Toronto, November 9, 2017 – Reconnect Community Health Services and Stella’s Place demonstrated a new digital platform to serve young people with mental health issues, funded by Ontario’s Health Technologies Fund (HTF).
This project is one of 15 that received funding in the first round of Ontario’s $20-million HTF. The fund is administered by Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) on behalf of the Office of the Chief Health Innovation Strategist (OCHIS), and is a part of the OCHIS mandate to strengthen Ontario’s health innovation ecosystem.
“The Health Technologies Fund is already having an impact in the health system because of the collaborations it has created between health service providers, health technology innovators and patients,” says William Charnetski, Ontario’s Chief Health Innovation Strategist. “We are finding new ways to solve our greatest challenges by harnessing the power of innovation to provide better care while creating jobs in Ontario.”
Representatives from OCHIS and OCE were on location for a presentation that included highlights of the Health Innovation Teams’ progress to date.
The platform, called NexJ Connected Wellness, is designed to support education, collaboration, engagement, intervention and goal-focused coaching, accessible via an app or desktop computer. With the need for innovative technology solutions for young adults struggling with mental health issues, the platform is customized to be used by young adults to access mental health educational materials, online interventions, trackers, and peer-coaching supports.
“I wanted someone to meet me where I was – online,” says Alicia Raimundo, young adult mental health advocate and Stella’s Place staff member. “This project aims to understand my community and the diversity of communities that are online, and to be able to take all the information I’m tracking anyway and do something with it, use it.”
“These digital health projects demonstrate why investment through the Health Technologies Fund is so important. People are more comfortable than ever using digital technology in their everyday lives and they expect the same kind interaction of their health system,” says Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. “With these new tools, health care will become even faster and simpler for patients to use in their homes and communities.”
With a proven track record of delivering programs on behalf of the Ontario government, OCE was selected to deliver the HTF and assist in driving the development of made-in-Ontario healthcare technology while supporting economic growth, co-investing to commercialize innovation and fostering partnerships and collaboration in the health system.
“Healthcare is a priority sector in Ontario and globally, so it makes sense that OCE works with publicly-funded healthcare service providers, patients, academia and industry to find innovative ways to improve patient outcomes and experience by supporting the demonstration of health tech through the Health Technologies Fund,” says Dr. Tom Corr, OCE’s President and CEO
For more information, please visit the Health Technologies Fund website.
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About Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc.
OCE drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research across key market sectors to build the economy of tomorrow and secure Ontario's global competitiveness. In doing this, OCE fosters the training and development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and is a key partner with Ontario's industry, universities, colleges, research hospitals, investors and governments. A champion of leading-edge technologies, best practices and research, OCE invests in sectors such as advanced health, digital media and information communications, advanced manufacturing and materials, and cleantech including energy, environment and water. OCE is a key partner in delivering Ontario's Innovation Agenda as a member of the province's Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE). Funded by the Government of Ontario, the ONE is made up of regional and sector-focused organizations and helps Ontario-based entrepreneurs rapidly grow their company and create jobs.
About the Office of the Chief Health Innovation Strategist:
The Office of the Chief Health Innovation Strategist (OCHIS) was created in September of 2015 to fulfill the recommendations made by the Ontario Health Innovation Council (OHIC) established by the Ontario government in 2013. The council submitted is report, The Catalyst, in December 2014.
OCHIS is a catalyst to help accelerate health technology commercialization efforts in Ontario. The purpose of the office is to drive collaboration across the health care system to accelerate the adoption and diffusion of new innovative health technologies and processes to:
OCHIS focuses on targeted priorities:
- Optimize pathways to adoption and diffusion for innovative Ontario health technologies
- Enable effective procurement of innovation by shifting the health care system to strategic, value-based procurement and removing barriers for small and medium-sized enterprises to participate.
- Provide better care closer to home by supporting home and community care enabled by virtual, mobile and digital health technologies
- Empower Ontarians through digital health by building a dynamic market of digital tools and supports to navigate and personalize their path to health and wellness
- Enhance Indigenous peoples health by advancing opportunities for innovation to address health challenges in their communities.
To be world-leading, Ontario's health technology companies need to generate significant export activity. OCHIS supports efforts to champion them in global markets.