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New University Research Chair holder Craig Kuziemsky says: “Now is the time to seize the next big opportunity in healthcare innovation”

The University of Ottawa has awarded Professor Craig Kuziemsky a University Research Chair in Healthcare Innovation. Professor Kuziemsky’s research program will centre on the creation of a data-driven framework supporting healthcare innovation driven by collaborative interprofessional teams.

Professor Kuziemsky explained that the challenges associated with rising healthcare costs, an aging population and the emergence of personalized medicine have created an unparalleled opportunity to create value for patients and society by focusing on the business of healthcare.

“The business of healthcare refers to how the system coordinates clinical services, tracks patient pathways and illnesses over time, and shares information and data across different providers,” noted Professor Kuziemsky. “In Canada, we’ve made excellent strides at clinical innovation but we fall short in regards to business of healthcare innovation. This holds back transformative initiatives like collaborative care delivery, chronic disease management, and patient-centered care. We require innovative solutions to redefine the rules of how healthcare is managed to support these new paradigms.”

The central theme of Kuziemsky’s research is the move from individual workflows characterized by provider-centered practices into a patient-centered collaborative teamwork. As increasing complexity in patient care demands the involvement of multiple providers across multiple clinical sites, a lack of coordination has been identified as a core issue hampering healthcare reform. “We need to innovate to break silos down and make collaborative teams of providers work successfully. The provision of safe and efficient patient-centered care requires individuals to step outside their silos and become integrated into collaborative teams.”

Getting there will require an understanding of how providers and clinical processes interact with information, Professor Kuziemsky cautioned, highlighting the interdisciplinary character of his research. “Business of healthcare concerns relating to patient safety, collaborative care delivery, and the inclusion of best evidence into everyday practice are not technical issues per se. These problems cannot be solved just with technology; they call for change management and a multi-faceted approach.”

Over the past few years, the Telfer School has expanded its health systems management group and strengthened the involvement of primary and tertiary care organizations in research and teaching. Dr. Kuziemsky’s vision combined with his health practitioner focus exemplifies this approach. His appointment puts the Telfer School at the centre of a dynamic research ecosystem that will generate evidence-based healthcare innovation in support of the business of healthcare. “Sustainable healthcare in the 21st century isn’t strictly a medicine challenge, but neither is it purely an analytics or information-science challenge,” notes Kuziemsky. “The business of healthcare really requires that management insight: taking what we know from business, and using it in an innovative way to provide better health at a better value for Canadians.”