Health Minister Seeks More Innovation to Sustain Public Health Care

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

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Canada’s newly appointed health minister, Rona Ambrose, mentioned in a statement that the best way to sustain and reinforce Canada’s medicare system is to invest in innovation and research. During a meeting with delegates to the Canadian Medical Association annual meeting in Calgary on Monday, Minister Ambrose mentioned that “our policy challenge – one which I plan to lead in my tenure as health minister – [is] improving our system in a way that will maintain the integrity of our publicly-funded system but capture productivity gains so our system is sustainable.” She highlighted that “innovation is very important when it comes to the long-term sustainability of our health care system.”

During her first speech since the appointment as health minister, Ms. Ambrose introduced herself as a “policy wonk” indulged in the issue of health innovation. Even though she seemed a little unclear about what sort of innovation she intends to promote, she did emphasis on the importance the use of technology. She stated that “improving the efficiency of the health delivery system and incentives for more cost-effective health care interventions.”

The minister boasted that, owing to the $1-billion annual funding for the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the federal government is the “largest single investor in Canadian health innovation.”  She highlighted that innovation is an area “worthy of federal leadership and an area where I believe we can make gains together.” Promising to reveal more details of her plans after discussions with the provinces and territories, she feared that “the consequences of not acting are staggering.”

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