Provincial Innovation Strategy: Assessing the Impact of the Innovation and Change Agenda

In 2010, the B.C. Ministry of Health implemented the “Innovation and Change Agenda”, a three-year provincial strategy designed to provide networks of services in communities, ensure high quality care for those who need it, and assist in achieving and maintaining healthy lifestyles. Through addressing 16 key performance areas of focus, the strategy was designed to bring about system-level change in the way healthcare is delivered, and how health is promoted/maintained.

This research was a collaboration between the B.C. Ministry of Health, the Institute for Health System Transformation and Sustainability and the WIN research team under the leadership of Dr. Anne Snowdon. The research examined the impact this policy agenda has had on the provincial health system. British Columbia is experiencing numerous health and healthcare challenges, similar to every Canadian health system. However, through the implementation of the Innovation and Change Agenda, this research clearly demonstrated that the province is achieving success by addressing those challenges across many areas. Results revealed that the Agenda has been widely viewed as having made a number of very impressive gains, in particular, the rapid adoption of electronic medical records (EMRs) technologies across the province. With the substantial uptake of EMRs among physicians, B.C. is well positioned to support citizens to strengthen self-management of health and wellness by expanding the use of mobile and digital technologies that strengthen connectivity between providers and patients/families. These key conditions of successful innovation can further strengthen population health and wellness by connecting people with their provider teams when and where needed, and by enabling the timely and secure sharing of health information.

An important next step in the transformation of the B.C. healthcare system has been to expand the engagement of community-based providers to achieve the key priorities of the Innovation and Change Agenda. The truly transformative nature of the B.C. policy agenda is unprecedented in Canada, which has achieved a coordinated provincial, system-wide shift in how health and care are conceptualized and measured. As the province continues to make this transformative shift from a hospital-centric, disease focused health care system toward one that prioritizes health, wellness, and self-management in a community-centric approach, population health outcomes will continue to be strengthened.