A: In essence, Eastern Health is a Living Lab. We are a user-centered space where public and private partnerships are actively forged to improve patient care. This includes our partnerships with our patients, our staff, our suppliers, the academic community and many, many others that wish to improve the health and well-being of people in this region.
This reflects that innovation is in everything we do at Eastern Health. We will harness innovative solutions, from the small to the big, to improve life for our patients, our health system and our province.
A: An innovation ecosystem refers to the network of stakeholder groups and experts that come together to support innovation. In Newfoundland and Labrador, this ecosystem includes the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, all regional health authorities, the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information, post-secondary training institutes, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and other funding agencies, private enterprise, the technology sector and many others that support or may support innovation in health care now or in the future. Learn more about our innovation ecosystem.
A: The Health Innovation Acceleration Centre is a collaborative space where dynamic ideas are generated, and solutions tested and refined. Situated within the local innovation ecosystem, the Health Innovation Acceleration Centre will focus on the refinement and testing of technology–enabled solutions to improve the health system. These innovative solutions will include well thought-out ideas anticipated to have meaningful impact on patient care and quality of life, the potential to impact the broader health-care systems and the potential to generate economic or commercial value and benefit through reduction of health-care costs and/or creation of new sources of revenue.
A: Eastern Health defines health innovation as novel, high impact ideas, technologies and processes that drive the transformation of the health and well-being of our patients, our health system, the Newfoundland and Labrador economy and our nation.
We also believe value is key to ensuring innovations have meaningful impact. Innovations must be considered worthwhile and important by those who will use them. Our definition of innovation incorporates the idea of value and a broader emphasis on economic growth and development. Learn more about Eastern Health’s innovation strategy.
A: Value-based procurement awards service contracts based on an agreed upon value proposition and requires qualified and interested suppliers to propose long-term, cost-effective, outcomes-based solutions in response to a health-care issue or challenge.
Value refers to the benefit realized by the consumer which, in this context, may mean the patient, client, family member, the care provider and/or the health system, compared to the cost. Value can be more than dollars and cents and at Eastern Health, we want value to also consider social impact. In assessing value, we will consider our organizational goals, our stakeholder expectations and the personal experiences of both our patients, clients, residents and their families, as well as our care providers.
A: At Eastern Health, we believe our patients have much to benefit from if we are on the leading edge of technology and innovation. We provide a full continuum of health and community services as well as a learning environment for numerous disciplines such as medicine, nursing, pharmacy, allied health and others. We have strong ties to the academic community, and we have formed effective relationships with local, national and international business partners. We possess the physical infrastructure required for solution testing. We have a highly skilled workforce, and specialists in the delivery of health-care services.
Further, our patients and their families, as users of the health-care system, often have unparalleled insight into what innovative solutions are needed and how they should be designed and delivered to better meet their needs. As innovators in the health-care system, our goal is to co-design solutions to improve health care and better serve our patients, clients and their family members.
A: We have 11 vendors of record:
- GE Healthcare
- MOBIA Technology Innovations
- Seafair Capital
A: Through two Request for Supplier Qualifications (RFSQ) processes, Eastern Health formed a strategic innovation partnership with 10 strategic innovation vendors of record. Vendors were evaluated and ranked based on the following criteria:
- Technical and innovative capability
- Software capability
- Learning management capability
- Content – assessment development and content delivery capability
- Agility of vendor to adapt to health care environment
- Vendor support, responsiveness and follow up
- Flexibility and ease of product implementation
- Implementation resources and support
- Ability to meet Eastern Health’s core requirements
- Vendor experience with similar initiatives and references, implementation and maintenance plans, and other related items
Stakeholders from Eastern Health and Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Innovation were involved in the evaluation and ranking process. The strategic innovation vendors are authorized to provide professional services to Eastern Health. Eastern Health may do a limited call for proposals to these vendors based on specific innovation requirements such as medical device design and implementation, application and software development, and implementation and providing further enhancements to developed applications and software. Learn more about partnerships and our vendors of record.
