 2011 the
healthcare sector supported “2.1 million jobs – directly
throughout the sector and indirectly through the supply
chain.”246 The Conference Board of Canada estimated in
2013 that, “for every dollar spent on healthcare, the various
levels of government collect 21.7 cents in taxes.”246 Other
benefits were cited by the Board in 2013: “because healthcare
services touch the life of every Canadian, the sector plays
a key role in decreasing employee absence due to illness,
stress, and disability which bring significant economic
burden to Canada. Put simply, healthier workers are more
productive workers.”247 In this regard, major corporations
in Canada are increasingly recognizing that the health and
wellness of employees is a key contributor to employee
productivity, and are developing wellness programs to both
keep their employees healthy and reduce the cost of their
health insurance plans.xxix
This chapter extends the analysis in Chapter 8 by taking
a wider view of how segments of the investor-owned
healthcare sector can contribute to Canada’s prosperity.
Drawing on selected international comparisons, it pays
particular attention to the environment for healthcare
business that has been created through fragmented
purchasing in Canadian healthcare systems, and revisits
the issues of duplication and delay in approvals elucidated
in the preceding chapter.
Canada’s Healthcare Products
and Services Industry
The healthcare products and services industry has the
potential to create prosperity while helping Canada’s
healthcare systems to deliver higher quality or more costeffective care, and Canadian patients to enjoy longer and
better lives.
xxix W
hile outside the scope of this report, the Panel heard comments from industry
representatives about the need for Canada’s largest employer – the Government
of Canada – to adopt similar approaches and to become a role model for other
employers in Canada. The Panel is encouraged by the federal government’s
recent decision to create a Joint Task Force to examine ways to improve the
psychological health and safety in the federal workplace, including “reviewing
practices from other jurisdictions, and reviewing the National Standard of Canada
for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace and identifying how its
objectives shall best be achieved within the Public Service.” Treasury Board of
Canada Secretariat [Internet]. Ottawa: Government of Canada; 2015. Available
from: http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=956409
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“Based on stock market values at the end of
2014, the collective value of a mere four US
[biotech] biggies – Gilead, Amgen, Celgene
and Biogen Idec – was larger than all of
Canada’s Big Six banks plus the insurers Sun
Life and Manulife put together.”
Eric Reguly
Reguly E. Why is Canada’s life sciences sector flatlining? Globe and Mail. 2014Apr23.
Available from: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/robmagazine/why-is-canadas-life-sciences-sector-flatlining/article24030375/)
For example, in 2012, Canada’s medical devices market
was estimated at $6.4 billion and accounted for about
two percent of the global market, valued at about $327
billion.248 The medical device industry – not taking into
account medical imaging and assistive devices - employed
over 35,000 people in close to 1,500 corporate facilities,
with a large portion of the industry being small and midsized companies.249 In 2014, the manufacturing portion
of pharmaceutical sector employed over 26,000 people
and had an estimated value of $7.5 billion.250
Countries such as Denmark and the UKxxx have recognized
the dual potential of this industry. For example,
approximately 40 percent of the world’s hearing aids are
being developed and manufactured in Denmark.251 Its
Medicon Valley hub, which spans Eastern Denmark and
South-Western Sweden, is one of Europe’s largest life
science clusters, employing more than 40,000 in the life
science sector,251and accounting for 20 percent of the total
GDP of Denmark and Sweden combined.252 Denmark is
also home to a highly competitive pharmaceutical industry,
with pharmaceuticals being one of Denmark’s largest
export items at close to 11 percent of total Danish exports.251
Canada stands in stark contrast. In the light of commissioned
research and discussions over the last year with a range
of stakeholders, the Panel has concluded that Canada is
xxx G
ermany is another example of a country that is deriving significant benefit
from its medical devices industry. According to a study in 2011 conducted by
the Federal Ministry of Economics, “innovations in the healthcare sector and
progress in medical technology resulted in savings in the amount of 22 billion
euros for the German economy in the last few years.” MedInsight. New study
on innovation impulses by the Ministry of Economics. German Healthcare
Market & Advanced Medical Technology. 2011.
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
Figure 9.1 Health (Drugs and Devices); Denmark’s Largest Export, 2013
80
70
Billion DKK
60
50
40
30
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General Industrial Machinery and Equipment
Petroleum, Petroleum Products and Related Materials
Meat and Meat Preparations
2013
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2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
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Hentze J. Presentation to the Advisory Panel on Healthcare Innovation: Leveraging Healthcare For Economic Growth: Denmark’s Story. Toronto: Royal Danish Consulate
General; 2015.
failing to leverage this industry as a driver of economic
growth. As one indicator, Canada has an active market
for medical devices but imports account for about 80
percent of purchases.248 Likewise, notwithstanding strong
sales, pharmaceutical manufacturing has been declining
over the years. In 2013, pharmaceutical exports amounted
to $5.6 billion, while imports were valued at $13.7 billion.250
Today, Novo Nordisk, a Danish company, is the world
leader in the production of insulin – a Canadian invention.253
“Technology-enabled community-based care
solutions can be the breakthrough our system
urgently needs to reduce the growth rate of
healthcare costs, while also raising productivity
and improving health outcomes.”
Stakeholder Submission
On the positive side, Canada has unrealized potential to
punch above its weight in the development,
commercialization, adoption and export of innovative
healthcare products and services. The global nature of
demand also means that Canadian products and services
of high value can jump into larger healthcare markets.
Canada has many of the fundamentals in place. These
include a favourable tax environment, competitive levels
of support for research and development, world class
healthcare and post-secondary institutions, leading
academic researchers and healthcare professionals, and
the presence of many prominent healthcare companies.
From its consultations, the Panel was also left in no doubt
that Canada is not short of good ideas and new inventions
that could be turned into market-ready innovations. The
question, then, is whether we will continue to let others
develop and market new products and services to us or
whether we can create the winning conditions for homegrown industries and innovations to succeed here and
around the world.
Key Barriers to Harnessing our
Economic Potential
Consider an inventor turned entrepreneur who has just
developed a new healthcare product. While she is
convinced that once adopted, the system will be grateful
for the lives and money her product will save, she has no
idea how to get it into the hands of the end-user.
Unfortunately, there is no map to point her in the right
direction. What she instead encounters on her uncharted
journey is a tangle of decision-makers and conflicting
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criteria to get her product approved for safety, evaluated
for cost-effectiveness, assessed for potential purchase and
re-assessed for reimbursement. None of those processes
are connected or aligned. In the absence of an integrated
pathway to procurement and adoption, she must go
hospital to hospital or even physician to physician to pitch
her product, with her success being linked more to who
she knows than the value of the product. Her money is
running out, as is her passion for the product she feels
will save the lives of many patients.
While the troubles of our fictitious entrepreneur are meant
to be illustrative, they represent an authentic roll-up of
what the Panel heard from many different business leaders
and innovators.
Research commissioned by the Panel confirmed these
concerns (see figure 9.2): While governments of all
jurisdictions were enthusiastic in principle about innovation
in the healthcare system, their support was focused
upstream. Funding flowed primarily for research,
secondarily for development, and much less so to support
the adoption of new products, processes and services,
partnership development and diffusion or scaling-up. The
Ivey International Centre for Health Innovation concluded
that Canada performs poorly in these latter areas.254
Specific factors cited by stakeholders were: a lack of
government-industry partnership, a highly fragmented
market, and duplication and lack of harmonization in the
regulatory environment – both domestically and
internationally. These will be reviewed in turn.
Need for Government-Industry
Partnership
During its consultations, the Panel heard that elsewhere
in the world, countries have a partnership ethos: they are
looking to proactively engage with industry for development
of context-appropriate healthcare solutions. Canadian
representatives from small and medium-sized enterprises,
as well as larger companies, painted a different picture in
Canada. They voiced concerns that industry was seldom
seen as a partner in solving persistent healthcare problems.
In other industries, governments have found a way to work
with industry that supports the life cycle and broader
economic benefits of publicly-funded procurement while
leveraging the ability of industry to create new solutions.
In the healthcare sector, collaboration between the public
and private sector to develop solutions and needed products
remains underdeveloped – despite the fact that the federal,
provincial and territorial governments all invest in healthrelated research and development.
Figure 9.2: Innovation Adoption Journey
Diffusion, Scaling-up &
Widespread Adoption
Health System Needs
& Priorities
Implementation &
Early Adoption
Innovation
Journey
Pilot Testing
Commercialization
Partnership Capacity
Building
Research &
Development
Adapted from Ivey International Centre for Health Innovation. Advisory Panel on Healthcare Innovation Commissioned Research: An Overview of Canada’s Health
Innovation Architecture. London; c.2015.
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REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
“Governments are big players in Canada, very
big players in the healthcare system and with a
few exceptions there are not many leaders
interested in government-industry
collaboration. We do not have a lot of people
bridging that gap.”
“The problem for the provinces is that they all
have budget pressures. So it is all heads down
trying to balance your budget.”
that collaboration on these terms among industry,
government, providers and other stakeholders should be
encouraged.
“We do not have the economic or the business
case conversation. These one‑offs of virtual
care and fee schedules that are all new, small,
changes, are not enough. It really warrants, I
think, a workforce conversation.”
Participant at Industry/ Government Roundtable
Participants at Industry/Government Roundtable
Many stakeholders also pointed to the rigidity of adoption
and reimbursement policies across Canada’s healthcare
systems. For example, virtual medicine is having a tangible
and positive impact on the quality and cost-effectiveness
of ambulatory care. However, uptake in Canada has been
piecemeal and we have failed to successfully leverage this
innovation to the extent other countries have done. In part,
inflexible processes for adjusting physician remuneration
for new ways of delivering care have discouraged use of
these products and approaches. Furthermore, as outlined
in Chapter 6, misaligned incentives and weak integration
are larger problems that continue to constrain the adoption
of this and other innovations.
The overall result is that dialogue between the health sector
and industry on system needs and priorities is simply not
taking place. In a better world, early and open discussions
to identify the critical problems of Canadian healthcare
could be used by the private sector to create products and
services that meet domestic needs – and that might well
be saleable globally after being adopted here.xxxi
Industry commentators signalled strongly to the Panel that
their sector is prepared to meet the high standards of safety
and efficacy that Canadians expect from health-related
interventions, to conduct research in Canada that meets
ethical and scientific standards, and to compete for business
on the basis of value for money. In return, they expect that
Canadian governments will recognize that industry can
play a valuable role in developing tools to improve the
quality and cost-effectiveness of care. The Panel believes
“Despite a rapidly growing list of mHealth
solutions in existence today, payment models
do not adequately recognize mobile health
solutions as a reimbursable service.
Reimbursement models for healthcare
professionals must be aligned to account for
new outcomes-based models of care delivery
that leverage the use of mobile technology.”
Stakeholder Submission
Fragmentation Within the Canadian
Market
Canada is a small market on the international stage, made
smaller still by a systemic lack of collaboration and
coordination of procurement. Multiple jurisdictions, with
numerous purchasing processes at the regional and
institutional level, create multiple hurdles for any company
seeking uptake of its innovative goods or services. The
situation at times seems Kafkaesque: for example, the
Panel heard about Canadian technologies being sold to
sophisticated international markets which were ignored
by purchasers in the cities and provinces where the products
were developed.
xxxi A
n important theme that emerged from the Advisory Panel’s Industry/
Government Roundtable.
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“There is no home market…it seems to me
that we are shooting ourselves in the foot.”
and territorial drug plans (except Quebec) the product
must undergo a clinical and cost-effectiveness
assessment by the Canadian Agency for Drugs and
Technologies (CADTH).xxxii Each of these publicly
funded drug plans and cancer agencies (again except
Quebec) considers the recommendations of the
CADTH review along with local factors and budgets,
before making a decision on coverage. In 2012-13,
these plans followed the CADTH recommendations
in over 90 percent of cases.
“It is ridiculous that we cannot get our act
together. We call ourselves a single payer agent
country. We are not a single payer. We have more
payers than anywhere else I go to. And it’s about
time we got moving on it.”
“You have to have a bit of a screw loose to
innovate health in Canada. There are not many
of us, I do not think. I have got an all Canadian
team. We are all motivated by Canada. But I
am looking straight at the US because I know
exactly how to get it done there. And I have no
idea how to get it done here. And so I just do
not even look here anymore. This is an awful
shame to take all this Canadian trained talent,
all this investment into our start-up but I’m
not even looking at this country because I have
no clue who the buyer is.”
Participants at Industry/
Government Roundtable
Fragmentation Meets Duplication and
Lack of Harmonization: The Domestic
Environment
The process for getting a new drug into the Canadian
market is long and complicated.255
102
•
It first must get approved for the market by the federal
government. Health Canada is responsible for
assessing drug safety, efficacy and quality and for post
market monitoring of drug safety. Many stakeholders
commented on the length and lack of transparency of
Health Canada’s review processes.
•
Once Health Canada grants market approval, the
product can be prescribed but may or may not be
reimbursed by drug plans. For the federal, provincial
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CHAPTER 9 — HEALTHCARE AND ECONOMIC PROSPERITY
•
Each private payer (e.g. private insurance companies,
employer-sponsored drug plans etc.) follows its own
process. Some may cover any drugs approved for
sale by Health Canada, while others follow decisions
made by public plans or create their own formularies.
Private drug plans do not collaborate with each other
or the public sector in terms of sharing data and
information or on common issues, such as joint
purchasing of drugs.
•
For the drugs provided in hospital, each hospital or
hospital region has traditionally developed its own
formulary. This has been justified over time by the fact
that not all hospitals treat the same types of patients.
•
In terms of procurement, Group Purchasing
Organizations negotiate contracts with drug
manufacturers in order to realize cost savings for
regional health authorities and hospitals. As
discussed in Chapter 8, provinces and territories
created the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance
(pCPA) to jointly negotiate the price of publicly
funded generic and brand name drugs. At this time,
the pCPA does not negotiate preferred drug pricing
for drug expenditures covered by public hospitals or
by private employee drug plans. The Panel has already
referred to the wisdom of aligning private plans with
pCPA; it sees no reason why similar group
procurement cannot be done routinely with and by
publicly-funded hospitals.
xxxii T
his is done through the Common Drug Review and for cancer drugs, through
the Pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review.
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
“There is no accountability for innovation
adoption and spread; nor are there consequences
for not embracing, rapidly adopting, and rapidly
diffusing proven innovations. This is actually
highly irresponsible given the volume of
inventions and pilots that are financed by the
public purse in Canada that never see the light of
day in terms of full value capture.”
•
The final decision on whether to fund a given
product is made in most cases by individual
hospitals or regional health authorities. These
decision-makers may or may not be required to
follow the recommendations of health technology
assessment bodies.
•
After the reimbursement decisions are made, group
purchasing arrangements often kick in xxxv for
negotiations with medical device suppliers.
Different group purchasing organizations operate
across the country with varying approaches, posing
another hurdle for suppliers, particularly smallerscale companies.
•
Because of these fragmented processes, decisionmaking does not consistently take into account the
results of formal health technology assessments or
the potential savings a new technology could bring to
the healthcare system.
•
Furthermore, despite some alignment of procurement
principles (such as the Agreement on Internal Trade257
and New West Partnership Trade Agreement258), the
fact remains that companies must go province by
province (if not hospital by hospital) to seek uptake
of their products.
Stakeholder Submission
While the picture for drugs in Canada may seem complicated,
the situation for medical devices is even more so:256
•
•
•
Like drugs, medical devices are first approved for
market by Health Canada, which reviews the product
for safety, quality and effectiveness. This can be a
lengthy process, depending on the class of the medical
device.xxxiii Like the process for drug approval,
stakeholders complain about a lack of transparency.
Once approved for market, however, there is no central
process for health technology assessments.xxxiv BC,
Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and Newfoundland have
developed their own provincial processes.
CADTH undertakes health technology assessments
deemed to be of national interest at the request of
governments. This service is particularly helpful for
those provinces which do not have their own capacity.
