Innovation Takes Leadership: Opportunities & Challenges for Canada’s Health Care System

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The health of a population is directly related to its productivity and a country’s economic, growth and competitiveness. Yet, Canada’s health care future is uncertain. Our system faces a rapidly rising demand for quality health care services that are timely and accessible to an aging population experiencing increasing rates of chronic illness1 . To ensure Canada’s future economic competitiveness, we must work to ensure the sustainability of a strong health care system. How? The World Health Innovation Network believes the answer lies in health system innovation: technological, procedural and cultural.

So, if that’s the answer, how are we doing? In short, not so well. A 2008 McKinsey & Company report found that Canada earns a “D” grade in innovation, placing 13 among 17 developed nations in this economic and future prosperity indicator2. Further, according to the Conference Board of Canada, “Canada ranks near the bottom of its peer group on innovation, ranking 14th among the 17 peer countries. Canada’s low relative ranking means that, as a proportion of its overall economic activity, Canada does not rely on innovation as much as some of its peers. Overall, countries that are more innovative are passing Canada on measures such as income per capita, productivity, and the quality of social programs.”

1Conference Board of Canada. (2008). How Canada Performs: A Report Card on Canada
2 McKinsey and Company. (2008). Breaking Away From the Pack: Enhancing Canada’s Global Competitiveness, pp. 1-3.