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What could The Ottawa Hospital learn from Israel?

: The Ottawa Hospital [left] and Israel’s Sheba Medical Center

The Ottawa Hospital [left] and Israel’s Sheba Medical Center will use the ‘ARC’ model, which focuses on open innovation and collaboration in health care.

Canada and Israel stand more than 8,000 kilometers apart, but when it comes to health care, their approaches are about to move a lot closer together.

The Ottawa Hospital joined Israel’s Sheba Medical Center to become one of only two hospitals in the world considered an “ARC,” a model that aims to accelerate efforts to redesign health care through collaboration.

The ARC model is unique in its ‘open innovation’ philosophy, which recognizes that health-care challenges cannot be solved unless experts from outside the system – including patients and industry – participate in the process.

By adopting the ARC model, The Ottawa Hospital is preparing for the ‘flood of care demand’ caused by a wave of an aging population.

The lessons we learn from forming an ARC with Israel will significantly enhance our ‘made-in-Canada’ efforts to achieve higher quality at lower cost in support of a healthier population. High-value health care is the key to a health system being universal, publicly-administered, portable and comprehensive for generations to come.

And Israel has many important lessons to share.

Compared to Canada, Israel:

  • invests significantly less in health care while its citizens have better access to care and enjoy better outcomes
  • spends less than 70 per cent per capita on health care
  • has considerably shorter wait times to see physicians and undergo specialized procedures
  • has equivalent health indicators such as perinatal mortality and life expectancy

By adopting the ARC model, The Ottawa Hospital is preparing for the ‘flood of care demand’ caused by a wave of an aging population. This wave will test our commitment to our health-care goals. Do we have the ability, resolve and compassion to see a stronger health system emerge?

We believe so, and we look to Israel for inspiration on how to drive innovation. The Sheba Medical Center is not only at the cutting edge of everyday digital innovations, but is also developing next-generation biomedical devices and pharmaceutical products, which have meaningful impacts on a patient’s quality of life.

The ARC model has four elements:

  1. Prioritizing digital technologies. While other technologies can make small shifts in health-care value, big changes will only happen as a result of digital technologies, including advanced analytic techniques.
  2. Advocating for open innovation. Innovation thrivesthrough partnerships with industry in both countries and beyond.
  3. Encouraging teamwork. Critical to success is learning from the experiences of others, avoiding duplication of effort, spreading successful approaches rapidly and taking advantage of complementary strengths.
  4. Creating the infrastructure for innovation. While innovation must include creativity and a ‘bottom-up’ approach, it must also be disciplined in order to move solutions from ‘prototype to product’ effectively and efficiently. This principle clarifies how innovation occurs and who is accountable for it.

Our first focus for the ARC model will be to better address the health-care needs of seniors. In particular, our goal is to help people stay in their own homes, when in the past they would have been hospitalized. We will develop remote solutions and work more closely with patients so that we can respond and deliver the right care at the right time. 

We are at a critical time in Canadian health care when the demand for care is greater than our resources. It’s time to find new ways of doing things. With ARC, we can stay true to our principles of supporting a universal, publicly-administered, portable and comprehensive health-care system while we embrace innovations that achieve better quality care at lower cost.


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