However, CADTH can only review a fraction of new
medical devices coming on the market. It has been
criticized for slow reviews – an issue given the short
life-cycle for these products relative to drugs.
On this last point, the Panel heard that our disjointed
system is leading multinational enterprises, especially in
the device sector, to see Canada as an unfavourable place
for investment or for field-testing promising innovations.
As one representative of a multinational company said to
the Panel: “As an international company, we are just fighting
to get Canada on the map in terms of getting innovation
dollars to bring into Canada…Once I make the argument
on a global scale that Canada is important for my company
to invest in, then I have to go to, well, what province? ….
It does not make sense.”
xxxiii M
edical devices are regulated under the Food and Drugs Act as a Class I, II,
III or IV, with Class I representing devices that present the lowest risk and
Class IV the highest. Class I devices are exempt from licensing and do not
need to obtain Health Canada approval to market. Class II devices require
that applicants assert the safety and efficacy of their device without having
to submit evidence to support this conclusion. Class III and IV devices require
more documentation and provision of evidence proving the safety and
effectiveness of their device.
xxxiv C
ADTH defines health technology assessments as “evaluations of clinical
effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and the ethical, legal, and social implications
of health technologies on patient health and the healthcare system.” (CADTH
[Internet]. About Health Technology Assessments. Ottawa, Canadian Agency
for Drugs and Technologies in Health; 2015. Available from: https://www.
cadth.ca/hta)
xxxv This is a common practice in most provinces.
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“Generally, all drugs that are approved by the
FDA will eventually have applications
submitted for review in Canada. Canada has
one tenth the population of the US and our
regulatory budget is less than one tenth that of
the FDA, but Health Canada still needs to
review the same number of applications.
There needs to be some collaboration.”
Stakeholder Submission
The lack of a national review process has also led to
allegations of regulatory capture by stakeholders who may
not be making objective decisions.xxxvi In this respect, the
Panel is aware that physicians and administrators may
have relationships with particular companies, and that
physicians on occasion are involved with the invention of
local technologies. It cannot judge whether these factors
have unfairly skewed purchasing at the local level.
“In terms of entry to market…when you run a
company that has over 80,000 products, you are
looking at a rather complex process in terms of
getting licences in Canada. …We just launched a
brand new total knee system… which has
thousands of pieces. But if one of the instruments
is not licensed, then we are looking at months in
delays of actually bringing that product to market
in Canada….We could certainly drive towards a
quicker model.”
Participant at Industry/
Government Roundtable
Stakeholders were particularly concerned that group
purchasing organizations place too much emphasis on
purchase price alone, and not enough on overall value to
patients and the healthcare system. Industry representatives
xxxvi T
his theme surfaced strongly in the Advisory Panel’s Industry/Government
Collaboration Roundtable.
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also spoke forcefully for the need for a roadmap that will
help steer product developers in the right direction, and
streamlining of current processes. A study by the Ivey
International Centre for Health Innovation echoes these
concerns. It concluded that in order for “Canada’s health
system to reap the benefits of new innovative technologies,
procurement processes must consider quality of patient
care and long-term system-level efficiency as key indicators
for the procurement of innovative medical devices.”259
In those respects, an international best practice may be
the Capital Region of Denmark’s (Copenhagen)
procurement office, which “structures tenders to include
‘mandatory’ features, while allowing competition on
‘voluntary’ (value-added features). Approximately equal
weight is given to price and non-price factors.”260
More broadly, the European Union has introduced
competitive dialogue as an innovative procurement practice.
While procurement rules have generally discouraged close
collaboration between healthcare buyers and suppliers,
competitive dialogue allows bidders to develop alternative
proposes in response to a client’s outline requirements.
The goal is to increase value in terms of quality and
responsiveness to health system needs while maintaining
competition in the bidding process.261
Looking domestically, Ontario’s MaRS Excellence in
Clinical Innovation Technology Evaluation (EXCITE)
program exemplifies the same approach. EXCITE facilitates
a dialogue among innovators and payers or end-users.
The goal is to identify upfront whether innovations are of
potential value to a given healthcare system and relevant
to the payer’s and end-users’ priorities.262
The result is sharing of data to support regulatory and
procurement/ reimbursement decision-making through
a streamlined, single, harmonized pre-market process. 262
In sum, clearing this regulatory and purchasing thicket depends
meaningfully on better collaboration among the federal,
provincial and territorial governments. One stakeholder
remarked tartly to the Panel: “The trouble that the feds have
is to establish positive enough relationships with the provinces
so that federal levers can be used.” In the foregoing case, the
Panel would observe the levers are best constructed and used
on a multi-jurisdictional rather than federal basis. But the point
about collaboration holds. The Panel believes that new models
for these relationships -- coalitions of the willing that collaborate
to innovate – may change dysfunctional aspects of the current
federal/provincial/territorial dynamics.
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
Duplication and Lack of
Harmonization Internationally
Similar to the fragmentation of Canada’s internal market,
the Panel also learned about the misalignment of its
regulatory functions with its international counterparts.
While the safety of products should always be paramount
and sober second thoughts from domestic regulators have
a place, the Panel is persuaded of the need for Canada to
ensure that there is regulatory harmonization with other
global regulatory bodies like the US Food and Drug
Administration (FDA), or the European Union.
The Panel applauds steps that the federal government is
already taking in this regard. To elaborate: in 2011, Canada
and the US established the Canada-US Regulatory
Cooperation Council to improve alignment between the
two countries’ regulatory approaches, including in health.
Regulators benefit from sharing expertise, more efficient
decision-making and the development of joint approaches
to common risks. The private sector benefits from not
having to meet duplicative regulatory requirements.
Consumers benefit from improved safety, timely access to
innovations and possibly lower prices.263
In 2014, under the Joint Forward Plan, Health Canada and
the US Food and Drug Administration agreed to work
together to resolve pre- and post-market regulatory issues
in a range of areas including pharmaceutical and biologic
products, as well as medical devices.263 Given the significant
risk that Canada will be left behind as industry steers clear
of what is widely perceived to be a fragmented and duplicative
regulatory and reimbursement environment, the Panel
encourages acceleration of these collaborative efforts.
“Denmark should be among the most attractive
countries in the world for developing, testing and
manufacturing health and care solutions based on
strong research, fast implementation of innovative
new technology, good conditions for publicprivate collaboration and a well-functioning,
development-oriented home market.”
Joan Hentze, quoting from Denmark at Work: Plan
for Growth in Health and Care Solutions
Hentze J [Presentation]. Leveraging Healthcare For Economic Growth: Denmark’s Story. Toronto: Royal Danish
Consulate General; 2015.
“The federal government can say: hey, look, not
only do we need consistency from province to
province on certain things that just intuitively
make sense... but that even within a province, we
have got to get better at integrating where we are
going to spend money and where we are going to
see the benefits.”
Participant at Industry/
Government Roundtable
Key Directions for the Future
Looking beyond Canada for a moment, it is clear that there
are excellent examples of countries that support the
healthcare needs of their population through strong
publicly insured services while also ensuring that they have
access to the latest safe and effective drugs and devices.
At the outset of this chapter, Denmark was identified
as a leader. Denmark actively shapes policies to support
the development of a healthcare products industry that
can compete globally, supports domestic small and
medium sized enterprises in the healthcare field, and
actively facilitates the commercialization of key
healthcare innovations.264 Denmark has also launched
a “single point of entry” in each Danish region for
companies conducting clinical trials with the aim of
making patient recruitment faster and facilitating better
communication between hospitals and industry. 251
Finally, in its network of Innovation Centres and Trade
Councils around the world, Denmark places a priority
on ensuring that Danish companies can break into and
navigate foreign healthcare markets.
The UK has also recognized the potential of the private
sector to develop new tools and processes that will improve
the quality and cost-effectiveness of care. It is actively
taking steps to remove barriers and accelerate the adoption
of innovations by the National Health Service (NHS). It
recently created the Innovative Medicines and Medical
Technology Review to examine regulatory and
reimbursement systems and other factors that impact the
speed of the adoption of innovations to patients. The aim
“is to ensure that the UK is the fastest place in the world
for the design, development and widespread adoption of
medical innovations. This will help stimulate new
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investment, jobs and economic growth to support a stronger
NHS.”265
In addition, the NHS has developed several programs to
address issues around adoption and to further strengthen
the role of healthcare as an economic driver:
•
•
•
The 2014 NHS Five Year Forward View proposed the
creation of “test beds,” which will offer a site to test
new technologies’ real-world impact in the healthcare
system (i.e., in terms of improved care and value-formoney). There are currently five test beds to which
interested domestic and international innovators are
being invited to apply. Only the most promising
innovations will be selected based on their ability to
provide the greatest potential value to patients as well
as taxpayers.266
Innovation Connect is another NHS program which
is designed to help fast-track emerging healthcare
innovations, with a team that will support innovators
and help them to navigate and overcome barriers on
their route.267
The NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) programme,
mentioned in Chapter 2, “aims to give patients more
equitable access to cutting edge, high impact products,
processes and technologies, by focusing on the
conditions and cultural change needed to enable the
NHS to adopt innovations that matter to patients, at
scale and pace.”268
In sum, we have an opportunity in Canada to follow in
the footsteps of Denmark, the UK and other nations in
creating an environment that leverages the economic
potential of the healthcare sector. The Panel recognizes
that there will be points of friction. The ethos of our
universal healthcare systems and those working in them
will sometimes be at odds with the bottom-line goals of
industry partners. Inter-jurisdictional collaboration and
harmonization may be challenging. However, the Panel
believes that the current situation is not only damaging to
Canada’s long-term economic standing, but also undercuts
sustainability and excellence in our healthcare systems.
Federal leadership through a single organization that is
mandated to drive opportunities for partnership of mutual
benefit to industry and Canadians is critical to catalyzing
needed change in this area.
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CHAPTER 9 — HEALTHCARE AND ECONOMIC PROSPERITY
Recommendations to the
Federal Government
9.1 Create a Healthcare Innovation
Accelerator Office, housed in the
Healthcare Innovation Agency of
Canada, to:
•
Work with federal, provincial and territorial ministries
of health and other stakeholders to accelerate the
adoption of potentially disruptive technologies that
show early promise of value for money to the system
and benefit for patients.
οο This would include interacting with companies in
pre-market processes to reduce post-market
redundancy (viz. European Union practices, or the
MaRS EXCITE model)
9.2
Through
Health
Canada,
accelerate regulatory harmonization
and convergence, while ensuring
that safety remains paramount,
to streamline domestic processes
with international
standards
in
recognition of the global nature of the
pharmaceutical and medical devices
industry. Priorities should include:
•
Providing advice to small and medium-sized enterprises
on how to navigate the healthcare system, including
developing a roadmap of processes and supports.
•
Partnering with the US Food and Drug Administration
in order to reduce redundancy without compromising
Canada’s high standards around the safety of products,
further to the discussion in chapter 8.
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
9.3Through Health Canada, in
collaboration with Industry Canada,
develop
a
whole-of-government
federal strategy to support the growth
of Canadian commercial enterprises in
the healthcare field.
•
The strategy should consider the needs of Canadian
companies in the generation, domestic
commercialization, and export of products and services,
as well as in attracting foreign investment to the health
field.
•
Elements of the strategy should track recommendations
from the 2010 report of the Independent Review of
Federal Support for Research and Development,
including approaches to encourage greater availability
of capital for innovative start-ups; value-based
procurement practices to encourage adoption of high
impact innovations; and support for commercialization
and export of successful products.
•
The strategy should be adapted to the unique features
of healthcare (e.g., regulatory requirements, primacy
of patient safety, large-scale public purchasers,
influence of providers on procurement processes, etc.),
including addressing fragmentation through a
simplified process that is easy to navigate for industry.
9.4 Through the new Healthcare
Innovation
Agency
of
Canada,
with
federal
investments
from
the Healthcare Innovation Fund,
support the spread and scale-up of
measures to improve procurement,
including consideration of valuebased approaches and best practices
internationally such as the competitive
dialogue process in the EU.
CHAPTER 9 — HEALTHCARE AND ECONOMIC PROSPERITY
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CHAPTER 9 — HEALTHCARE AND ECONOMIC PROSPERITY
Chapter 10
Tax Policy in Support
of Healthcare System
Change
“The hardest thing in the world to
understand is the income tax.”
Albert Einstein
UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
Tax Policy in Support of Healthcare System Change
Earlier chapters in this report discuss the historical evolution
of publicly funded healthcare in Canada, and identify
growing gaps in performance on accessibility and quality
of care that require urgent attention. The Panel has made
the case that a Healthcare Innovation Fund, in tandem
with a new agency, the Healthcare Innovation Agency of
Canada, could provide catalytic support for new partnerships
and meaningfully enhance the performance of Canada’s
healthcare systems. In the last few chapters, the Panel has
set out its analysis and offered advice on five key areas for
innovation where inter-jurisdictional and wider
collaboration could have the largest impact. These chapters
also highlight where the Fund and the Agency could most
usefully focus resources to promote collaboration and bring
about high-impact changes in Canadian healthcare.
In each of the priority areas for innovation, the Panel has
also made recommendations on actions that the federal
government could take in its own sphere of responsibility
and using the levers at its disposal. One of these levers –
tax policy – is left to this chapter to explore, not because
it is more or less important than the others, but because
it is relatively under-appreciated as a federal healthcare
lever and can potentially address issues that cut across all
five priority areas for innovation.
Beyond the obvious role of general taxation as the main
source of funding for Canada’s healthcare system, tax
policy is not typically thought of as an instrument of
healthcare policy. However, it is part of the landscape of
financial incentives affecting all healthcare stakeholders:
patients, healthcare providers and institutions, innovators,
and public and private payers. It therefore has an impact
on the choices made by all of these actors, and on the
broader goals of economic efficiency and equity in the
tax system. Furthermore, although health-related tax
expenditures are small relative to federal health transfers
to provinces and territories, they represent significant
foregone revenue by federal government, exceeding what
the government spends directly on healthcare through
its internal programming.
In deciding to frame recommendations on tax policy, the
Panel took other points into consideration.
As noted earlier, 30 percent of Canada’s total spending on
healthcare is privately financed as compared to 70 percent
public spending.5 Arguments that this split accounts for
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our underperformance were addressed in Chapter 2. In
fact, a 70 percent proportion of public spending was first
tallied in 1970, as universal medical services coverage took
hold across Canada. That proportion peaked at 75 percent
in 1980, fell minimally to 74 percent in 1990, and then
declined slowly to its current level of 70 percent in the late
1990s.5 The proportions of publicly- and privately-financed
spending have been more or less stable since then.
That stability, however, masks a problem – growth in outof-pocket spending (as contrasted with spending through
private insurance plans or another third party). That growth
in turn bears more heavily on low-income Canadians – a
burden that could be mitigated by tax policy.
Considerations of equity also arise when one considers
Canada’s aging population. This demographic trend will
see a relative increase in management of chronic health
problems as opposed to the utilization of acute, episodic
care that characterizes younger individuals and families.269
Older Canadians will increasingly need healthcare services
and supports in the community or at home. Communitybased care is a better option than institutional care in many
cases – better for patient experience, for health outcomes,
and more economical for the healthcare system. However,
this shift is likely to increase the financial burden on
patients and their families. Here, too, tax policy has the
potential to both encourage this transition and cushion its
financial impact on Canadians.
The Panel does not view these recommendations as the
definitive solution to long-standing health insurance
gaps in Canada, but as an innovative way forward to
address unfairness in paying for healthcare while reducing
the differential in public support for healthcare services
so as to improve efficiency. This approach does not vitiate
the need to achieve universal coverage for prescription
drugs, to consider how new delivery models and bundled
payment mechanisms might allow cost-effective
expansion of public coverage for a variety of services,
and many other policy changes that might strengthen
Canadian healthcare and restore its international lustre.
Nonetheless, it is relatively straightforward for the federal
government to make changes in this area, and the Panel
believes that these measures would bring some much
needed financial relief to patients with high out-of-pocket
healthcare expenses.
