December 8th, 2016

// Ontario Chamber of Commerce calls on Government to implement a Health Cabinet with oversight for provincial health-related spending

Ontario Chamber of Commerce calls on Government to implement a Health Cabinet with oversight for provincial health-related spending

Managing innovation requires cross-functional action from government

Today, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) released the report, Care in Our Control: Managing Innovation in Ontario's Multi-Payer Health Care System. The report examines why Ontario struggles to capture value for money spent, particularly on health innovations like pharmaceuticals and medical devices. The report recommends a new approach to this challenge by calling on the provincial government to create a Health Cabinet, to break down silos between Ministries in order to improve the way Ontario is investing in health care.

As medical devices and pharmaceuticals become more sophisticated, patient quality of life has the opportunity to greatly improve. However, government continues to struggle to afford new innovations that are entering the market with increasing rapidity. In order to adopt innovation while ensuring the province's system is fiscally sustainable, the government must better understand the value that innovation can bring across the system, to other public services, and to the health and wellness of Ontarians.

"Innovation is not being materialized. Across Canada, there are over 4,000 new medical devices licensed every year and not enough of them are getting to Ontario patients," said Allan O'Dette, President and CEO of the OCC. "Government needs to reform how the value of innovation is being assessed so that the lowest cost option is not the default, in doing so, we're not putting patients first."

Effectively integrating innovative treatments into the current health care system requires collaborative budget decision-making, and an understanding that spending in one area could result in savings in another. In Ontario, being able to measure the value of health care spending in this way means breaking down budget "silos" that exist between government Ministries. Currently, the system lacks structures that allow for the value of innovative treatments to be considered across multiple budgets.

"The formation of a Health Cabinet would help individual ministries understand how decisions within the health care system can impact other public services, and vice versa," added O'Dette. "Ontario is a source of great health innovation, and having a conduit between the ministries responsible for health, social services, research, and economic development would improve our ability to use those innovations for the benefit of all Ontarians.

The OCC's report argues that a Health Cabinet should also facilitate improved public/private relationships by including stakeholders from industry, research and academia. This would help government take advantage of the knowledge and capacity of experts in the health sector while creating a forum for collaboration and partnership across government Ministries that is dedicated to improving patient outcomes, including a specific focus on the challenges of our aging population.

SOURCE Ontario Chamber of Commerce


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