Pitching innovation: A virtual win for health care

The health needs of Atlantic Canadians are evolving and Nova Scotia Health has recognized the transformative power of our innovative community and their ability to accelerate the pace of change. 

With the breadth of clinical, industry and government networks, Nova Scotia Health is uniquely positioned to inform the development, implementation and operationalization of new innovative technologies and services to benefit our health care system and the treatment of patients.

But, we can’t do it alone.

Partnerships are critical to the health innovation space and have many important insights that will accelerate our quest to become a digital health leader in Atlantic Canada. 

Embedding innovation into their portfolio was the quintessential ingredient that led Dr. Gail Tomblin Murphy to take on the role of Vice President, Research, Innovation & Discovery at Nova Scotia Health. 

Knowing the power of collaboration and industry partnerships, Dr. Tomblin Murphy was excited and inspired to take on the challenge.

This resulted in a new team with strong expertise in innovation, business development, commercialization and technology transfer that would turn innovative discoveries and developments into improved health outcomes for Nova Scotians. 

To drive the newly established innovation agenda, Nova Scotia Health partnered with Volta, BioNova, QEII Foundation and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, to launch Nova Scotia Health’s inaugural Health Challenge, a series of five pitch events focusing on a health care priority affecting Atlantic Canadians. 

Catering to locally-driven solutions, Nova Scotia Health engaged the start-up community and was met with an overwhelming response. 

Multiple applicants came forward in a fierce competition that highlighted how health care and medtech unite to create change that will have a lasting impact on health and health care in Nova Scotia. 

Ultimately, the top four Atlantic Canada companies pitched their cancer care technologies at the first challenge hosted on June 19, 2020 with more than 100 audience members tuned in to the virtual event. 

A panel of industry champions made the determination of who would receive the $100,000 prize alongside the opportunity to integrate the technology into Nova Scotia Health’s clinical operations.

The winning pitch came from Adaptiiv Medical Technologies Inc., for their ground-breaking software that creates patient-specific medical devices to be used during radiation therapy. 

These 3D printed boluses – created to each patient’s unique specifications – will improve the accuracy of the cancer treatment as well as the patient experience. 

Dr. Tomblin Murphy is both optimistic about the value this kind of collaboration brings to Nova Scotia’s health care system, and is eager to build on this momentum. Stay tuned for the next Health Challenge event in fall 2020. 

This article was originally published in Nova Scotia Health Research and Innovation annual report 2020 (pdf)