CHAPTER 10 — TAX POLICY IN SUPPORT OF HEALTHCARE SYSTEM CHANGE
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
Current Health-Related Tax
Expenditures
Health-Specific Tax Expenditures
Figure 10.1 sets out the principal federal health-related tax
expenditures as reported annually by Finance Canada,270
which is the lead department at the federal level on all matters
pertaining to tax policy. In total, these tax measures provided
support in the order of $7 billion in 2014.270 The overall goal
of these measures is to ensure that where possible, the tax
system reduces or at least does not add to the burden of
financing needed healthcare services, as well as ensuring
equitable tax treatment for households as between those
with members who have chronic medical conditions and
those without. This is accomplished in four ways.
First, some of these measures are designed to recognize
the cost of privately funded healthcare goods and services
that are paid by individuals and/or to recognize the
additional burden placed on disabled individuals or families
caring for infirm dependents. Under the Medical Expense
Tax Credit (METC)271, individuals can claim a portion of
eligible medical expenses as a tax credit to reduce income
tax that would otherwise be payable. A refundable version
of this credit ensures that low income working individuals
can benefit from support regardless of whether they pay
income tax. The Family Caregiver Tax Credit 272 and
Disability Tax Credit273 provide tax relief to those who care
for an infirm dependent relative, or to individuals who
have a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or
mental functions.
The second policy approach is to exempt healthcare goods
and services purchased by individual from being taxed,
again with the goal of reducing the burden placed on
individuals to finance needed healthcare services. The
non-taxation of health and dental benefits falls into this
category. In practice, this means that employer-paid
premiums from employer-sponsored private insurance
plans are not taxed in the hands of the employees who
receive the benefits. In contrast, other employer-paid
premiums for employee benefits, such as employersponsored life insurance, are a taxable benefit to employees.
GST/HST health measures ensure that patients are not
charged GST/HST on privately-paid prescription drugs,
certain medical devices, or healthcare services such as
physiotherapy or psychologist services.
and products used in the production of healthcare. For
example, hospitals, regional health authorities, and
government-funded eligible charities and non-profit
organizations that provide healthcare services similar to
those traditionally performed in hospitals are eligible for a
GST/HST rebate that reimburses them for 83 percent of the
GST or federal portion of the HSTxxxvii paid on a broad range
of goods and services used by these entities in the delivery
of health services. Charities and qualifying non-profit
organizations, including those that provide health services
but are not eligible for the 83% rebate, claim a 50 percent
rebate of the GST/HST (federal portion) on their purchased
inputs.274 HST participating provinces provide rebates of
the provincial portion of the HST at varying rates determined
by the province.274
Fourth, a relatively new thrust of tax incentives aims to
encourage healthy behaviours. Through the Fitness Tax
Credit275, parents can claim eligible expenses for children
under 16 years of age participating in a prescribed program
of physical activity. The 2015 federal budget proposed
the creation of a Panel to study the potential scope of a
similar credit for adults. Given the epidemic of childhood
obesity and broader concerns about the dietary habits of
Canadian families, the Panel sees merit in extending this
credit to out-of-pocket costs incurred for nutritional
counselling for children under 16 years of age. However,
a full costing of this concept was not feasible, and some
relief from the cost of these services is provided under
the general recommendations that follow.
A summary of these health-related tax measures are
outlined in figure 10.1.
While all of these tax measures are worthy of examination,
the Panel focused its attention on the three measures which
account for over half of the value of health-related tax
expenditures. Two of these help to recognize out-of-pocket
healthcare costs faced by Canadians, but they may impose
a sizeable administrative burden on tax filers, particularly
for complex cases.
•
The main provision is a non-refundable tax credit for
eligible medical expenses that can be claimed if they
exceed three percent of an individual’s net income or
$2,171, whichever is less (for the 2014 tax year). xxxviii
xxxvii Some provinces receive a 100% rebate (i.e., Alberta, New Brunswick).
The third policy approach is to offset the burden on publiclyfunded healthcare institutions that pay taxes on services
xxxviii Provinces and territories offer similar credits against provincial/territorial
income taxes payable for medical expenses, although the threshold amounts
vary by jurisdiction.
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UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
Figure 10.1: Health-Related Tax Measures (with Projected Federal Revenues Foregone
for 2014)
Non-taxation of business-paid health and dental benefits
$2.065 billion
Medical Expense Tax Credit (METC)
$1.425 billion
Refundable Medical Expense Supplement for low-income working Canadians
$150 million
Disability Tax Credit
$750 million
GST/HST zero-rating for medical devices and prescription drugs
$1.12 billion
GST/HST exemption for healthcare services
$670 million
GST/HST rebate for hospitals
$620 million
Children’s Fitness Tax Credit
$130 million
Total
$6.93 billion
(Source: Adapted from: Department of Finance Canada. Tax Expenditures and Evaluations 2014. Ottawa: Department of Finance Canada; 2015.
Available from: http://www.fin.gc.ca/taxexp-depfisc/2014/taxexp14-eng.asp)
•
An additional refundable medical expense supplement
is available for working individuals with low incomes
and high medical expenses. To be eligible for the
supplement, taxpayers must claim medical expenses
and/or disability supports, and have combined family
net income of less than $48,546.xxxix The maximum
refundable supplement is $1,152 (for the 2014 tax
year) or 25 percent of the claimed disability supports
and medical expenses above the three percent/$2,171
threshold for the METC, whichever is less.xl The
supplement is reduced by five cents for each dollar
of combined net income above $25,506, completely
disappearing at $48,546.
The third measure – the non-taxation of health and dental
benefits – is significant, though it is not administratively
complex. Approximately 24 million Canadians have some
form of health coverage through private insurance.276
Under the federal Income Tax Act, premiums paid for
coverage under group private health insurance plans are
non-taxable to the employee. The same is true at the
provincial level, except for Quebec, which introduced
xxxix I n contrast to the METC which is based on an individual’s net income, the
supplement is calculated based on both the individual’s and spouse’s net
income. Combined net income refers to the net income of the tax filer and
spouse, if applicable.
xl
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isability supports are expenses paid for personal attendant care and other
D
supports allowing an individual to go to school or earn income.
taxation of these benefits under the provincial income tax
system in 1997. Those individuals who purchase health
insurance may claim the premiums as medical expenses
under the METC.
Other Tax Measures Linked to Health
The federal government also provides vehicles for
Canadians to save for the future, which potentially could
be used to pre-fund health expenditures. These include
incentives for Canadians to save in general (e.g., the Tax
Free Savings Account), for retirement savings (Registered
Pension Plans and Registered Retirement Savings Plans)
or savings for the long-term financial security of individuals
with disabilities (Registered Disability Savings Plans).
Beyond these savings vehicles, the tax system provides
support for a range of other activities that support health
and healthcare objectives. These include tax credits to
support charitable giving, a good portion of which benefits
health sector charities that invest in research on a range
of diseases. Support for health-related research and
development activities performed by the private sector is
also provided through the Scientific Research and
Experimental Development Tax Credit, which was the
subject of a separate federal review in 2011.277 Finally, the
so-called “sin” taxes on tobacco products and alcohol are,
CHAPTER 10 — TAX POLICY IN SUPPORT OF HEALTHCARE SYSTEM CHANGE
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
at least in part, intended to deter unhealthy behaviour.
The Panel did not explore these areas in any depth as its
mandate was focused on system innovations in support
of healthcare delivery.
Are Existing Tax Measures
Adequate?
During the Panel’s consultations, several participants raised
concerns about the adequacy of existing measures to help
Canadians bear the cost of services not covered by the existing
Medicare system (i.e., home care, prescriptions, etc.).
As outlined in Chapter 2, Canada’s healthcare system relies
extensively on private payment to finance services beyond
the core hospital and physician services. As noted above,
of the $215 billion in estimated total health expenditures
for 2014, 30 percent was privately-funded, of which it is
projected that 12 percent will be through private insurance
and fully 15 percent will be paid out-of-pocket.5 Out-ofpocket expenditures include deductibles and copayments
for publiclyxli or privately insured services, and direct outof-pocket expenditures for non-insured health services.
The largest categories of private out-of-pocket spending
in 2012 were: prescription drugs ($6.4 billion); long-term
care and other institutions ($6.0 billion); dental care ($4.7
billion); over-the-counter drugs ($2.9 billion); vision care
($2.6 billion); and personal health supplies ($2.1 billion).5
While the growth of out-of-pocket payments is slightly
lower than the rate of expenditure growth for hospitals,
doctors, and drugs, it remains a key healthcare pressure,
increasing 4.7 percent annually between 1988 and 2012.278
A growing body of evidence indicates decreasing equity
in access to core healthcare services in Canada as a result
of increasing out-of-pocket health costs. As shown in figure
10.2, growth in out-of-pocket expenditures has been
particularly acute for the lowest income quintile, resulting
in a 40 percent increase in the proportion of households
spending more than five percent of after-tax income on
healthcare.279 The second-lowest income quintile represents
an additional risk group due to lack of eligibility for various
public insurance programs.279
Canadians most affected by high out-of-pocket costs
include certain lower-income Canadians (particularly the
working poor) without access to publicly funded prescription
drug plans, and those without employer-provided private
health insurance (including some self-employed) and their
families.
The burden of high out-of-pocket costs is sub-optimal
from both equity and efficiency points of view:
•
xli A
s explained in Chapter 1, these co-payments or deductibles can apply to
publicly-insured services that are outside the requirements for first-dollar
coverage defined by the Canada Health Act.
From an equity point of view, access to important and
large segments of the healthcare system is hindered
for some individuals based on characteristics such as
the province in which an individual resides, income,
age, and employment status. For example, the Panel
heard from stakeholders in the northern communities
that it is not uncommon for persons to travel 200
Figure 10.2: Percentage of Households with Out-of-Pocket Expenditures on Healthcare
More Than 5 Percent of Total Household Income, by Household Income Quintile, Canada
Excluding Territories, 1997 to 2009
Household
income
quintile
1997
1999
2001
2003
2005
2007
2009
1997 to 2009
Percent change
Q1 (lowest)
26
29
30
33
34
37
37
40
Q2
30
33
35
37
38
39
36
23
Q3
23
25
26
30
30
29
31
33
Q4
16
19
19
21
22
22
19
16
Q5 (highest)
10
9
10
13
13
13
14
42
(Source: Statistics Canada, Survey of Household Spending)
CHAPTER 10 — TAX POLICY IN SUPPORT OF HEALTHCARE SYSTEM CHANGE
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UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
kilometres or more to receive a specialized health
services or diagnostic testing with a corresponding
cost that they pay for out-of-pocket.
•
This situation is also inefficient because there is a bias
towards publicly funded services, which are sometimes
the most expensive services. For example, lack of access
to prescription drugs and home care could lead to
avoidable hospitalizations.
“We strongly encourage the government to
incent Canadians to take a proactive approach
to their personal healthcare through a full tax
deduction on extended health benefits for
those who do not have them sponsored by
their employers.”
Stakeholder Submission
Tax policy could be used to address high private costs by
providing tax relief for current expenses or incentives for
Canadians to save in advance for future healthcare costs.
More broadly, tax policy could be adapted to support change
in the healthcare system, such as the movement of
healthcare services from facility-based services to
community-based services, as well as support public health
initiatives to improve the health of Canadians.
The Panel recognizes that the efficiency and equity issues
related to tax support for health services have to be
considered within the context of tax policy in general. The
credit provided for medical, caregiver and disability costs
under the Income Tax Act recognizes the additional costs
borne by individuals to achieve a minimal standard of
living. If such costs were not recognized under the Income
Tax Act, individuals and families requiring health services
would be treated less fairly than those who do not require
such services. Similarly, provisions that provide tax support
for health services should not distort economic decisions
in other contexts. Hefty tax relief directed at healthcare
services could distort household spending decisions
towards healthcare.
The Panel particularly notes two examples by which
suggestions for certain tax measures causes distortions
and unfairness in the tax system.
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The current non-taxability of employer-provided health
and dental benefits creates unfairness as well as distorting
the choice of compensation paid by public and private
employers. Those individuals who are not able to participate
in employer-provided plans receive on average less tax
relief for premiums under the Medical Expense Tax Credit.
Further, as several studies have documented, the nontaxation of health and dental benefits have led to higher
growth in this form of compensation compared to salaries.280
Under the GST/HST, there are different levels of rebates
provided to offset GST/HST paid on goods and services
by public service bodies such as municipalities, hospitals,
charities and not-for-profit organizations. This can result
in distortions in the allocation of resources. The Panel
heard in its consultations that municipal bodies providing
home care are eligible for a 100% rebate for the GST or
federal portion of the HST paid on their inputs while a
charity only receives a 50% rebate. This reflects the existing
system in which MUSH sectors (municipalities, universities
and public colleges, schools and hospitals) and charities
generally do not charge GST/HST for their services and
receive varying degrees of rebates on their inputs. The
original reason in 1991 for a partial rebate given to these
bodies was to maintain the same level of tax as under the
manufacturers’ sales tax that was replaced by the GST
(municipalities were fully refunded GST on inputs at a
later time). The Panel recommends, therefore, that the
Department of Finance examine the current partial rebate
system to reduce distortions.
“…we are asking the Government to increase
the HST rebate on all eligible purchases made
by publicly-funded, not-for-profit institutions
in the health sector to 100 percent putting
hospitals on par with municipalities.”
Stakeholder Submission
The Panel believes, obviously, that any tax support for
healthcare services should not undermine the overall
integrity of the tax system. However, in this case, more
tax support is needed, especially for lower-income
Canadians, and such measures would be consistent with
the overall objectives of both tax and health policy.
CHAPTER 10 — TAX POLICY IN SUPPORT OF HEALTHCARE SYSTEM CHANGE
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
A Refundable Health Tax Credit
The Panel notes that the current Medical Expense Tax
Credit (METC) and Refundable Medical Expense
Supplement provide limited tax relief for out-of-pocket
healthcare services. Claims can be made in excess of
specific thresholds as mentioned above. Further the METC
can only be used if the taxpayer has sufficient tax to be
paid. Although the Refundable Medical Expense
Supplement helps provide some support for families with
modest income, it is limited to medical costs in excess of
same limits applied to METC.
The Panel believes that additional tax support for healthrelated costs paid by Canadians would provide more
support for community-based services, complementing
the provision of hospital and physician services. It is
especially important to support lower-income Canadians
who bear a significant cost relative to their means. Further,
expanded tax support would improve the income tax system
by recognizing better costs incurred by households to fund
their needs.
Designing the New Tax Credit
Considerable complexity arises from the limits imposed
by the METC that reduces the provision of healthcare
services. As many taxpayers often do not qualify for the
METC due to limits, they are less likely to maintain proper
documentation for tax filing when they are eligible to claim
the METC.
The limits under the METC are a particular problem in
achieving a more efficient, fair and simpler tax treatment
of health costs. When expenses are claimed under the
METC, federal support is only 15 cents on the dollar for
expenses that are either above the threshold of 3 percent
of a tax filer’s net income or $2,171, whichever is lower.
In addition, it is a non-refundable credit. The system
should focus on the major expenditures that are eligible
for tax support from the first dollar281 and at a higher value
than 15 percent given the burden faced by many families.
It can also encourage pooling by enabling more individuals
to purchase private insurance.
The Panel therefore proposes a Refundable Health Tax
Credit (RHTC) that would be focused on those families
with modest incomes. The federal tax credit would be 25
percent of qualified health expenses up to $3,000 per year
(additional expenses would be claimable under the METC
for a single individual and up to $6,000 per year for a
family with two or more members.) Therefore the
maximum tax credit would be $750 for a single person or
$1500 for a family. Any health expenses covered by the
RHTC would not eligible for other tax credits. Provinces
would have the option of adopting the new credit in their
tax systems, thereby potentially increasing the value of
the credit significantly.
