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Professor Michalowski presents on health innovation with Ontario’s chief health innovation strategist

Wojtek Michalowski

Ottawa stands poised to develop into an important player in healthcare innovation. And it can get closer to the goal by connecting the region’s clinical innovators to business acumen, and thereby drive better patient care.

That message was a key theme highlighted by Wojtek Michalowski, Vice-Dean of Research and professor of health informatics at the Telfer School of Management, in his presentation at the “I3” – Industry, Issues and Insights – lunchtime event at the Château Laurier on February 7.

Organized by the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and the Ottawa Business Journal with support from the Telfer School, the event featured a keynote presentation by Ontario chief health innovation strategist William Charnetski, who spoke about efforts by his office to champion the province as a leading centre for new and innovative health technology.

Professor Michalowski took the podium first, and commented that with its large talent pool in healthcare, abundant resources and strong high-tech ecosystem, Ottawa has strong potential to become a national leader in healthcare innovation, provided that other elements are also in place.

One of those elements, he said, is the need for an intrapraneurial mindset. “Innovation in healthcare is like a start-up that is being developed inside the organization or the system. Thus, people who lead it must have knowledge about intrapreneurship, or how to be an entrepreneur on the inside. This means knowing what are the forces that will drive innovation, what are the forces that will kill it, what kind of skills does it require, what are the best practices and processes to follow.”

Another important element, Michalowski said, is greater coordination among healthcare practitioners and health systems researchers. He gave as an example the Telfer Health Transformation Exchange (THTEX), a meeting point for dialogue and learning for healthcare innovators and management and engineering faculties.

“I really believe that Ottawa is in a unique position, with the right size in terms of human capital and scope and a really innovative and talented workforce. There is a lot of enthusiasm on the part of multiple players to innovate, but there is not always coordination, and our hope with the THTEX is to contribute to that coordination.”  

An interview with Michalowski following the event was live streamed on the Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page. You can watch the interview here: