HALIFAX—Dr. Brendan Carr, the president and CEO of the Nova Scotia Health Authority, admits the province’s health care system faces some challenging problems.
Emergency room closures, doctor recruitment, high cancer rates, and a host of other issues are all taxing health care in the province—and Carr believes old solutions won’t fix it.
“We’ve reached a point where simply improving on the way we do things is simply not efficient,” he said Friday, speaking to about 150 health-and-technology-industry players at Volta in Halifax. “We actually need to generate new solutions to these old problems, and we can only do that by bringing new thinking together.”
According to Carr, collaboration and innovation are the keys to fixing health care in the province. And it’s for that exact reason that the NSHA has partnered with several organizations in the province for the “Health Challenge.”
The Health Challenge is a series of events that invite startups to pitch their medical technologies to a panel of judges.
Participants will get 15 minutes to convince the panel their technology can help drive innovation in Nova Scotia health care. There will be five events, each focused on a different provincial health care priority.
Winners of each of the events will receive $100,000 and the opportunity to have their technology adopted for use by the NSHA.
It’s that second part that makes the competition especially valuable for technology startups in the region.
Scott Moffitt is the executive director of BioNova, one of the partners in the Health Challenge. He explained that getting their product into the market is a key step for medical technology companies, but is often one of the toughest hurdles to clear.
“When a [Nova Scotia] company goes to Arkansas and they say ‘is your product being used by the Nova Scotia Health Authority’ and the answer is no, that’s a red flag,” he said.
Moffitt said there are tons of companies in Nova Scotia doing all kinds of innovative things. A real-world endorsement from the NSHA can help put them on the map.
“How do we continue to support and accelerate these companies while adding value to the health care system? That is what today’s is all about. Collaboration is the key. From an ecosystem level it takes a village to support these companies,” he said.
The first of the Health Challenge’s five-pitch competitions will take place on April 8, and will focus on technologies that support cancer care.
For more information on the challenge, or to learn how to apply to pitch, visit the challenge’s website.