Under this program, the full value of the tax credit would
be available to families (two or more members) with
incomes below $89,000 and individuals below $44,000.
The credit would be income-tested for each individual
taxpayer such that the eligible expenses would be reduced
by five cents for each dollar of income above $44,000.
The Panel’s proposal focuses on costs in relation to
community-based care rather than supplemental charges
incurred during hospitalization in an acute care institution.
Eligible categories include prescription drugs, certain
pharmaceutical supplies, dental services, premiums on
qualifying health and dental plans, long-term care
insurance, attendant care and vision care. These categories
total approximately 80 percent of existing privately-funded
expenses. Consideration could be given to including the
cost of certain health-promoting and disease-preventing
interventions as eligible expenditures, especially if research
evidence supports the effectiveness of those interventions.
Administering the New Tax Credit
To enable greater ease in claiming both the refundable
health tax credit and medical expense credit, the Panel
recommends that a new T6 slip be introduced whereby
providers of insurance, drugs, dental services and other
qualifying services provide a taxpayer the amounts of
medical expenses that can be claimed for the RHTC and
METC or just the METC alone. This would significantly
simplify the system for taxpayers who currently must keep
individuals slips provided by suppliers.
The Panel also recommends that the government enable
low income individuals to receive their credits on a quarterly
basis based on a previous year’s information of expenditure
patterns and income. This could only apply to recurring
health expenditures such as drug expenditures and
premiums, as currently done with the GST low-income
tax credit. Non-recurring expenditures cannot be predicted
and therefore claims for the credit can only be done when
filing income taxes.
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Costing the New Credit
The existing Refundable Medical Expense Supplement
would be cancelled since it applies on a very limited basis.
The Panel also recommends that employer- paid premiums
for health and dental benefits be made a taxable benefit
to the employee. This would be consistent with the tax
treatment of other employer-paid premiums for benefits
such as life insurance, which are a taxable benefit to
employees. Removing the tax-free status of employer-paid
health insurance premiums eliminates a labour market
distortion. Employees in receipt of that benefit are still
better off than employees without workplace health and
dental insurance, while employers retain an advantage in
recruitment that is fair rather than being privileged through
tax policy. The premiums for employer-paid health insurance
should be deemed an eligible expense under the new
RHTC and existing METC, similar to the current policy
related to self-paid premiums. Thus, premiums should be
eligible for a tax credit whether paid by the employee or
employer.282
Overall, this proposal is revenue-neutral and consistent
with the Panel’s Terms of Reference. The gain to families
associated with the Refundable Health Tax Credit is $5.9
billion as shown in figure 10.3. The net change in the
Medical Expense Tax Credit reduced by expenses allocated
to the refundable tax credit but increased by employer-paid
health and dental premiums is -$542 million. The taxation
of employer-provided premiums yields $5.2 billion in
revenue and the cancellation of the existing medical
expenses supplement yields another $157 million.283
Those households with incomes below $100,000 will pay
less tax. Higher income households will pay more tax
primarily as a result of the taxation of employer-provided
health and dental benefits. The Panel has considered other
combinations of income thresholds and maxima for the
refundable credit. Both the cost of the Refundable Health
Tax Credit and the related redistributive effects vary
predictably as one changes those parameters. The Panel
fully understands that the Government of Canada may
choose to modify the model, but recommends the
combination of thresholds shown in figure 10.3 as a fair
way forward.
Taken together, the Panel believes these measures would
make a significant contribution to offset growing out-ofpocket healthcare costs borne by Canadians, and increase
equity among Canadians in terms of the tax treatment of
these expenses.
Figure 10.3: Tax Impact on Families (Single and Multiple Members) by Income Groupxlii
Family Total
Income ($)
Change in
METC credit
Cost ($000s)
Total value
of new grant
with
clawback
($000s)
Revenue from new
tax on employer
health and dental
benefits ($000s)
-162,075
1,608,859
-775,950,
-76,941
92
25,001-50,000
-277,675
1,757,335
-796,357
-76,549
136
50,001-100,000
-279,899
2,281,219
-1,680,251
-3,443
61
100,001-150,000
68,377
261,530
-1,060,090
150,001-200,000
63,071
2,151
200,001-Max
45,852
-542,348
0
-322
-483,992
-3
-491
1,378
-426,200
-12
-551
5,912,472
-5,222,840
-156,948
0
xlii Based on calculations provided by Philip Bazel, researcher from the University of Calgary.
|
Net Change
Per
household
income ($)
Min-25,000
All
116
Change in
medical
supplement
cost ($000s)
CHAPTER 10 — TAX POLICY IN SUPPORT OF HEALTHCARE SYSTEM CHANGE
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
Recommendations to the
Federal Government
10. 1Through the Department of
Finance, and in collaboration with
Health Canada, pursue the following
initiatives:
•
Examine the current partial GST/HST rebate system
for public sector bodies to reduce distortions arising
from differential tax treatment of hospitals,
municipalities, non-for-profit organizations and
charities that deliver healthcare services.
•
Create a new Refundable Health Tax Credit (RHTC)
to provide tax relief of 25 percent on eligible out-ofpocket healthcare expenditures up to $3,000 per year,
replacing the Refundable Medical Expense Supplement.
οο The RHTC would apply to the first-dollar spent
on eligible expenses, and would be income-tested,
with the full value of the credit made available to
lower-income Canadians who bear a significant
cost relative to their means. It would be
administratively simple for tax filers, with tax slips
issued by insurers and providers of health services.
Payments to individuals with recurring expenses
could be made on a quarterly basis.
•
Make employer-paid premiums for employersponsored health and dental benefits a taxable benefit
to the employee, while permitting employees to claim
this expense as a qualifying medical expense under
the new RHTC or METC.
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Chapter 11
Concluding
Summary
UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
Concluding Summary
The Advisory Panel on Healthcare Innovation received
its mandate from the Honourable Rona Ambrose and
began work in late June 2014. The Panel was charged
with identifying five priority areas where action by the
federal government could promote innovation in Canadian
healthcare systems. It was also asked to advise the
Minister on important enabling actions that could be
taken by the Government of Canada, acting within its
legitimate jurisdiction.
Background
In the course of its deliberations, the Panel received scores
of submissions from organizations and individuals,
conducted on-line consultations, crisscrossed the country
for in-person discussions with a wide range of stakeholders,
reviewed literature and commissioned research studies,
and spoke with experts in both domestic and international
healthcare policy. These interactions consistently brought
home two points.
First, consistent with polls showing that Canadians are
concerned about the state of their healthcare systems, the
Panel heard from many stakeholders who see the need for
fundamental changes in how healthcare is organized,
financed, and delivered.
The Panel’s review suggested that these concerns were
well-founded. Canada’s healthcare systems remain a
source of national pride and provide important services
to millions of Canadians every week, the scope of public
coverage is narrow, and their overall performance by
international standards is middling, while spending is
high relative to many OECD countries. Canada also
appears to be losing ground in performance measures
relative to peers.
Second, pockets of extraordinary creativity and innovation
dot the Canadian healthcare landscape. Local, regional
and even provincial programs worthy of emulation have
simply not been scaled up across the nation.
Many barriers to effective scaling-up were identified by
stakeholders. One key challenge was the lack of any
dedicated funding or mechanism to drive systemic innovation. As well, the fragmented nature of the system
– with separate budgets and accountabilities for different
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provider groups and sectors – emerged as the most
important structural barrier to both new reform initiatives
and effective scaling-up of well-tested ideas and programs.
This shortcoming appeared to be operating in a vicious
cycle with slow deployment and incomplete utilization of
modern information technology.
The Panel observed further that Canada’s healthcare
systems appeared to be ill-prepared to respond to various
shifts in their context. Patients are demanding more
participation in their own care and engagement with the
design of healthcare programs. As the population ages,
there will be a greater premium on seamless delivery of
multi-disciplinary care across diverse settings, not least
the patient’s place of residence. The digital revolution
continues to disrupt many enterprises, and sooner or later
will transform healthcare. Moreover, accelerating advances
in biotechnology are now ushering in an exciting but
challenging new era of precision medicine. Canada has
pockets of research leadership in this field, but only one
small province has taken steps towards implementation
of the required learning systems to make precision medicine
a clinical reality.
Meanwhile, polling data show that the majority of
Canadians no longer believe that an increase in operating
funds is the primary solution to the perceived shortcomings
of their healthcare systems.
Critical Areas for Healthcare
Innovation
Weighing all these inputs, and consistent with its mandate,
the Panel identified five broad areas where federal action
was important to promote innovation and enhance both
the quality and sustainability of Canadian healthcare.
These were:
•
patient engagement and empowerment
•
health systems integration with workforce
modernization
•
technological transformation via digital health and
precision medicine
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
•
better value from procurement, reimbursement and
regulation
•
industry as an economic driver and innovation catalyst.
To make recommendations for action on these fronts, the
Panel first examined the federal government’s role in the
evolution of Canada’s universal healthcare systems.
The Evolving Federal Role
In the 1950s and 1960s, federal investments built capacity
for healthcare across Canada, and, through conditional
cost-sharing, induced provinces and territories to adopt
universal coverage for hospital costs and physician services
on more or less uniform terms. Those conditions were
weakened by new cost-sharing arrangements in the 1970s,
but reaffirmed in 1984 with the Canada Health Act.
Starting in the 1980s and intensifying through to the
mid-1990s, successive federal governments unilaterally
reduced transfers to the provinces and territories. Fiscal
circumstances eased, and from the late 1990s to 2004
Ottawa steadily augmented funding for healthcare. By
agreement, these new funds were earmarked to achieve
specific objectives, albeit distributed on a formulaic basis.
The largest of these initiatives moved an additional $3.2
billion per year to the provinces and territories. Some
laudable progress was made – for example, waiting times
for specific services were reduced. However, the Panel’s
view is that, overall, this period and these investments
led neither to modernization of the architecture of
Canadian healthcare, nor to serious broadening of the
scope of public coverage.
The last ‘Health Accord’ of this nature committed the federal
government to make six percent annual increases in the
Canada Health Transfer. In 2011 the federal government
unilaterally determined that, after expiry of the 2004
agreement and starting in 2017-18, it would reduce the
annual rate of growth to the rate of GDP growth or three
percent per annum, whichever was larger.
Already facing fiscal pressures, the provinces and territories
have intensified their cost containment measures and
responded with collaborative initiatives such as group
purchasing of prescription pharmaceuticals. However, in
the Panel’s view, these and other commendable front-line
efforts to improve healthcare and augment its value are
limited in part by a serious shortfall in working capital,
and the absence of a cadre of dedicated and expert
personnel who can support efforts to initiate and scale up
improvements in healthcare across Canada.
Collaboration for Healthcare
Innovation: New Model, New
Agency, New Money
The Panel understands that sustaining six percent
compounded growth in the federal transfer is difficult in
the present fiscal circumstances. It has not recommended
any changes to the current plans for transfers. It has also
rejected a return to earlier approaches that depended on
unanimously agreed priorities and formulaic allocations
of funds. Instead, having examined the scope and scale
of the problem, and having examined international and
domestic precedents, the Panel is recommending two key
enabling actions.
The first is a consolidation of the mandates of three existing
agencies and expansion of capacity to create a new vehicle
for accelerated change. As a placeholder, this agency has
been termed the Healthcare Innovation Agency of Canada
(HIAC). HIAC would draw on staff from the Canadian
Foundation for Healthcare Improvement, the Canadian
Patient Safety Institute, and, after a transition period for
completion of its existing projects, Canada Health Infoway.
The second is the provision of fuel for both that vehicle
and to support provinces and territories as they strengthen
their healthcare systems with fundamental reforms and
work with stakeholders to scale up well-tested innovations.
These funds would flow to ‘coalitions of the willing’ –
jurisdictions, institutions, providers, patients, industry, and
committed innovators of all backgrounds. Again as a
placeholder, this has been termed the Healthcare Innovation
Fund (hereafter, the Fund, for short).
About the new Agency: As exemplified by seven panCanadian health organizations and the Canadian Institutes
of Health Research (CIHR), this approach to supporting
national collaboration in specific areas has been used for
more than two decades. CIHR is the largest of these entities
with an annual outlay of approximately $1 billion per
annum. However, its primary mandate has been – and
should remain - the funding of academic research. Each
of the other entities has a specific focus on elements of
innovation, and each can claim unique strengths. However,
none has had a broad innovation mandate, and none has
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anything like the scale to take on such a role. In contrast,
HIAC as a new Agency would be dedicated to catalyzing
change in real-time, evaluating the impacts of those
changes, and accordingly rejecting, revising and reevaluating, or scaling up the resulting innovations.
HIAC should be an arm’s length organization, supported
through the Healthcare Innovation Fund, governed by a
group of eminent Canadians appointed on merit alone,
and linked to one or more advisory committees composed
of representatives of a range of stakeholders, not least
provincial and territorial governments. Its corporate
structure should enable it to provide robust, independent
oversight and direction for a range of projects, including
those fielded across Canada with support from the
Innovation Fund.xliii
About the new Fund: The Healthcare Innovation Fund’s
broad objectives would be to effect sustainable and systemic
changes in the delivery of health services to Canadians.
Its general goals would be to: support high-impact
initiatives proposed by governments and stakeholders;
break down structural barriers to change; and accelerate
the spread and scale-up of promising innovations. It would
not be allocated on the basis of any existing transfer
formulae, nor would its resources be used to fund provision
of healthcare services that are currently insured under
federal, provincial and territorial plans. Allocations would
instead be made on the basis of rigorous adjudication
against transparent specifications, having particular regard
for measurable impacts on health outcomes, creation of
economic and social value, sustainability, scalability, and
a commitment by partners to sustain those innovations
that are demonstrably successful.
The Panel recommends that these two initiatives should
begin as early as possible in the mandate of the Government
that will take office after the election of October 2015. The
outlay from the Fund should rise as needed, with the
expectation that a steady-state target of $1 billion per
annum might in ideal circumstances be reached as early
as 2020. The Agency and the Fund would be important
enablers for many of the specific recommendations made
by the Panel in each of the five identified areas that are
priorities for innovation. Unless otherwise specified, the
Fund and HIAC should be assumed to be the leads from
the federal side in what follows.
xliii As noted earlier, the combined enterprise represented by the Agency
and Fund might be reflected by a collective moniker, such as
Healthcare Innovation Canada.
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Theme 1: Patient Engagement and
Empowerment
The Panel reviewed evidence showing a large gap between
the rhetoric of patient-centred care and the experience of
many patients and families in modern healthcare systems.
It was also encouraged by many teams, institutions and
systems in Canada that have been taking positive steps to
bridge rhetoric and reality. At a system or subsystem level,
the Panel recommends implementation of various models
of payment and accountability organized around patients’
needs, rather than the existing revenue streams of providers
and institutions. At the institutional or regional level,
priority must be given to implementation and scaling-up
of the many programs that have yielded positive results
as regards patient-centred care and patient and family
engagement in the design and evaluation of healthcare
programming and systems.
The Panel has also identified an acute need for developing
and implementing information tools for patients in two
distinct areas. The first is the promotion of health and
healthcare literacy. The second is the scaling-up of best
practices in the use of patient portals, ensuring that patients
effectively co-own their health records. Patient engagement
and co-ownership of health records would be further
facilitated through mobile and digital health solutions that
enable virtual care and empower patients, while meeting
common standards and interoperability requirements. The
role of government in this milieu will be very different
than was the case when Infoway began building information
infrastructure in 2001. As outlined under Theme 3, a
transition in structures and roles is warranted.
Theme 2: Health Systems Integration
with Workforce Modernization
The Panel observed substantial symbiosis between an
integrated healthcare system and an innovative one. US
group health plans illustrate how, even within a very
challenging context, integrated healthcare systems offer
patients enhanced access, along with high quality care
from multi-professional and multi-specialty teams, at costs
lower than current Canadian per capita spending.
