Communitech, CAN Health partnering to address barriers to healthtech procurement

Communitech and Coordinated Accessible National (CAN) Health Network want to make procurement in the healthcare space easier. The pair have partnered with the goal of finding solutions to better connect public healthcare and the private sector.

Communitech and CAN Health describe the deal as “the first of its kind” in Canada, and are aiming to foster growth for tech companies by connecting domestic healthtech innovators to procurement opportunities.

Healthcare procurement is a notable and ongoing issue in the Canadian health space, as healthtech companies face procurement regulations and policies that create hurdles to bringing products to hospitals and care settings.

A 2016 survey across Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario members found that 76 percent of respondents reported policies, directives, and procurement regulations as “major hurdles” to adopting innovation within their companies.

Tara McCarville, now a principal consultant at Brighton Group Health Industry Solutions, spoke to BetaKit in 2019 (while she was PwC Canada’s national health lead) about Canada’s complicated procurement system with 14 government jurisdictions, each with its own legislative framework, and tightly-managed budget.

RELATED: Government helping create network to address procurement barrier in Canadian healthtech

McCarville noted that this creates a very complex healthtech ecosystem, for both consumers and the companies operating within it.

The Government of Canada’s efforts in addressing the barriers within Canadian healthtech innovation came through its $7 million investment in CAN Health Network in 2019 to help companies commercialize their technologies.

CAN Health was created to provide startups and small- to medium-sized enterprises the opportunity to work with early adopter institutions to research and develop medical technologies.

The network is aimed at addressing this procurement barrier by allowing startups to sell their products to industry partners after only one procurement cycle, shortening the time for businesses to bring their technology to market

According to Public Services and Procurement Canada, the federal government is one of the largest public buyers of goods and services in Canada, purchasing approximately $16 billion annually on behalf of federal departments and agencies.

The partnership with CAN Health is part of Communitech’s recently revealed True North Strategy, which includes supporting Canadian tech founders and getting their healthtech innovations into the hands of medical professionals.

Axonify, a Communitech member company based in Waterloo, is currently working on a CAN Health Network commercialization project to bring its frontline employee training and communications platform to Waterloo Region’s Grand River Hospital, to improve staff accreditation preparation.

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz is a journalism student at Ryerson University and the business and technology editor at The Eyeopener, Ryerson's largest independent newspaper.