By Michael Levy, President, DHIT | April 13, 2019

Last week, as I traveled to Montreal and the Province of Quebec for the first time, I kept my conference bias at the border and my mind open for new concepts. The next four days of exploration into the culture and life of Quebeckers as part of an international delegation of 20 global healthcare leaders was as refreshing as a snow storm in July. Montreal is a social system, which means that healthcare is free at the point of delivery to the patient. This fuels a refreshing mindset that as Roch Paquette, International Affairs Director at the Quebec Ministry of Economy, Science and Innovation, put it: “We care very much whether our neighbors are healthy, because with healthy neighbors we ensure we have a healthy ecosystem.”

I was impressed to see this being put into practice at an ecosystem level. The Government of Quebec – in coordination with hospitals, universities, industry, and communities across Montreal and the Province – have made it a top priority to invest in talent and technologies underpinned by a next-generation education and learning platform. The platform is built with the purpose to drive a new mindset in their people, one that is “Open-sourced”, anchored to understanding “Human-need”, and operates with “Agile and Lean” principles as a way of life, not just as a business necessity. They have driven the progression of this vision by investing in the creation of an end-to-end digital health ecosystem that develops talent and technologies in a coordinated and connected manner, ensuring the value created is carried forward and amplifies the impact across the entire system.

Specifically, the Government of Quebec and key stakeholders in Montreal have partnered over the last decade to build a highly successful ecosystem that is collaborating to drive the future, now. The main components of the ecosystem infrastructure that is supporting the leap to the 21st century norm are:

  • Education and training through District 3 – an innovation hub hosted by Concordia University uniting the Montreal ecosystem for entrepreneurs to move from idea to impact with confidence;
  • Applied learning and validation through the Perform Centre which provides an integrated environment to promote healthier lives through changes in behaviour and lifestyle by offering research opportunities, education, and preventative-based programs;
  • Operational validation through CHUM Health System – an international hub for academic medicine and research;
  • Scale validation through MEDTEQ – which translates Canadian medical innovation into global impact;
  • Commercial validation through Centech, a technological entrepreneurship center.

Dr. Fabrice Brunet, the visionary CEO of CHUM (pictured below), referenced Canadian management expert Henry Mintzberg – a leading authority in the field of organizational structures and organizational design. His approach echoes the very principles on which DHIT was established, and provides further validation that by investing in people, process and technology, healthcare stakeholders, industries, and entrepreneurs can co-create the infrastructure and environment for digital transformation to occur, and for our communities to flourish. Quebec has shown us the way. Now it’s time for NC to take note and follow suit.