Supporting the implementation and iterative improvement
of integrated healthcare demonstrations and ‘bundled
payment’ models must accordingly be a high priority for
the Agency and Fund. Where possible, demonstrations
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
should be implemented that integrate healthcare and social
services or that otherwise provide specific incentives to
addressing social needs, protecting and promoting health,
or preventing disease.
These shifts in payment and accountabilities operate
synergistically with changes in professional roles and
responsibilities. Best practices in inter-professional care
should be scaled up, with particular attention paid to
implementing the recommendations of the Canadian
Academy of Health Sciences report on Optimizing Scopes
of Practice (2014). In a similar vein, the Panel recommends
a collaborative national initiative to examine roles,
responsibilities, and payment of health professionals in
relation to generation of value.
These general priorities for more integrated care carry
additional weight in the realm of Aboriginal healthcare.
A number of recommendations are accordingly directed
to Health Canada and its First Nations and Inuit Health
Branch on this topic. Among these are co-creation of a
First Nations Health Quality Council and a parallel liaison
committee for Inuit representatives, drawing together
Aboriginal representatives and patients, and representatives
of provincial and territorial governments. Experimentation
is already underway with new models of co-governance
of health services for First Nations; the Panel urges
continued exploration of these models along with careful
evaluation, ensuring always that service transfers are
commensurate with resources. A range of other concerns
have also been surfaced for action. Inter alia, these include:
improved health infrastructure and health human resources
for reserves, the administration of the Non-Insured Health
Benefits program and its integration with provincial and
territorial systems, and the need for new models of care
that will mitigate costs and burden of travel.
Theme 3: Technological
Transformation via Digital Health and
Precision Medicine
A third priority for innovation is to capitalize on the exciting
developments underway in the generation and application
of health data and knowledge.
About Health Data and Electronic Health Records:
Development of info-structure has accelerated in Canada,
with wider uptake of electronic health records. However,
Canada lags on many fronts, including meaningful use of
those digital resources, secure access to patient records by
authorized users to enable safe and seamless care, assurance
of digital access to their own records for patients,
development of virtual care applications, and achievement
of sufficient inter-operability and standardization of data
to permit more effective use of all these data for performance
measurement and advanced analytics. The Panel has
recommended action on all those fronts.
As noted earlier, the Panel envisages the short-term
continuation of Canada Health Infoway, with bridge
funding that will enable it to complete current projects.
Thereafter, as the agenda shifts from info-structure to
uptake and applications, Infoway would merge into HIAC
and all further funding for its partnerships should flow
through the Fund.
CIHI would be supported to provide greater transparency
about healthcare in Canada and to lead ‘open data’ efforts.
CIHI would also be expected to pursue more intensive
data-gathering on three fronts: the 30% of healthcare
spending that flows from private sources; health services
for, and health of First Nations, working in partnership
with the First Nations Quality Council; and patientoriented outcome measures. CIHI and the new Agency
would partner with provinces and territories to develop
information appropriate to support integrated delivery
models, including different forms of bundled payments.
Lastly, CIHI would need to ensure greater information
dissemination to a range of audiences – particularly the
general public -- of the information it gathers.
About Precision Medicine: The rapid development of
sophisticated biomarkers is disrupting the prevention,
diagnosis, and treatment of illness – indeed, redefining
existing diseases and their prognoses. Canada has pockets
of strength in precision medicine, and a nascent research
strategy has been led by CIHR. However, what is notably
absent is a national strategy for innovation, i.e., implementing
these concepts into front-line care. For example, the Panel
saw meaningful scope to improve the use of prescription
drugs by applying these techniques – but limited uptake.
The Panel’s recommendations are designed to ensure that
Canada’s diverse populations and single-payer healthcare
systems can be leveraged to our national advantage. It is
particularly important to develop and begin following a
roadmap to ensure that Canada’s healthcare information
and communications technology will support these dataintensive models of care and the rapid-cycle innovations
that characterize precision medicine as a field. The Panel
also urged the scaling-up of models of care in subfields of
CHAPTER 11 — CONCLUDING SUMMARY
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UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
precision medicine that are relatively more mature, such as
pharmacogenomics and cancer diagnosis and treatment. It
perceives that there is substantial potential for the
commercialization of made-in-Canada concepts and tools
in the precision medicine field, provided that a nimble
implementation strategy can be launched as recommended.
Theme 4: Better Value from
Procurement, Reimbursement and
Regulation
As noted, on a value-for-money basis in healthcare, Canada
is lagging many peer nations. The Panel concluded that
changes to healthcare finance, purchasing and regulation
could improve the value received by Canadians in areas
such as prescription drugs, physician services, and medical
technologies. Most of the related recommendations are
directed to Health Canada or existing federal agencies.
Pharmaceutical products stood out as a concern, given
Canada’s extremely high per-capita outlays, our outlier
status as a country with universal healthcare programs but
inequitable and uneven coverage of prescription drugs,
and the cost pressures looming from new biological
compounds. The Panel strongly supports the principle that
every Canadian should be able to afford necessary drugs,
but sees demonstration of wide improvements in pricing
as a prudent precursor to extending coverage, and is
concerned that, absent integration and alignment of
incentives, a new stovepipe of spending on pharmaceuticals
may not have the anticipated cost-control effects. To this
end, it has recommended that existing federal drug plans
reaffirm their desire to join the Council of the Federation’s
pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA) and that
HIAC offer to serve as the secretariat, in conjunction with
exploring strategies to extend the reach of this alliance to
private insurance plans.
In contrast to current industry practice of confidential
rebates, the Panel supports a national push for full
transparency of net prices paid, so that all stakeholders
have enough information to make informed choices. As
well, the high price of pharmaceuticals and move to
collective procurement both suggest the need for a review
of the policies and practices of the Patented Medicines
Pricing Review Board.
Last, the Panel observed that some effective technologies
and practices are slow to diffuse, while obsolete technologies
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CHAPTER 11 — CONCLUDING SUMMARY
and practices persist. To this end it recommended funding
for, and careful evaluation of the impact of, Choosing
Wisely Canada.
Theme 5: Industry as an Economic
Driver and Innovation Catalyst
Other nations are adopting policies designed both to
nurture a domestic healthcare industry and to reshape
interactions with multinational companies that provide
healthcare goods and services. The underlying motivation
is clear: publicly-funded healthcare is invariably a valued
social program, but can also contribute to economic
development. The Panel’s review found that Canada lags
other jurisdictions such as Denmark and the UK in policies
and processes of this nature. In particular, for both drugs
and devices, Canada’s regulatory environments and markets
are characterized by fragmentation, duplication, and
inconsistencies.
The Panel has accordingly recommended a number of
changes, including creation of a Healthcare Innovation
Accelerator Office, to be housed in HIAC, focused on
accelerating the adoption of potentially disruptive
technologies that show early promise of value for money
to the system and benefit for patients. HIAC should also
support the spread and scale-up of improved procurement
processes, e.g. value-based approaches and best practices
such as the competitive dialogue process used by the
European Union and MaRS Excite.
Some of the recommendations in the recent Review of
Federal Support to R&D (2010) will require customization
for the unique features of healthcare enterprises, but are
highly relevant to health-related Canadian companies,
particularly small and medium-sized enterprises. In this
regard, drawing on insights from the 2010 Review, Health
Canada should work in tandem with a range of stakeholders
inside and outside the federal government to develop a
whole-of-government strategy that would support the
growth of Canadian commercial enterprises in the
healthcare field.
In the chapters covering Themes 4 and 5, the Panel is
recommending a number of improvements to the
mechanisms for assessing and regulating drugs and devices,
targeting variously Health Canada and its Health Products
and Food Branch, and the Canadian Agency for Drugs and
Technologies in Health (CADTH). Under theme 5, the
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
Panel urges attention to regulatory enhancements that
might reduce duplication and enable higher quality and
faster reviews without compromising Canada’s current
standards for drug and device safety.
Consensus and Fairness as
Healthcare Evolves
A Federal Role in Consensus-Building: Many of the
Panel’s recommendations have cross-cutting implications.
For example, a more integrated healthcare system has a
much higher probability of yielding a patient-centred
experience than one in which patients and families navigate
a poorly coordinated care with uneven coverage and
incomplete sharing of health records. In the same vein,
interwoven through the report are a number of
recommendations that broadly enable innovation through
consensus-building with or without related legislative or
regulatory action. They are gathered and summarized here.
Technological and social innovation in healthcare have
already generated a variety of ethical and legal issues. The
Panel recommends that Health Canada in partnership with
the new Agency should take the lead in consultation and
consensus building across provinces and territories to
anticipate such issues, and resolve legislative ambiguities
as needed. Obvious pressure points are physician-assisted
dying and genetic discrimination. However, a national
consensus is also needed on protection of patient privacy
while enabling innovation (e.g. in precision medicine and
genomics, mobile health, and various forms of digitized
health records). The Panel has been similarly struck by
continued confusion – and the potential of interjurisdictional inconsistencies – on the matter of patients’
access to and co-ownership of their personal health records.
Last, but not least, in an era when Open Data and Big Data
are seen as twinned enablers of data-driven innovation,
Canadian governments and research agencies have failed
to forge a consensus on how broad sharing of appropriately
anonymized health-related data can safely occur across
and within jurisdictions. As noted, this is critical not only
for rapid innovation in the field of precision medicine, but
for enhancing applied health research and data-driven
innovation in Canada’s healthcare delivery systems.
Financial Fairness in a Period of Transition: Canada’s
total proportion of private spending on healthcare has
been more or less stable at 30% since the late 1990s, but
out-of-pocket spending is rising in relative terms. This is
associated with an inequitable burden on lower-income
Canadians. The inequitable distribution of this burden will
also be exacerbated by population aging given that about
$6 billion was spent out-of-pocket on long-term care and
billions more in other supplies and services that are used
at a much higher rate by senior citizens.
In recommending changes to tax policy that will enhance
fairness, the Panel emphasizes that these are transitional
measures: they do not vitiate the need to achieve universal
coverage for prescription drugs nor the adoption of new
delivery models that might allow cost-effective expansion
of public coverage.
The Panel’s core recommendation in this regard is an
income-scaled Refundable Health Tax Credit (RHTC). The
RHTC would replace the existing supplement and, like
that supplement, , be applied in conjunction with the
existing Medical Expense Tax Credit. The RHTC would
provide tax relief of 25 percent on eligible out-of-pocket
healthcare expenditures up to $3,000 per year, starting
with the first dollar spent on eligible expenses. Additional
expenses would be claimable under the existing Medical
Expense Tax Credit. Provinces would have the option of
adopting the new credit in their tax systems, thereby
potentially increasing its value.
Related recommendations address how the administration
of the RHTC could be structured to help ease the cash-flow
burden of out-of-pocket health costs on individuals and
families with modest incomes. Furthermore, the cost of
this credit would be fully offset both by cancelling the
existing supplement and, more importantly, by taxing the
employer-paid premiums for employer-sponsored private
health and dental plans. This expense, however, would be
considered as a qualifying medical expense under the new
RHTC and/or METC, meaning that employees could claim
it on their income tax return. The Panel believes that these
measures, in their totality, enhance fairness among
taxpayers, as well as helping to mitigate an unfair and
growing burden of out-of-pocket healthcare costs on
Canadians with modest incomes.
Concluding Reflections
The collection of universal healthcare insurance programs
colloquially known as ‘Medicare’ continues to offer essential
services to millions of Canadians, and remains the nation’s
most iconic social program. However, Medicare is aging
badly. The Panel has been left in no doubt that a major
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renovation of the system is overdue, and is chagrined and
puzzled by the inability of Canadian governments – federal,
provincial, and territorial – to join forces and take concerted
action on recommendations that have been made by many
previous commissions, reviews, panels, and experts.
At the outset of the current review, Panel members sensed
that some stakeholders expected a quasi-commercial
‘Dragon’s Den’ exercise – the tidy delineation of five quick
fixes or big trends, a spotlight on a few made-in-Canada
solutions offered by enterprising teams in the private or
public sectors, and some policy palliatives that would justify
placing healthcare on the federal backburner. Panel
members, including the late Dr. Cy Frank, believed in
contrast that their mandate could only be fulfilled by taking
a wide-angle view of healthcare innovation.
To that end senior officials in Health Canada have
consistently supported the Panel members in their work,
and taken in stride the fact that some of the Panel’s findings
might shine a critical light on the Department itself. For
her part, Minister Rona Ambrose has been meticulous in
respecting the Panel’s independence. The Panel would
add that by excellent example, the Minister has illustrated
the positive role that facilitative federal leadership can play
in Canadian healthcare. It bears repeating, however, that
no elected or appointed officials of any government, not
least the Government of Canada, should be assumed to
endorse any of the interpretations, opinions, or
recommendations advanced in this report.
In conclusion, the Panel reiterates that, with bold federal
action and prudent investment, and with a renewed spirit
of collaboration and shared political resolve on the part of
all jurisdictions, Canadian healthcare systems can change
course. What has been proposed above is specifically
designed to move Canada toward a different model for
federal engagement in healthcare – one that depends on
an ethos of partnership, and on a shared commitment to
scale up existing innovations and make fundamental
changes in incentives, culture, accountabilities, and
information systems. As stated in the Foreword to this
report, we do not pretend that this model offers an
immediate remedy for the ills of Canadian healthcare.
However, we have a high degree of confidence that
concerted action on our major recommendations can make
a meaningful difference that will be seen and felt across
Canada by 2025.
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REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
Appendix 1: List of Recommendations
A. Collaboration for Healthcare Innovation: New Model, New Agency,
New Money
New Model, New Money
Starting in 2015-16, create a ten-year Healthcare Innovation Fund with a gradual ramp-up, ideally reaching steadystate by 2020 (4.1).*
•
The Fund’s broad objectives would be to effect sustainable and systemic changes in the delivery of health services
to Canadians. Its general goals would be: to support high-impact initiatives proposed by governments and
stakeholders, to break down structural barriers to change, and to accelerate the spread and scale-up of promising
innovations.
•
The Fund will not be allocated on the basis of any existing transfer formulae, nor will its resources be used to fund
provision of health services that are currently insured under federal, provincial and territorial plans. Funds will be
allocated on the basis of rigorous adjudication against transparent specifications, having particular regard for
measurable impacts on health outcomes, creation of economic and social value, sustainability, scalability, and
commitment of relevant stakeholders to sustaining successful initiatives.
•
The annual outlay from the Fund should rise over time towards a target of $1 billion per annum, derived primarily
from new federal commitments.
•
The Fund’s initiatives will be grouped under five priority themes:
οο patient engagement and empowerment
οο health systems integration with workforce modernization
οο technological transformation via digital health and precision medicine
οο better value from procurement, reimbursement and regulation
οο industry as an economic driver and innovation catalyst
New Agency
Create the Healthcare Innovation Agency of Canada to work with a range of stakeholders as well as governments to
set the long-term vision for the healthcare system and healthcare innovation goals across the Panel’s proposed five
areas of focus (4.2).
•
The Agency should provide oversight and expertise for the Fund, in keeping with the twin goals of removing
structural barriers and supporting spread and scale-up, with the long-term aim of improving Canada’s standing
internationally on key metrics of health system performance.
* Numbers in brackets refer to the location of the recommendation as set out in the body of the report.
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•
The Agency should be an arm’s length organization, funded by the federal government. It should be governed
by a group of eminent Canadians, who would be supported by one or more advisory committees composed of
representatives of a range of stakeholders (provincial and territorial governments, patients, providers, industry
and others). Its corporate structure should enable it to provide robust, independent oversight and direction for
the Fund.
•
The Agency should catalyze and coordinate collaboration with the pan-Canadian health agencies and the Canadian
Institutes for Health Research to ensure alignment of activities.
•
Shift funding and staff for both the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement and the Canadian Patient
Safety Institute to the new Healthcare Innovation Agency of Canada (4.3).
οο This recommendation reflects the relevance of the mandates of both organizations to the promotion of healthcare
innovation. It will also reduce duplication, provide some economies of scale for the federal government, and
streamline a crowded pan-Canadian health organization field.
