Health Minister Rona Ambrose has launched a high-profile panel on innovation, five months after the announcement was first made.

The wise person’s panel is meant to examine and keep track of the state of health care innovation in Canada. Ambrose announced the creation of the wise persons panel at an Economic Club of Canada luncheon in late January.

“We know more money is not the solution. It is time to get innovative and ensure our healthcare system continues to improve,” Ambrose said in a press release.

The panel will analyze health system policies to ensure they align with the government’s goals of amping-up innovation and making the health care system more sustainable. It will also look at the creative approaches to health care in Canada, and abroad in the aims of offering recommendations for change to the federal government.

Dr. David Naylor, a Canadian physician and former president of the University of Toronto, has been named chair. Other panelists include Indigo Chair and CEO Heather Reisman, CEO of Alberta Innovates Cyril Frank, Dean of Nursing at the Université de Montréal Francine Girard, Toby Jenkins, Jack Mintz, Chris Power, and Neil Fraser.

Ambrose has said repeatedly that Canada needs to focus on innovation as a way to curtail health care costs. This year, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, spending on health care is expected to exceed $ 211 billion, which translates into roughly $ 6,000 per patient.

In 2011, then-finance minister Jim Flaherty announced that the rate of increase of transfers to the provinces for health would be reduced beginning in 2016. Rather than receiving a 6 per cent annual increase, additional government funding would would be tied to economic growth, which is hovering around 4 per cent. It’s estimated the move will save the feds $ 36 billion over ten years.

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