Providence’s medical staff, staff and researchers have an impressive track record of making innovative contributions to medical science and compassionate care here and across the world.

Some of these innovations are internationally famous – such as treatments to stop patients dying from HIV/AIDS or creating a minimally invasive heart valve replacement – others are smaller in scale but still make a big difference. For instance, just in the last few months the St. Paul’s laboratory have worked out a way to recycle plastic gloves and Providence teams have developed the technology to re-program cochlear implants remotely, to keep patients closer to home.

We want to build on this culture of innovation, and ensure that everyone at Providence is encouraged to think differently, test their ideas, and where possible develop and even commercialize their inventions.

This vision is crucial to seizing the opportunity of the new St. Paul’s Hospital and health campus. With the acute hospital literally attached to the Clinical Support and Research Centre, our ambition is to create a virtuous circle of collaboration between patients, physicians, staff, researchers, academics and industry partners. Together we can create synergies, spark ideas and drive ground-breaking medical breakthroughs.

As our next step in creating this vision, and supporting all the innovative people at Providence, we are reshaping our teams to provide three complementary services:

Last month, we launched Ideas: Forward − a place for all PHC staff, medical staff and researchers to go when they have a great idea, but aren’t sure how to make it a reality. This team can help connect you with our organizational and system supports, for instance the Physician led Quality Improvement program, the Practice Based Research Challenge or the Knowledge Translation Challenge. In the last couple of years these programs have supported Providence people in a wide variety of projects, from trauma informed yoga for inner city youth, to Nordic walking for renal patients, to offering food in the Emergency Department to improve patient experience and reduce violence.

Today, I want to introduce you to two other Providence services that will help support innovation and make it easier for external partners to connect with the right teams.

Corporate Development and Providence Healthcare Business Corporation

PHC Corporate Development is helping to develop and commercialize new ideas/concepts, and to protect intellectual property rights.

Providence Healthcare Business Corporation (PHCBC) is a separate legal entity, and has already supported our Supercluster projects, enabling Providence clinical teams to work with industry on complex projects including: Dermatology Point-of-Care Intelligent NetworkIntelligent Network Point-of-Care Ultrasound and Perioperative Opioid Usage Quality Improvement.

When breakthrough technologies and research methods are identified, Corporate Development will be able to assist researchers and clinicians at Providence to actively participate in emerging spin-off enterprises, by acting as an investment vehicle to provide funding, and in turn create investment returns for fund future projects.

Providence Health Innovation, Research + Engagement (PHIRE)

PHIRE is how Providence Research will support research partnerships and innovative research opportunities.

The PHIRE team will work with the clinical and research community to focus on solving problems that matter to the population we serve.

PHIRE’s first initiative is the ‘Hacking Pain’ event later this month – an example of how we will support a community of patients, clinicians and researchers to tackle big problems in radically different ways.

PHIRE will support these new approaches, and be an express pathway to ensure that the new knowledge we generate is applied to real world settings as quickly and seamlessly as possible.

We know that there is immense potential for innovation in healthcare – there are so many aspects of care that need improvement and would benefit from thinking differently – and we are blessed with so many creative people in this organization.

When Providence is at its best, we can change the world. Our objective in creating these teams is to help to provide an environment which helps more and more of our teams to be able to take on this ambition, and to change the world.​