Sask. Health Authority to lead $3.5m western Canada innovation initiative

A new health project announced by the federal government will present innovative technological solutions to help with health care challenges across the country.

The government of Canada announced Monday that the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) will lead the new innovation initiative comprising of health organizations from the four western provinces.

SHA is receiving $3.5 million from Western Economic Diversification Canada to help create what will be called the CAN Health West Network.

The project will aid in assisting organizations in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba by bringing them together to find results to their challenges.

Suann Laurent, the chief operating officer for the SHA, says why the health authority in Saskatchewan was chosen to lead this initiative over other organizations from western Canada.

“What they told us is that they thought we’re well positioned to be looking at this initiative,” she said following the announcement. “This western partnership is really looking at all the provinces to see how we can all be successful since we will all be trying different solutions.”

According to a release from the SHA on Monday, the network is designed to enable health care organizations to work directly with medical-technology companies in order to identify, develop and scale solutions to common health system challenges.

While the partnership is still in its early days, Laurent said there will be plenty of benefits for the residents of Saskatchewan.

“What we’ll be doing is looking at problems that we’re trying to fix with a partner and have a proof of concept to be able to improve technologies that we bring to the table.”

There are items officials are already looking at to align with their strategy such as virtual care for Saskatchewan health patients.

Following the news, the next steps for SHA members will be to start looking at possible structures, putting a team together and meeting with partners.

Funding for the network is in place until 2022 according to the government.

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