•
Continue Canada Health Infoway pro tem as a separate organization with staffing to complete projects currently
underway. Once the new Agency is established, fold relevant functions from Infoway into the Agency, and flow
future federal funding for digital health through the Innovation Fund (4.4).
B. Specific Recommendations by Theme
Theme 1: Patient Engagement and Empowerment
Through the new Healthcare Innovation Agency of Canada, with federal investments from the Healthcare Innovation
Fund, pursue the following priorities (5.1):
•
Support provinces, territories, and regional health authorities in undertaking large-scale projects that implement
highly integrated delivery systems that test new forms of payment, where care is organized and financed around
the needs of the patient.
•
Develop and implement a strategy to promote patient and family-centred care in partnership with governments,
patients, providers and others. Elements of this strategy would include:
οο Developing and implementing information tools that patients need.
οο Creating incentives for greater patient engagement at the organizational and system level, with the goal of
improving models of care and system design.
οο Sourcing and supporting mobile and digital health solutions that meet needed common standards and
interoperability requirements.
Adopting and deploying best practices in the development and use of patient portals, including best practices
internationally.
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Theme 2: Health Systems Integration with Workforce Modernization
Through the new Healthcare Innovation Agency of Canada, alongside federal investments from the Healthcare
Innovation Fund, promote integrated delivery systems across Canada.
Relevant themes follow (6.1): •
Develop, implement, and evaluate strategies for ensuring that integrated delivery arrangements in Canada address
social needs and determinants of health, protect and promote health, and prevent disease.
•
Support provinces, territories, and regional health authorities in adapting, scaling up and spreading partial integration
models, e.g. primary care commissioning, portfolio funding for disease management, and assorted bundled payment
strategies. Where possible, introduce elements of competition through tendering or bidding for care contracts.
•
Support pan-Canadian multi-sectoral collaboration to implement the recommendations of the Canadian Academy
of Health Sciences 2014 report Optimizing Scopes of Practice.
•
Review and identify the best practices in inter-professional shared care, with specific reference to leading integrated
delivery models. Promote adaptation, scaling-up and spreading of similar practices in Canadian jurisdictions.
•
Collaborate with provinces and territories, professional associations and others on a pan-Canadian pay commission
to examine the relative value of healthcare services in terms of cost, provider activity and patient outcomes, thereby
helping decision-makers evaluate professional roles, payments and prices.
Through Health Canada, and its First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, pursue the following priorities (6.3).
•
Co-create a First Nations Health Quality Council, in partnership with First Nations representatives and
patients, and with provincial and territorial governments. This Council would report on the quality and safety
of care for First Nations across all sectors and regions. A priority for the First Nations Health Quality Council
should be collaboration with CIHI for data development and collection relevant to First Nations
(see Recommendation 7.6).
•
Co-create a tripartite liaison committee with Inuit representatives and patients, and with the relevant provincial
and territorial governments. The mission of this committee would parallel that of the First Nations Health
Quality Council.
•
Support First Nations leaders, together with willing provinces or territories and other partners, not least the Federal
Government to initiate, evaluate and scale up new models of co-governed integrated care in varied locations across
Canada. Managed by First Nations, these holistic entities should be modelled on international best practices, such
as the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium or the Nuka System of Care.
•
Facilitate the transfer of federal healthcare delivery programs to interested First Nations communities, working in
partnership with First Nations leadership in those communities and the relevant province or territory, while ensuring
that service transfers are accompanied by commensurate resources.
•
Continuously monitor existing initiatives that transfer responsibility for services, such as the BC First Nations
Health Authority, to ensure that devolution strategies are effective, efficient, and equitable.
•
Improve the health infrastructure and health human resource capacity on reserve to meet patients’ needs.
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•
Work with First Nations, Inuit, and other stakeholders to improve the management and responsiveness of the
Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program to enhance access to care through digital technologies and ensure
that it provides coverage comparable to other public and private plans.
οο To this end, the federal government should provide quasi-statutory authorities to Health Canada to adjust or
expand health benefits offered through NIHB within an overall financial framework set by Parliament.
οο Through the combined resources of the Healthcare Innovation Fund, the Healthcare Innovation Agency of
Canada, Health Canada, relevant provincial and territorial partners, First Nations and Inuit communities and
others, develop new models of virtual and physical care to mitigate the hardships incurred by patients and
families when First Nations and Inuit peoples travel to receive healthcare.
Theme 3: Technological Transformation via Digital Health and Precision Medicine
Through Infoway initially and then through the Healthcare Innovation Agency of Canada, accelerate the deployment
of interoperable electronic health records across points of care, including efforts to assist providers and payers in
meaningful use and prioritizing the creation of online portals where patients have mobile access to their own
records (7.5).
•
Ensure future investments in health information technologies are standardized, interoperable, linked across multiple
sites, and available to third parties for assessment of performance.
With support from the Healthcare Innovation Fund, and building on current efforts by organizations such as CIHI,
provide greater transparency about healthcare in Canada, by (7.4):
•
Enabling more accessible and user-friendly information on areas including patient satisfaction, quality, safety,
efficiency, effectiveness and health outcomes.
•
Leading “open data” efforts, by making data available to a wide range of stakeholders, including the public, to
enable development of new tools and approaches.
•
Developing partnerships to build the capacity of health system stakeholders to use data for health system
improvement.
•
Exploring mechanisms to gather and share data about activity in healthcare’s private sector – corresponding to the
30 percent of spending that is not supported by public funds.
Through the Canadian Institute for Health Information, and in partnership with the First Nations Quality Council,
address the significant data gaps that exist in the area of First Nations health, providing a fuller picture, of First Nations
health status, as well as access to care, and quality of services (7.6).
Through the Canadian Institute for Health Information, in collaboration with interested provinces and territories, and
with supplemental support from the Healthcare Innovation Fund as needed, pursue the following priorities (6.2):
•
Expedite work to develop methodologies adaptable for use in physician capitation payment and in designing
integrative or bundled payments based around common episodes of care.
•
Accelerate work in the area of patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) and patient costing data, including
case costing data, to create national risk-adjusted patient grouping methodologies and other tools.
Through the Healthcare Innovation Fund and new Agency, develop and initiate a national Strategy for Implementation
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of Precision Medicine, in concert with provinces, territories, healthcare and health research agencies, and a range of
relevant stakeholders and experts (7.1).
•
This field is characterized by a blurring of the lines between applied research, innovation, and implementation at
scale. The Strategy should seek to leverage Canada’s diverse populations and single-payer healthcare systems as
a competitive advantage.
•
The Strategy should include development of a roadmap of steps needed to ensure that Canada’s health information
and communications technology can support data-intensive models of care and the rapid-cycle innovations that
characterize this field.
•
The Strategy should focus on:
οο Developing and implementing mechanisms to adopt, scale up, and contribute new clinical insights from across
the global field of precision medicine.
οο Establishing a global leadership position in the systematic uptake and iterative improvement of Precision
Medicine methods as applied to clinical care across Canada.
οο Ensuring that national and international collaboration is maximized, and that data are shared widely with due
regard for privacy and security.
οο Fostering the development of the Canadian talent pool not only in the relevant biological and clinical fields,
but in data analytics and software development.
οο Promoting the commercialization of made-in-Canada precision medicine concepts and tools.
Through the Healthcare Innovation Fund, and in partnership with federal and provincial research and innovation
agencies, accelerate the implementation of the above-noted Strategy by assessing and scaling up models of care in the
field of Precision Medicine (7.2).
•
Potential starting points with wide impact include pharmacogenomics in diverse clinical fields, and precision/
personalized cancer care.
οο A major commitment of funds will be needed to launch the broad Strategy across Canada as well as to effect
clinical scaling-up in select fields.
Theme 4: Better Value from Procurement, Reimbursement and Regulation
Through Health Canada, expand the Government of Canada’s approach to regulating drugs beyond drug safety to
better support system decision-making on the cost- effectiveness of drugs (8.2).
•
Consider therapeutic benefits in addition to safety benefits in its approval process.
•
Require drug manufacturers to conduct comparative effectiveness studies.
•
Adjust cost recovery for drug approvals to privilege high impact and value drugs over “me too” drugs.
•
Provide advice to system decision-makers on the interchangeability or similarity of biologics and subsequent entry
biologics.
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Through Health Canada, accelerate work on transparency in its regulatory processes. This should include providing
advance notice as to which products it has under review to permit decision-makers to plan their budgets accordingly.
It also must include making public all data on the safety and effectiveness of drugs and devices (8.3).
Re-orient the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) to better support innovation by
providing real-time advice to decision-makers on drugs and medical devices, and support CADTH to (8.6):
•
Build up its expertise and increase its turnover related to its decisions on technologies to reflect their rapid
life-cycle, including partnering with provincial initiatives that seek to align the pre-market and post-market
assessment processes.
•
Benchmark its turnaround against similar health technology assessment agencies internationally, which play a
central role in providing rapid-cycle guidance on the cost-effectiveness of drugs and technologies.
•
Assume the responsibilities of the Drug Safety and Effectiveness Network (DSEN; currently located in CIHR),
which supports research into the post-market safety and effectiveness of drugs, given the natural affinity of this
work with CADTH’s mandate.
•
Examine and make recommendations related to practices that are becoming obsolescent, such as those that no
longer provide optimal patient outcomes.
Coordinate and integrate existing federal drug plans and reaffirm federal desire to join the Council of the Federation’s
pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (8.1).
Through the new Healthcare Innovation Agency of Canada, with federal investments from the Healthcare Innovation
Fund (8.5):
•
Offer to serve as the secretariat for a pan-Canadian Drug Purchasing Alliance.
•
Work with public and private payers, as well as the pharmaceutical industry and pharmacists, to explore options
to that would improve transparency about drug prices, and ensure that prescribers and patients have enough
information to make informed choices.
•
Collaborate with provincial, territorial, and private drug plans on strategies to extend the reach of collective
purchasing strategies to all Canadians including the potential for bringing private insurers into the pCPA.
Review the Patented Medicines Pricing Review Board to assess its relevance and strengthen its role in protecting
consumers against high drug prices in an era of enhanced collective procurement and coordinated national
pricing (8.4).
Through the new Healthcare Innovation Agency of Canada, with federal investments from the Healthcare Innovation
Fund (8.5):
•
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Pursue support for the implementation of the Choosing Wisely Canada initiative in all jurisdictions and carefully
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Theme 5: Industry as an Economic Driver and Innovation Catalyst
Create a Healthcare Innovation Accelerator Office, housed in the Healthcare Innovation Agency of Canada, to (9.1):
•
Work with federal, provincial and territorial ministries of health and other stakeholders to accelerate the adoption of
potentially disruptive technologies that show early promise of value for money to the system and benefit for patients.
οο This would include interacting with companies in pre-market processes to reduce post-market redundancy
(viz. European Union practices, or the MaRS EXCITE model)
.
Through the new Healthcare Innovation Agency of Canada, with federal investments from the Healthcare Innovation
Fund, support the spread and scale-up of measures to improve procurement, including consideration of value-based
approaches and best practices internationally such as the competitive dialogue process in the EU (9.4).
Through Health Canada, in collaboration with Industry Canada, develop a whole-of-government federal strategy to
support the growth of Canadian commercial enterprises in the healthcare field (9.3).
•
The strategy should consider the needs of Canadian companies in the generation, domestic commercialization,
and export of products and services, as well as in attracting foreign investment to the health field.
•
Elements of the strategy should track recommendations from the 2010 report of the Independent Review of Federal
Support for Research and Development, including approaches to encourage greater availability of capital for
innovative start-ups; value-based procurement practices to encourage adoption of high impact innovations; and
support for commercialization and export of successful products.
•
The strategy should be adapted to the unique features of healthcare (e.g., regulatory requirements, primacy of
patient safety, large-scale public purchasers, influence of providers on procurement processes, etc.), including
addressing fragmentation through a simplified process that is easy to navigate for industry.
Through Health Canada, accelerate regulatory harmonization and convergence, while ensuring that safety remains
paramount, to streamline domestic processes with international standards in recognition of the global nature of the
pharmaceutical and medical devices industry. Priorities should include (9.2):
•
Providing advice to small and medium-sized enterprises on how to navigate the healthcare system, including
developing a roadmap of processes and supports.
•
Partnering with the US Food and Drug Administration in order to reduce redundancy without compromising
Canada’s high standards around the safety of products.
Consensus and Fairness as Healthcare Evolves
A Federal Role in Consensus Building
Through Health Canada, take the lead in consultation and consensus building across provinces and territories on
emerging ethical and legal issues arising from technological and social innovation in healthcare, and bring forward
needed legislative changes in a timely fashion (5.2).
Through Health Canada, request the federal Privacy Commissioner to work with provincial and territorial privacy
commissioners to develop a common understanding on how to protect privacy while enabling innovation (e.g. in
precision medicine and genomics, mHealth, and various forms of digitized health records) across Canada (5.3).
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•
Privacy commissioners should be asked to consider how their respective legislative frameworks could be better
harmonized across Canada to reduce any unnecessary duplication or confusion that could impede innovation.
Through the new Healthcare Innovation Agency of Canada, with federal investments from the Healthcare Innovation
Fund (5.1):
•
Support the development of policy and legislative tools to enable patient access to, and co-ownership of, their
own personal health records.
Convene a federal, provincial and territorial dialogue on a pan-Canadian framework that will protect Canadians while
putting put Canada at the forefront of applied genomics and precision medicine, including (7.3):
•
Regulatory and legislative amendments to prohibit genetic discrimination, such as changes to the Canadian
Human Rights Act, the Criminal Code, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, and the
federal Privacy Act.
•
Policies to enable broad sharing of appropriately anonymized data across and within jurisdictions.
οο This is critical not only for rapid innovation in the field of precision medicine, but for enhancing applied health
research and data-driven innovation in Canada’s healthcare delivery systems.
Financial Fairness in a Period of Transition
Through the Department of Finance, and in collaboration with Health Canada, pursue the following initiatives (10.1):
•
Examine the current partial GST/HST rebate system for public sector bodies to reduce distortions arising from
differential tax treatment of hospitals, municipalities, non-for-profit organizations and charities that deliver
healthcare services.
•
Create a new Refundable Health Tax Credit (RHTC) to provide tax relief of 25 percent on eligible out-of-pocket
healthcare expenditures up to $3,000 per year, replacing the Refundable Medical Expense Supplement.
οο The RHTC would apply to the first-dollar spent on eligible expenses, and would be income-tested, with the
full value of the credit made available to lower-income Canadians who bear a significant cost relative to their
means. It would be administratively simple for tax filers, with tax slips issued by insurers and providers of
health services. Payments to individuals with recurring expenses could be made on a quarterly basis.
•
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Make employer-paid premiums for employer-sponsored health and dental benefits a taxable benefit to the employee,
while permitting employees to claim this expense as a qualifying medical expense under the new RHTC or METC.
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Appendix 2: Full List of Acknowledgments
The Panel would like to recognize the great many individuals and organizations, listed below,
whose contributions helped to shape the Panel’s deliberations and final report.
Invited Presentations
The Panel wishes to thank the following individuals for their presentations to the Panel: Michael Green, Trevor Hodge,
and Graham Scott (Canada Health Infoway); Terrence Sullivan, Brian O’Rourke, and Bernadette Preun (Canadian
Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health); Leslee Thompson, Maureen O’Neil, Stephen Samis (Canadian Foundation
for Healthcare Improvement); David O’Toole, Brent Diverty, and Jeremy Veillard (Canadian Institute for Health
Information); Alain Beaudet, Christian Sylvain, Michel Perron (Canadian Institutes of Health Research); Shelly Jamieson
and Nicole Beben (Canadian Partnership Against Cancer); Hugh MacLeod, Catherine Gaulton, and Kim Stelmacovich
(Canadian Patient Safety Institute); Simon Kennedy and Paul Glover (Health Canada); Abby Hoffman (Strategic Policy
Branch, Health Canada); Mary-Luisa Kapelus (First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, Health Canada); Don Husereau
(Institute of Health Economics); David Goldbloom and Jennifer Vornbrock (Mental Health Commission of Canada);
David Williams and Jovan Matic (Ontario Health Innovation Council); and G. Ross Baker (University of Toronto) and
Maria Judd (Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement).
