Backgrounder: Supporting Healthcare Innovation to Benefit Residents and Create Economic Opportunities


May 4, 2018 – St. John’s, NL – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) is providing three non-repayable investments totalling more than $9 million through its Business Development Program to the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information (NLCHI).

Details of the projects are as follows:


NLCHI will use the funds to assess, design and implement a Health Data Lab. It will enable multiple, authorized external user groups to securely access one of the most advanced and comprehensive provincial-level health data environments in Canada. The Health Data Lab will use and build upon NLCHI’s existing Enterprise Data Warehouse, a secure repository of data pulled from provincial clinical source systems and various health administrative data sets.

The Health Data Lab will provide an opportunity for authorized researchers to analyze data and apply it to fields such as genetics. Newfoundland and Labrador’s founder population provides a living laboratory for the study of genetic predisposition to many complex diseases.


These funds will help NLCHI expand telehealth, which enables the delivery of equitable health services to patients regardless of location. This pilot project will use desktop solutions to enable telehealth to move into the patient’s home and private physician clinics. Improvements will include equipment upgrades and expansion to new sites beyond the 104 sites where telehealth services are currently offered. This project will also expand telehealth services to areas such as adult and pediatric emergency services, long-term care and pathology.

Telehealth benefits residents by reducing the need for travel, improving the continuity and capacity of care throughout the health care system and providing rural residents with increased access to specialized and critical healthcare services in their communities.

This project will also provide increased research and development opportunities using the data collected from the pilot initiative.


In partnership with Eastern Health and Memorial University, NLCHI will acquire and implement new technology from multiple vendors to support more innovation in electronic ordering (e-ordering) of medical processes and procedures. E-ordering will improve efficiency by developing and implementing a system to replace and streamline existing paper-based processes. The project will initially focus on e-ordering for the cardiac catheterization and vascular lab, and certain diagnostic imaging processes such as CT scans.

This new technology will have the ability to apply clinical guidelines to verify the appropriateness of the procedures being ordered. The project includes research to assess and improve the new e-ordering processes, and measure the overall impacts to healthcare delivery. It will also improve healthcare delivery by using machine learning, or artificial intelligence, to help identify healthcare solutions best suited to individual cases.

This initiative creates opportunities for local tehnology vendors to build on the e-ordering platform.

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