Using innovation and research to solve health challenges and transform care for Nova Scotians
2018 – Dr. Gail Tomblin Murphy, Vice President of Research, Innovation and Discovery and Chief Nursing Executive, launched the Research and Innovation portfolio with the vision for the Health Innovation Hub.
2020 – The Strategic Partnership Office and Innovation Launchpad was established. An Innovation Team was deployed as part of Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 Response Strategy.
2021 – The Innovation Catalyst Fund was formed, VirtualCareNS was launched after a successful test and try project, and the Stryker Mako surgical robotic technology arrived.
2022 – The Health Innovation Hub was born.
- Innovators in Residence launched
- Atlantic Canada Clinical Trials Network began
- Pharmacist Walk-In Clinics (PWIC+) opened
- Mobile Primary Healthcare Clinics deployed
- Ethos was announced
- VirtualHallway became ingrained in physicians’ professions
- Nova Scotia became the site of the first-in-Canada robotic surgery using the MAZOR X Stealth system
- Updated Nova Scotia Health Intellectual Property (IP) Policy released.
2023 – The Oncology Transformation Project was launched. Our state-of-the-art, collaborative, Health Innovation Hub space opens to launch projects that drive culture of innovation across Nova Scotia and beyond.
The following milestones are just a few highlights along the path to becoming a global leader in health innovation:
ACCRU: The Atlantic Clinical Cancer Research Unit (ACCRU) – based in Halifax – coordinates multiple clinical trials, simultaneously, across medical, radiation and surgical cancer care specialties. This research is vital to the advancement of cancer treatment in the province.
Adaptiiv Medical Technologies: This software enables practitioners to create patient-specific 3D printed devices used in radiation therapy. By conforming to complex anatomy, the devices improve dose delivery while sparing healthy tissues.
Atlantic Clinical Trials Network (ACTN): Initiated by Nova Scotia Health and co-led with IWK Health, Newfoundland and Labrador Health Services (formerly Eastern Health), Vitalité Health Network, Horizon Health Network, and Health PEI, ACTN is boosting research and innovation, introducing new healthcare opportunities, and positioning the region as a world-leader in clinical trials.
Care Coordination Centre: C3 is the first province-wide health care coordination centre in Canada. It provides access to real-time data to guide decision making with unprecedented speed and accuracy to provide patients with faster access to care
Clinical trials: Our clinical trials have attracted top research investigators to provide leading-edge care with clinical trials, including Health Canada regulated trials, that will lead to innovative treatments.
Community Care: Nova Scotia has partnered with Dalhousie University’s medical school with funding to help new doctors establish their own practices, by working with other care providers including licensed practical nurses, family practice nurses, social workers, and pharmacists.
DaVinci: Atlantic Canada’s first surgical robotics system, Da Vinci includes four robotic arms plus a 3D camera to help surgical teams perform the most minimally-invasive surgeries possible, enabling them to tackle prostate and kidney cancers, as well as gynecological and ENT cancers.
Ethos: The first-in-Canada EthosTM therapy system places the province among global leaders in cancer care treatment. Ethos uniquely combines artificial intelligence with adaptive therapy, resulting in shorter treatment times for patients, with better outcomes and fewer side effects. For remote patients it means fewer treatment sessions and less travel.
FIVAMed: Created by Dr. Orlando Hung, the FIVAFlow is an innovative IV fluid flow monitor. The device prevents IV fluid systems from going dry unnoticed.
Innovators in Residence: Our innovators in residence – Dr. Amanda Caissie, Dr. Karen Cross and Dr. Michael Dunbar – are internationally recognized leaders in their fields. They champion new technologies, services, and solutions, and make them better. With local, national and international reach, our innovators in residence drive new business opportunities and mentor the next health leaders.
MDClone: This global data analytics and synthetic data company focuses on unlocking healthcare data and empowering exploration, discovery, and collaboration to improve patients’ health.
Medtronic Mazor: In July 2022, the first Canadian spinal robotic surgery using Medtronic’s MAZOR™ X Stealth Edition took place in Nova Scotia. Since then, multiple surgeries have been performed, and the province is becoming a leader in surgical robotics. The Mazor guidance system enables spine surgeons to execute a surgical plan with exceptional precision, tailoring the approach to each patient.
Mobile primary care clinics: Praxes Medical Group, Nova Scotia Health, Emergency Health Services, and community partners worked to create pop-up clinics across the province. From the mobile clinics first responding to Hurricane Fiona in September 2022 to providing treatment outside comfort centres during the wildfires of June 2023, patients are receiving care in their communities across the province.
Oncology Transformation Project (OTP): OTP enables a province-wide oncology information system to unify treatment among oncology specialties, two cancer centres, and eight rural oncology sites. It also offers a full-service patient portal to connect patients directly with their care teams in real time.
Pharmacist Walk-in Clinics: Through an innovative collaborative care model, Pharmacist Walk-in Clinics enable pharmacists and nurse practitioners to provide primary care at Sobeys-owned Lawtons pharmacies. Since February 2022, more than 15,300 Nova Scotians have received treatment.
PronatorPlus: PronatorPlus is a device that removes the burden on health care providers in safely and efficiently repositioning patients.
Stryker Mako SmartRoboticsTM: A first in Canada, the SmartRoboticsTM robot creates precise data at the time of surgery, so the surgical team can study how patients move and feel before and after a procedure. The system has enabled partial knee and hip replacement surgeries that improve the quality of life for impacted patients.
VirtualCareNS: Nova Scotia Health has partnered with Maple, one of Canada’s leading virtual care platforms, to provide the technology to ensure primary care is accessible to those without a family doctor. Many of these virtual visits have subsequently resulted in in-person visits.
VirtualEmergencyNS: VENS was launched in May 2022, with the goal to reduce emergency department wait times by identifying health concerns that could be treated through a virtual visit. Patients treated through virtual visits also receive prescriptions that support their health and wellness.
Virtual Hallway: This innovative local company connects medical professionals across Canada so they can collaborate digitally. By making it easy for family doctors to connect with specialists, patients’ questions are answered in days instead of months.