Senior Health Officials
The Panel wishes to thank the following senior health officials for contributing their time and counsel via meetings,
roundtable discussions, correspondence, site visits, and other activities: Hon. Fred Horne and Janet Davidson (Government
of Alberta), Hon. Glen Abernethy and Debbie DeLancey (Government of the Northwest Territories), Colleen Stockley
(Government of Nunavut), Hon. Mike Nixon, and Paddy Meade (Government of Yukon), Stephen Brown (Government
of British Columbia), Karen Herd (Government of Manitoba), Tom Maston (Government of New Brunswick), Hon.
Steve Kent and Bruce Cooper (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador), Peter Vaughan (Government of Nova
Scotia), Hon. Eric Hoskins and Bob Bell (Government of Ontario), Michael Mayne (Government of Prince Edward
Island), Hon. Gaétan Barrette (Government of Quebec), Hon. Dustin Duncan and Max Hendricks (Government of
Saskatchewan), and George Da Pont and Simon Kennedy (Government of Canada).
National and Regional Stakeholder Consultation Sessions
The Panel would like to acknowledge the hundreds of individuals who attended the Panel’s national and regional
stakeholder consultation sessions, which were held across Canada, and extends its thanks to Mary Pat MacKinnon,
Ellis Westwood, Tristan Eclarin, and Heather Fulsom of Ascentum Inc. for their organizational support.
National Stakeholder Association Meeting (Ottawa, Ontario), attended by Wendy Nicklin (Accreditation Canada),
David Moorman (Canada Foundation for Innovation), Vinita Haroun (Canadian Alliance for Long Term Care), Jeremy
Veillard (Canadian Institute for Health Information), Emmanuelle Hébert (Canadian Association of Midwives), Janet
Craik (Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists), Paul Geneau (Canadian Association of Optometrists), Elaine
Orrbine (Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres), Graham D. Sher (Canadian Blood Services), Gabriel
Miller (Canadian Cancer Society), Gary MacDonald (Canadian Dental Association), Jim Keon (Canadian Generic
Pharmaceutical Association), Ivy Bourgeault (Canadian Health Human Resources Network), Gail Crook (Canadian
Health Information Management Association), Nadine Henningsen (Canadian Home Care Association), Sharon Baxter
(Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association), Cindy Forbes (Canadian Medical Association), Mark Ferdinand
(Canadian Mental Health Association), Karima Velji (Canadian Nursing Advisory Committee), Jane Farnham (Canadian
Pharmacists Association), Kate Rexe (Canadian Physiotherapy Association), Glenn Brimacombe (Canadian Psychiatric
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Association), Ian Culbert (Canadian Public Health Association), Wendy Therrien (Colleges and Institutes Canada),
Marsha Sharp (Dietitians of Canada), Glenn Brimacombe and Karen Cohen (Health Action Lobby), Connie Côté
(Health Charities Coalition of Canada), Bill Tholl (HealthCareCAN), Michael Schull (Institute for Clinical Evaluative
Sciences), Nicole DeKort and Brian Lewis (MEDEC), Renata Osika (National Alliance of Provincial Health Resource
Organizations), Ryan Wiley (Research Canada), Cecil Rorabeck (Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada),
Francine Lemire (The College of Family Physicians of Canada), Suzanne Corbeil (U15 Group of Canadian Research
Universities), Tofy Mussivand (University of Ottawa), and Jo-Anne Poirier (Victoria Order of Nurses Canada).
Edmonton, Alberta, attended by Peter Silverston (Addiction and Mental Health Strategic Clinical Network), Deborah
Marshall (Alberta Bone and Joint Institute), Donna Durand (Alberta Council on Aging), L. Miin Alikhan (Alberta
Health), Andrew Neuner (Alberta Health Quality Council), Deb Gordon, Troy Stooke, and Kathryn Todd (Alberta Health
Services), Tim Murphy and Pamela Valentine (Alberta Innovates Health Solutions), Donald Back (Alberta Innovates
Technology Futures), Don Dick and Linda Woodhouse (Bone and Joint Strategic Clinical Network), Colleen Norris and
Blair O’Neill (Cardiovascular Health and Stroke Strategic Clinical Network), Mehadi Sayed (Clinisys), Colleen Enns
(Edmonton Oliver Primary Care Network), Brian Rowe (Emergency Strategic Clinical Network), Isabel Henderson
(Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital), Chad Saunders (Haskayne School of Business), Duncan Robinson (Seniors Health
Strategic Clinical Network), Tyler White (Siksika Health Services), Chris Lumb and Randy Yatscoff (Tech Edmonton),
Christopher McCabe and Doug Miller (University of Alberta), Herbert Emery (University of Calgary), and Jann Beeston
(Volunteer Alberta).
Halifax, Nova Scotia, attended by Dianne Calvert-Simms (Cape Breton Health Authority), Lynn Edwards, Rick Gibson,
and Steven Soroka (Capital District Health Authority), Marjorie Willison (Chebucto Connections), Stewart Cameron,
Michael Dunbar, Ray LeBlanc, Marilyn Macdonald, David Petrie, Victor Rafuse, and Gail Tomblin Murphy (Dalhousie
University), Sarah MacDonald (Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority), Chad Munro (Halifax Biomedical
Inc.), Patrick McGrath (IWK Health Centre), Travis McDonough (Kinduct Technologies), Christine Grimm and Eleanor
Hubbard (Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness), Krista Connell (Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation),
Janet Knox (Provincial Health Authority), and Bill Bean (QEII Foundation).
Regina, Saskatchewan, attended by Angela Muzyka and Beth Vachon (Cypress Health Region), Pauline Rousseau and
Mark Wyatt (Ministry of Health, Government of Saskatchewan), Greg Marchildon (Johnson Shoyama Graduate School
of Public Policy), the late Lawrence LeMoal (Patients’Voices), Meredith Faires and Kathy Malejczyk (Regina Qu’Appelle
Health Region), Gary Teare (Saskatchewan Health Quality Council), Tom McIntosh (University of Regina), Beth
Horsburgh, and Cathy Jeffery (University of Saskatchewan), Dana Monette and Justin Monette.
Toronto, Ontario, attended by Frank Gavin (Canadian Family Advisory Network), Martin Vogel (Canadian Medical
Association), Tai Huynh (Choosing Wisely Canada), Gabriela Prada (Conference Board of Canada), Zayna Khayat
(MaRS EXCITE), David Price (McMaster University), Erik Yves Landriault (Royal Danish Consulate General (Toronto)),
Helen Angus, Nancy Kennedy, and Suzanne McGurn (Ministry of Health & Long Term Care, Government of Ontario),
Vasanthi Srinivasan (Ontario SPOR Support Unit), Edward Brown (Ontario Telemedicine Network), Jeffrey Turnbull
(Ottawa Hospital), Sandy Schwenger (PatientCare Solutions), Andrea Englert-Rygus (Plexxus), PJ Devereaux (Population
Health Research Institute), Lesley Larsen (Saint Elizabeth), Joshua Liu (Seamless MD), John Puxty (St. Mary’s of the
Lake, Providence Care), Michael Julius (Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre), Wendi Bacon (TD Bank), Jennifer Stinson
(Toronto Hospital for Sick Children), Janet Martin, Paul Paolatto, and Anne Snowdon (University of Western Ontario),
Joan Fisk (Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network), and Sacha Bhatia (Women’s College Hospital).
Vancouver, British Columbia, attended by Richard Lester (British Columbia Centre for Disease Control), Shirley
Vickers (British Columbia Innovation Council), Nancy Paris (British Columbia Institute of Technology), Warner Adam
and Travis Holyk (Carrier Sekani Family Services), Nathalie Dakers (CDRC Ventures Inc.), Bruce McManus (Centre of
Excellence for the Prevention of Organ Failure (PROOF)), Karimah Es Sabar (Centre for Drug Research and Development),
Christine Penney (College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia), David Ostrow (Fraser Health), Paul Drohan
(LifeSciences British Columbia), Alexandra Greenhill (Medeo), Diane Finegood (Michael Smith Foundation for Health
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Research), Heather Davidson, Doug Hughes, and Lynn Stevenson (Ministry of Health, Government of British Columbia),
Olive Godwin (Prince George Division of Family Practice), Leanne Heppell and Margot Wilson (Providence Health
Care), Stefan Fletcher (RebalanceMD), Ryan D’Arcy and Paul Terry (Simon Fraser University), Allen Eaves (Stemcell
Technologies Inc.), Catherine Helliwell (THINKPHC), Jim Christenson, Martin Dawes, Kendall Ho, Nancy Meagher,
Steve Morgan, Geoff Payne, and Roanne Preston (University of British Columbia), and Wendy Hansson (Vancouver
Coastal Health).
Winnipeg, Manitoba, attended by Andrea Kwasnicki (Canadian Diabetes Association), Marion Cooper (Canadian
Mental Health Association of Winnipeg), Daniel Lussier (Catholic Health Corporation of Manitoba), Elaine Csupak
(Eveline Street Clinic), Naranjan Dhalla (International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences), Preetha Krishnan (Lions
Personal Care Centre), Bob Thompson (Manitoba Caregiver Advisory Committee), Diana Clarke (Manitoba Centre for
Nursing and Health Research), Dave Schellenberg (Manitoba Council on Aging), Brie Demone, Geof Langen, and
Marcia Thomson (Manitoba Health), Doug McCartney (Manitoba Innovation, Energy and Mines), Sheila Carter
(Manitoba Métis Foundation), Brenda Dawyduk (Northern Regional Health Authority (Manitoba)), Denise Widmeyer
(Patient Safety Initiatives), Christina Weise (Research Manitoba), Michel Tétreault (St. Boniface Hospital), Charles
Burchill, Kevin Coombs, Neal Davies, Terry Klassen, Sara Kreindler, Alan Menkis, Beverly O’Connell, Caroline Snider,
and Roberta Woodgate (University of Manitoba), Martha Ainslie and Ken Rannard (Winnipeg Regional Health Authority),
and Roxanne Myslicki (Youville Community Health Centre).
Regional and Site Visits
The Panel wishes to thank the following individuals and organizations for their hospitality and for sharing their time
and expertise over the course of the Panel’s regional and site visits.
Baltimore, Maryland and Washington D.C., United States, organized with support from Pierre-Gerlier Forest,
Angelina Filipova, and Becky Newcomer of the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University; staff
from the Office of Global Affairs, United States Department of Health and Human Services; Greg Alcock of the Brookings
Institution; Jason Sutherland of the University of British Columbia; Marcy Opstal of the Agency for Healthcare Research
and Quality; and Stefanie Mosier and Andrew Phillips of the Office of International Affairs, Health Canada; attended
by Pierre-Gerlier Forest, Greg Alcock, Jason Sutherland and Marcy Opstal (above), Jeffrey Brady, Steven Cohen, Steven
Hill, Ernst Moy, and Quyen Ngo-Metzger, (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality), Gerard Anderson, Karen
Davis, James Gilman, Hadi Kharrazi, Michael Klag, David Peters, Joshua Sharfstein, and Albert Wu (Bloomberg School
of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University), Keith Fontenot, Elaine Kamarck, Alice Rivlin, and Louise Sheiner (Brookings
Institution), Gilles Gauthier (Embassy of Canada in Washington), Cynthia Anderson, Amy Bassano, Patrick Conway,
Ashley Corbin, Darren DeWalt, Ryan Galloway, Sheila Hanley, Ed Hutton, Karen Jackson, Frances Jensen, James
Johnston, Mary Kapp, Pauline Lapin, Linda Magno, Renee Mentnech, Doug Nock, Mai Pham, Rahul Rajkumar, Noemi
Rudolph, Darshak Sanghavi, and Naomi Tomoyasu (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation), Stuart Guterman
and Robin Osborn (Commonwealth Fund), and Cristina Rabadan-Diehl and Alyson Rose-Wood (US Department of
Health and Human Services).
New Brunswick, organized with support/participation of Trish Fanjoy and Lyne St-Pierre-Ellis (Department of Health,
Government of New Brunswick); attended by Matthew Crossman (Ambulance NB), Gérin Girouard, Renée Laforest,
Bruce MacFarlane, Nancy Roberts, Jennifer Russell, Joanne Stone, and Mark Wies (Department of Health, Government
of New Brunswick), Marlien McKay (Department of Healthy and Inclusive Communities, Government of New Brunswick),
Anne Macies (Department of Intergovernmental Affairs, Government of New Brunswick), Derrick Jardine (FacilicorpNB),
John McGarry (Horizon Health Network), Stephane Robichaud (New Brunswick Health Council), Anthony Knight
(New Brunswick Medical Society), Jennifer Dickison and Marilyn Quinn (New Brunswick Nurses Union), Paul Blanchard
(New Brunswick Pharmacists Association), Roxanne Tarjan (Nurses Association of New Brunswick), and Jean Castonguay
(Vitalité Health Network).
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Newfoundland and Labrador, organized with support/participation of Chad Blundon and Tara Power (Department
of Health and Community Services, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador), James Rourke (Memorial University
of Newfoundland); attended by Rosemarie Goodyear (Central Health), Karen Stone (Department of Health and
Community Services, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador), Mark Ploughman (Department of Innovation,
Business and Rural Development, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador), Tony Wakeham (Labrador-Grenfell
Health), Deborah Kelly, Pat Parfrey and Proton Rahman (Memorial University of Newfoundland), and Mike Barron
(Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information).
Northwest Territories, organized with support/participation from Kyla Kakfwi-Scott (Department of Health and Social
Services, Government of Northwest Territories); attended by Ewan Affleck, Karen Blondin Hall, Sabrina Broadhead,
Jim Corkal, André Corriveau, Sue Cullen, Derek Elkin, and Alicia Tumchewics, (Department of Health and Social
Services, Government of the Northwest Territories), with a special thanks to Debbie DeLancey.
Nunavut, attended by Maureen Baikie, Johan Sebastian Glaudemans, Gogi Greeley, Linnea Ingebrigtson, Rosemary
Keenainak, and Alexander MacDonald (Department of Health, Government of Nunavut), Darlene McPherson (Iqaluit
Health Services), and James Eetoolook (Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated), with a special thanks to Colleen Stockley.
Yukon, attended by Lori Duncan (Council of Yukon First Nations), Cecilia Fraser, Sabrina Kinesella, Shannon Ryan,
Sharon Specht, Emily Wale, and Sherri Wright (Department of Health and Social Services, Government of Yukon), Gaye
Hanson (Hanson and Associates), Jeanie Dendys and Carmen Gibbons (Kwanlin Dün First Nation), with a special
thinks to Paddy Meade.
TAPESTRY Site Visit (Teams Advancing Patient Experience: Strengthening Quality), McMaster University
(Hamilton, Ontario), organized with support/participation from David Price and Melissa Watson (McMaster University);
attended by Ernie Avilla, Tracy Carr, Lisa Dolovich, Dale Guenter, Doug Oliver, Cathy Risdon, and Alix Stosic (McMaster
University).
Roundtable Discussions
The Panel would also like to thank the experts who contributed to the Panel’s many special roundtable discussions:
Meeting with the National First Nations Health Technicians Network, Assembly of First Nations (Winnipeg),
organized with support/participation of Sandra Isaac-Maan and Erin Tomkins of the Assembly of First Nations; attended
by Ardell Cochrane (Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs), Michelle Degroot (BC First Nations Health Authority), Tracy Antone
(Chiefs of Ontario), Nadine McRee (Confederacy of Treaty 6 First Nations), Lori Duncan (Council of Yukon First Nations),
Roxanne Woodward (Dene First Nations), Kyle Prettyshield (Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations), Rosanne
Sark (Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI), Sophie Picard (Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission),
Carolynn Small Legs (Treaty 7 Management Corporation), Kristopher Janvier (Treaty 8 First Nations), Peter Birney
(Union of New Brunswick Indians), and Sally Johnson (Union of Nova Scotia Indians).
