The problem: Canadians’ future health and well-being depends on an innovative and adaptive healthcare system, one that has shifted from its current state to a future state that is safer, more sustainable, predictive and preventative, individualized and value-based—shifts that will lead to better clinical outcomes.

Medtech innovators are some of the key enablers helping to make these shifts happen, but they’re facing an uphill climb to reach citizens and the talented healthcare providers who take care of them. Typically, after an innovative product and/or service is developed and approved for sale, current healthcare procurement practices limit any dialogue between the healthcare system, the payers of the technology/service and the medtech innovators, creating a hurdle to adoption and scaling capacity, and ultimately driving the innovators to seek sales opportunities in other jurisdictions. As a result, Canadians, and more specifically Ontarians, lose out on some of the best medtech innovations.

Healthcare delivery organizations (HDOs) such as hospitals, clinics, homecare providers and long-term care providers are also losing out, which impacts their ability to deliver better and more sustainable care. For this reason, HDOs around the world have been piloting the use of innovation procurement methodologies to access and connect more effectively with medtech innovators (including startups, small- and medium-size enterprises and large established players).

At the core of innovation procurement is an outcomes-based specifications (OBS) process that gives suppliers sufficient flexibility to creatively propose innovative solutions that meet or exceed desired outcomes. In contrast to traditional procurement specifications, in which specific product or service features are described, OBS describe the performance and outcomes that must be fulfilled to the end user. In Canada, the Healthcare Supply Chain Network has been taking a leading role in innovation procurement training for HDOs and has developed an Innovation Procurement Toolkit for all to use and get started with.

The solution: Using innovation procurement and outcomes-based specifications to drive direct clinical and economic outcomes in healthcare.

To kick-start innovation procurement in Ontario-based HDOs, the Health Technology Exchange (HTX) launched the new REACH program: Resources for Evaluating, Adopting and Capitalizing on Innovative Healthcare Technology. REACH, a 3.5-year healthcare provider–driven initiative, seeks to demonstrate new ways to evaluate, procure and adopt beneficial medical technologies, addressing high-priority health system problems. REACH will provide matching grant funding ranging from $300,000 to $600,000 to 10 to 12 competitively selected projects, with some exceptions of up to $1 million.

Applications for REACH are now open

[inlinetweet]Expressions of interest for HTX’s REACH program are open and applications are due August 17, 2015[/inlinetweet].

Apply now.

HTX will be hosting four information workshops across Ontario between July 21 and 30, 2015. Healthcare delivery organizations are encouraged to attend to learn more about this initiative. For further information, contact the HTX team at REACH@htx.ca.

Photo credit: phalinn under CC BY 2.0

Hadi Salah

Hadi is the Manager, Health Ecosystem Partnerships at MaRS, responsible for developing relationships with forward-thinking healthcare delivery organizations (hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, home care agencies) as well as companies in the private sector. See more…