A: Yes. A good innovative idea could come from anywhere – one of our vendors-of-record, an employee or a patient. We welcome ideas and we will look at any that would improve and enhance quality and safety of health-care services.
Partnerships are integral to Eastern Health’s vision, values and operations. Eastern Health understands the value of research and development and it supports innovative ideas and partnerships that help to improve the overall health of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Some innovations emerge fully from within the organization, and others, such as MyCCath, are the result of successful partnerships. Learn more about partnerships.
Q: Is there an intake process or how do I find out if Eastern Health is interested in my idea?
A: Eastern Health, despite just starting its innovation journey, has already seen some successes with innovative solutions that will improve patient care. For example:
- MyCCath – a secured, web-based pilot IT solution for clinicians at the Health Sciences Centre, aims to facilitate the referral process for Newfoundland and Labrador patients requiring cardiac catheterization (cath) laboratory services. Along with other improvements within the cardiac care program, Eastern Health has significantly reduced our wait times for cardiac catheterization.
- SurgeCon – Eastern Health, working with Mobia, SurgeCon Innovations and the Carbonear Institute for Rural Research and Innovation by the Sea, is developing an innovative software solution that utilizes a unique algorithm to calculate emergency department activity and patient load. This assessment tool will help move patients through the emergency department and consequently, reduce overcrowding. A pilot has been completed.
- Remote Patient Monitoring – using simple technology, this program enhances the health care experience by improving health education and support of people who live with some chronic conditions.
- Telehealth – using videoconferencing technology, patients have improved access to care, particularly individuals who live in remote locations.
Eastern Health is committed to leading and supporting health innovation and research that contributes to the achievement of the organization’s strategic priorities of Access, Quality and Safety, Population Health, Sustainability and Healthy Workplace.
A: Innovation in health care has seen considerable growth in the past 10 to 15 years. In recent years, the delivery of health care has innovated to improve health-care access. For example, telehealth for patients to access and increase health awareness and self-care, while reducing visits to health-care facilities, has improved. Point-of-care services such as Remote Patient Monitoring have improved health education and provided support to help patients gain the skills needed to reach health goals and improve quality of life. As the health-care industry continues to face significant challenges to improve quality and access to care, increase efficiency, and lower operating costs, innovation will continue to be critical.
A: Health innovation contributes to better workplaces in a variety of ways. At Eastern Health, there are a number of Human Resources solutions, such as the employee portal, an online learning platform for staff, and performance check-in; systems, largely built in-house, that contribute to greater efficiency by centralizing information and making it readily available to users; reducing the use of paper and printed resources; facilitating monitoring and supporting research and best practices.
We also know that employees who are interested in innovation are engaged in their workplace. By cultivating a culture of innovation at Eastern Health, we encourage all employees to be creative in their daily work and will provide them with the opportunities to do so. In this environment employees will know that we will support well-reasoned and well–thought-out solutions to problems encountered in their daily work lives.
A: Eastern Health is committed to leading and supporting health innovation and research that contributes to the achievement of the organization’s strategic priorities of Access, Quality and Safety, Population Health, Sustainability and Healthy Workplace.
A: Assigning a total value to innovations for Eastern Health is difficult. Innovative information technology solutions and associated medical equipment technologies can be expensive. However, if one considers the challenges facing the health-care industry and rising costs, innovation can create sustainability and improve the delivery of health-care services. The cost of innovation is also another reason why partnerships are so important for Eastern Health. Learn more about the economic impact of health innovation.
A: Yes, health innovations are shared across the province and other Regional Health Authorities. In fact, we are partnering with the other Regional Health Authorities on our innovation journey.
One example of an innovative solution which is province-wide is Telehealth. It uses secure videoconferencing technology to connect clients and health-care providers at distant sites for health services. There are over 100 telehealth locations across the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.