Montreal Roundtable on Healthcare Innovation (Montreal, Quebec), organized with support/participation of JeanLouis Denis of the École nationale d›administration publique and Karine Guertin of the Université de Montréal;
attended by Johanne Salvail (Hôpital Sacré-Coeur), Hélène Boisjoly, Damien Contandriopoulos, Vincent Dumez,
Johanne Goudreau, Yves Joanette, Kelley Kilpatrick, Caroline Larue, Marie-Pascale Pomey, Catherine Régis, and Cara
Tannenbaum (Université de Montréal), Mylaine Breton (Université de Sherbrooke), and Christine Loignon (Université
de Sherbrooke).
Meeting with La Table des Soins Infirmiers du Réseau Universitaire Intégré de Santé, University of Montreal
(Montreal, Quebec) organized with support from the Faculty of Nursing Sciences at the the Université de Montréal;
attended by Karine Bouchard, Chantal Cara, Manouche Casimir, René DesCôteaux, Steve Desjardins, Sylvie Dubois,
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Marcela Ferrada-Videla, Annie-Claude Forget, Lucie Gagnon, Julie Gagnon, Raynald Gareau, Claudel Guillemette,
Karine Houle, Jocelyne Lacroix, Carole Paquin, Mme Roberge, Marielle Roy, Johanne Salvail, Marie-Josée Simard, Sylvie
St-Pierre, Jean-Sébastien Turcotte.
Best Brains Exchange on Precision and Personalized Medicine (Ottawa), organized with support/participation from
Alan Bernstein of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (meeting moderator) and Meghan Baker and Alison
Bourgon of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; attended by Sohrab Shah (British Columbia Cancer Agency),
Jane Aubin, Helen Loughrey, Michel Perron, Etienne Richer, Rachel Syme, and Robyn Tamblyn (Canadian Institutes
for Health Research), James Kennedy (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health), Kym Boycott and Alex Mackenzie
(CHEO Research Institute), David Levine (D.L. Strategic Consulting), Ruslan Dorfman (GeneYouIn), Cindy Bell (Genome
Canada), Guy Rouleau (McGill University), Tom Hudson (Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, University of Toronto),
Duncan Stewart (Ottawa Hospital Research Institute), Timothy Caulfield (University of Alberta), Peter Liu (University
of Ottawa Heart Institute), Mansoor Husain and Sachdev Sidhu (University of Toronto), Jean-Claude Tardif (the
Université de Montréal), and Richard Kim (London Health Sciences Centre, Western University).
Tax Incentives Roundtable (Ottawa), organized with support/participation of Herb Emery and Lindsay Heighington
of the University of Calgary; attended by Chris Kuchciak (Canadian Institute for Health Information), Stephen Frank
(Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association), Owen Adams (Canadian Medical Association), Marc-André Gagnon
(Carleton University), Louis Thériault (Conference Board of Canada), Keith Horner (formerly of the federal Department
of Finance), Helen McElroy (Health Canada), Henri-Paul Rousseau (Power Corporation of Canada), Claudia Sanmartin
(Statistics Canada), and Jennifer Zwicker (University of Calgary).
CEO Roundtable (Toronto), organized with support/participation from Hon. John Manley, Susan Scotti, and Joe
Blomeley of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives; attended by Mary Deacon (Bell Mental Health Initiative), Robert
Amyot (CAE Healthcare), Hitesh Seth (CGI), Elyse Allan (GE Canada), Barry Burk (IBM Canada Inc.), Robert Chant
(Loblaw Companies Inc.), David Simmonds (McKesson Canada), Ghislain Boudreau (Pfizer Canada Inc.), Jeff Leger
(Shoppers Drug Mart), James Graziadei (Siemens Canada Inc.), Robert Hardt (Siemens Canada Inc.), and Josh Blair
(Telus Health and Telus International).
Industry/Government Roundtable (Toronto), organized with support/participation of Jasmine Brown, Hanna Price,
and John Sproule of the Institute of Health Economics; attended by Geoff Fernie (Apnea Dx), Heather Chalmers (GE
Canada), Susan Fitzpatrick (Ministry of Health & Long Term Care, Government of Ontario), Jeff Ruby (Newtopia),
Sandy Schwenger (PatientCare Solutions and M-Health Solutions), Andrea Englert-Rygus (Plexxus), William Falk
(PwC), Shirlee Sharkey (Saint Elizabeth), Joshua Liu (Seamless MD), Adalsteinn Brown (University of Toronto), and
David O’Neil (Zimmer).
International Summit on Healthcare Innovation and High-Performing Health Systems (Toronto), organized with
support/participation of Terrence Sullivan (meeting moderator) and Marcella Sholdice (note-taker) (Terrence Sullivan
and Associates); Zayna Khayat of MaRS; Erik Landriault of the Royal Danish Consulate General (Toronto); and Jeremy
Veillard of the Canadian Institute for Health Information; attended by Janet Davidson (Alberta Health, Government
of Alberta), Anthony Sherbon (Australian Independent Hospital Pricing Authority), Andrew Wiesenthal (formerly of
the Permanente Federation), Bruce Cooper (Department of Health and Community Services, Government of Newfoundland
& Labrador), Paddy Meade (Department of Health and Social Services, Government of Yukon), Eleanor J. Hubbard
(Department of Health and Wellness, Government of Nova Scotia), Michael Mayne (Department of Health and Wellness,
Government of Prince Edward Island), Tom Maston (Department of Health, Government of New Brunswick), Colleen
Stockley (Department of Health, Government of Nunavut), Paul Glover (Health Canada), Molly Porter (Kaiser Permanente
International), Karen Herd (Manitoba Health, Government of Manitoba), Joan Hentze (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of
Denmark), Bob Bell (Ministry of Health & Long Term Care, Government of Ontario), Stephen Brown (Ministry of
Health, Government of British Columbia), Niek Klazinga (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development),
and Martin Marshall (University College of London).
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Patient Roundtable (Toronto), organized with support from Mary Pat MacKinnon, Shanna Buzza, and Tristan Eclarin
of Ascentum Inc.; Andrew Macleod of the Change Foundation; Maria Judd, Jessie Checkley, and Paula Kourny of the
Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement; Carol Fancott and Ross Baker of the University of Toronto; Patients
Canada; and Angela Morin; attended by Judy Berger, Brian Clark, Mario Dicarlo, Anya Humphrey, Linda Jones, Maciej
Karpinski, Donna Lalonde, Sweeta Malhortra, Derek Porrity, and Nancy Xia.
Youth Engagement Sessions (Ottawa and virtual), organized with support from Sharif Mahdy of the Students Commission
of Canada and Michel Blanchard and Roberta Acason of the Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch,
Health Canada; attended by members of Health Canada’s National Youth Leadership Team on Tobacco Control and
the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s National Youth Advisory Committee.
Interviews
The Panel would like to thank the following individuals for taking the time to participate in key informant interviews
with members of the Panel and the Healthcare Innovation Secretariat: David Bates (Brigham and Women’s Hospital),
Jennifer Zelmer (Canada Health Infoway), Andrew Wiesenthal (Deloitte), Christine Couture (Government of Alberta),
Vijay Bashyakarla (Government of Nova Scotia), David Brook and Peter Singer (Grand Challenges), Carrine McIsaac
(Health Outcomes Worldwide), Dianne Caldbick and Shannon Glenn (Industry Canada), Kenneth Kizer (Institute for
Population Health Improvement, UC Davis Health System), Eddy Nason (Institute on Governance), Chris Ham (King’s
Fund), Alison Blair and Karen Moore (Ministry of Health & Long Term Care, Government of Ontario), Renata Osika
(National Health of Provincial Health Research Organizations), Jeremy Theal (North York General Hospital), Joe Selby
(Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute), Michael Decter, Sholom Glouberman and Francesca Grosso (Patients
Canada), Deborah Gordon-El-Bihbety (Research Canada), Poul Erik Hansen (Rosklide University), Daniel Forslund
(Stockholm County Council), Morten Elbaek Petersen (Sundhed), David Blumenthal, Donald Moulds, and Robin
Osborn (The Commonwealth Fund), Phillip Bazel (University of Calgary), Charles Friedman (University of Michigan),
Lori Turik (University of Western Ontario, Ivey Business School), Sameh El-Saharty (World Bank), and the late Brenda
Zimmerman (York University).
Stakeholder Submissions
The Panel would like to thank the 200+ individuals and organizations who submitted formal input via the Panel’s online
stakeholder consultation process: Accreditation Canada, Albert Friesen, Alberta Health Services, Alzheimer Society of
Canada, Arthritis Alliance of Canada, Assembly of First Nations, Association of Faculties of Medicine Canada, BC
Alliance on TeleHealth Policy and Research, BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services, BIOTECanada, [BIOTECanada,
Canada’s Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies Colleges and Institutes of Canada, HealthCareCAN, Health
Charities Coalition of Canada, MEDEC and Research Canada], Bone & Joint Canada, BRYTECH Inc., Canada’s ResearchBased Pharmaceutical Companies, Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance, Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies
in Health, Canadian AIDS Society, Canadian Association of Advanced Practice Nurses, Canadian Association of Medical
Radiation Technologists, Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, Canadian Association of Optometrists,
Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres, Canadian Association of Retired Persons, Canadian Association of
Schools of Nursing, Canadian Association of the Deaf, Canadian Blood Services, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation,
Canadian Cancer Research Alliance, Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Chiropractic Association, Canadian Counselling
and Psychotherapy Association, Canadian Dental Association, Canadian Dental Hygienists Association, Canadian
Doctors for Medicare, Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement,
Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association, Canadian Health Coalition, Canadian Health Food Association, Canadian
Home Care Association, Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association, Canadian Institute for Health Information,
Canadian Institute of Actuaries, Canadian Malnutrition Task Force, Canadian Massage Therapist Alliance, Canadian
Medical Association, Canadian Men’s Health Foundation, Canadian Mental Health Association, Canadian Nurses
Association, Canadian Nurses Foundation, [Canadian Pain Society, Canadian Pain Coalition, Chronic Pain Association
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REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
of Canada, Pain BC and ILC Foundation], Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, Canadian Patient Safety Institute,
Canadian Pharmacists Association, Canadian Physiotherapy Association, Canadian Psychiatric Association, Canadian
Psychological Association, Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science, Canadian Union of Public Employees,
Canadian Virtual Hospice, Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation, Carolyn McGregor, Choosing Wisely
Canada, CNIB, Cochrane Canada, Collaborative Mental Health Care Network, Colleges and Institutes Canada,
Community Health Nurses of Canada, Community Palliative Care Network, Concordia University, Congress of Union
Retirees of Canada, CONNECT Communities Ltd., Consortium national de formation en santé, Council of Canadians,
Craig Louie, David Tilson, Dieticians of Canada, [John Campbell, Sanjay Rao, John Moore and Dana Pulsifer], Dan
Smyth, David Gotlib and Jose Silveira, David Ostrow, Gregor Reid, Ivy Lynn Bourgeault, James Lunney, Janusz
Kaczorowski, Joachim Sehrbrock and Theo DeGagne, Murray Enns, Olubankole Obikoya, Patrick Gullane, Richard
Riopelle, Stuart MacLeod, Tom Marrie and Brian Postl, Veronica Asgary-Eden, Vivian Rambihar, Francesca Grosso and
Michael Decter, Genome Canada, GS1 Canada, Health Care Co-operatives Federation of Canada, Health Charities
Coalition of Canada, Health Innovates Ottawa, HealthCareCAN, Heart & Stroke Foundation, Heather Hadjistavropoulos,
Hospice Muskoka, Information Technology Association of Canada, Canada Health Infoway, Injury Prevention Centre,
Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Institute of Health Economics, International Eating Disorders Action, Invicta
Health Inc., Itarget, IVEY International Centre for Health Innovation, Janssen Inc., [Jim Whitlock, Patrick Sullivan and
Antonia Palmer], John Have, KIDSCAN, Kingston Family Health Team, Lumira Capital, MaRS Health, MEDEC, Medical
Devices Commercialization Centre, Michael Wolfson, Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (Quebec) Montfort
Hospital, National Alliance of Provincial Health Organizations, National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly, Neurological
Health Charities Canada, NEXJ Systems Inc., Nuvitik, OCAD University, Patients Canada, Patients for Patients Safety
Canada, Réjean Hébert, Prognostic and Therapeutic Harmonization, Providence Health, Registered Nurses Association
of Ontario, Research Canada, Rick Hansen Institute, Roche Diagnostics, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of
Canada, Schizophrenia Society of Ontario, South Medic, Southlake Regional Health Centre, Speech-Language &
Audiology Canada, Stem Cell Network, Stemcell Technologies, Stretch It Physiotherapy Services, Strongest Families
Institute, TAPESTRY, Tele-Link Mental Health Program, TELUS Health Solutions, Terry Fox Research Institute, The Bear
Clinic, The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) and CDRD Ventures Inc., The Change Foundation,
The College of Family Physicians of Canada, [The Community Against Preventable Injuries, The Injury Prevention
Centre, The BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit and Parachute], The ILC Foundation, The Kidney Foundation of
Canada, the Canadian Society of Nephrology and the Canadian Society of Transplantation, Therapeutic Touch Networks
of Canada, TransForm Shared Service Organization, Vancouver Coastal Health, Victoria Health Cooperative, and XAHIVE.
Finally, the Panel would like to extend its utmost gratitude to the 260 members of the public who took the time to
participate in the Panel’s online public consultation process.
Note: Given the breadth and diversity of the Panel’s activities and the large number of contributing individuals and organizations, the above list may contain errors of
omission or attribution. The Panel regrets any such errors and apologizes to anyone who may have been inadvertently missed or otherwise incorrectly acknowledged.
APPENDIX 2
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UNLEASHING INNOVATION: EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE FOR CANADA
Appendix 3: List of Commissioned Research
and Analysis
The Panel wishes to recognize the following individuals and organizations for their contributions to the Panel’s
research and analysis activities.
Regional and National Stakeholder
Consultations – Synthesis Report
Ascentum Inc.
Summary Report of the Advisory
Panel on Healthcare Innovation’s
Patient Roundtable
Ascentum Inc.
Patient Engagement: Catalyzing
Improvement and Innovation in
Canadian Healthcare
G. Ross Baker and Carol Fancott of the University of Toronto
and Maria Judd, Elina Farmanova, and Christine Maika of
the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement
Tax-Assisted Approaches for Helping
Canadians Meet Out of Pocket
Healthcare Costs
J.C. Herbert Emery, University of Calgary
Real vs. Alleged Privacy Barriers to
Healthcare Innovation in Canada
David Flaherty, David H. Flaherty Inc.
Review of Leading Provincial and
Territorial Healthcare Innovations in
Canada
Diane Gagnon, University of Ottawa
Montreal Roundtable on Healthcare
Innovation – Summary Report
Karine Guertin, University of Montreal
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Impact of Innovation on
expenditure growth and options for
implementation for Canada
Don Husereau, Institute of Health Economics
Industry/Government Collaboration
in Health Innovation Roundtable
– Summary Report and
Recommendations
Institute of Health Economics
An Overview of Canada’s Health
Innovation Architecture
Ivey Centre on Health Innovation, Western University
Youth Perspectives on Healthcare
Innovation in Canada – Summary
Report
The Students Commission of Canada
International Summit on Healthcare
Innovation and High-Performing
Health Systems: Lessons for Canada –
Final Summary Report
Terrence Sullivan and Marcella Sholdice, Terrence Sullivan
and Associates
Bundled payments: Can they help
Canadian Health Systems?
Jason Sutherland and Erik Hellsten, University of British
Columbia
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
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