Priority Health Innovation Challenge 

Across Canada, there is no shortage of innovation and creativity focused on achieving lasting improvement in patient experience, health outcomes, work life of providers and value for money. The challenge is to spread proven innovations in shared priority areas¹ further across the country. The first step to achieve this is to identify promising innovations and innovators. 

In this section :

Working with supporting healthcare organizations, the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (now Healthcare Excellence Canada) ran the Priority Health Innovation Challenge from April 2019 until November 2020, with 33 participating teams. The aim of the challenge was to identify and grow promising innovations in two shared priorities:  

  1. access to mental health and addictions services (read about the 21 teams with this focus) 
  2. home and community care (read about the 10 teams with this focus). 

The teams worked on new or existing innovation projects addressing one of these priority areas to respond to the healthcare needs of people living in Canada. We supported these innovators to increase the potential impact of their innovations. Each team was given an opportunity to receive a financial award to support their project’s learning opportunities, resources and long-term success.  

How the challenge contributed to better healthcare in Canada 

The challenge aimed to benefit more people by identifying and supporting novel approaches that increase access to care.  

During the challenge, Priority Health teams submitted baseline and ongoing outcome data that reflected the relevant common indicators and the number of patients reached. This data contributed to developing an understanding of innovations that have potential for spread and scale. 

Innovation projects addressed at least one of the following common indicator(s) related to the relevant shared priority area. 

Mental health and addictions common indicators: 

  • Wait times for community mental health services 
  • Early intervention for youth aged 10 to 25 
  • Awareness and/or successful navigation of mental health and addiction services 
  • Rates of repeat emergency department and/or urgent care centre visits for a mental health or addiction issue 
  • Hospitalization rates for problematic substance use 
  • Rates of self-injury, including suicide 

Home and community care health common indicators: 

  • Wait times for home care services, referral to services 
  • Alternative level of care, length of stay for inpatients requiring home care services 
  • Home care services helped the patient stay at home 
  • Caregiver distress 
  • Inappropriate move to long-term care 
  • Death at home/not in hospital 

Overall challenge award winners 

There were a series of challenges. The final challenge asked teams to demonstrate how they contributed to improving access to care in mental health and addictions services or home and community care. 

$60,000 overall challenge winner: 

$30,000 runner up winners:  

$10,000 booster award winners: 

Related webinar recordings 

As part of the challenge, we hosted a series of webinars with healthcare improvement experts, including experts in mental health and addictions services, and in home and community care.  

Watch the webinar recordings.

¹ Government of Canada. (2018). A Common Statement of Principles on Shared Health Priorities. Retrieved from