OTTAWA - An expert panel set up by the federal government has embarked on a national consultation process to explore health-care innovation possibilities.
The eight-member group has been asked to recommend ways in which the federal government could better support innovation that strengthens the health-care system and improves care for patients.
The federal government charged the group with coming up with five recommendations that would achieve those ends without raising the overall cost of the system and without stepping on the toes of the provinces, which have constitutional authority over health-care delivery.
The panel is headed by former University of Toronto president David Naylor and includes public policy experts, two nurses and Heather Reisman, CEO of Indigo, the national bookseller chain.
The group will seek the views of Canadians via an online questionnaire, and will ask for written submissions from stakeholders and experts.
Key stakeholders will appear at in-person meetings throughout this fall and early in 2015; the goal is to publish a final report by next June.
Health policy analyst Steven Lewis, who is not on the panel, sees the enterprise as interesting, given the limited role the Harper government has played in health care since coming to office.
But he suggested that if the federal government doesn't commit funding to implement the ensuing recommendations, provincial governments may not be inclined to follow through.
"I can't see the jurisdictions paying any more attention to the findings than they did to the National Forum on Health or Romanow unless there is federal money on the table," Lewis said in an email.
Romanow is health policy shorthand for the report of the 2002 Royal Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada, headed by former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow.
The Advisory Panel on Health-care Innovation's public consultation page is at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hcs-sss/innovation/cons/_2014/chi-cis/consult-eng.php