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Answering The Call For Sustainable Healthcare

A new Canadian initiative engages consumers in health care innovation.

Submitted by: Marc Stoiber

Posted: Apr 24, 2012 – 11:31 AM EST

Tags: healthcare, sustainability, nutrition, government, innovation

 
Marc

By Marc Stoiber

Healthcare across North America is in crisis. An aging boomer generation, increasingly unhealthy youth, and tapped out taxpayers are pushing the system to the brink. The only solution is a radical change in the way we interact with healthcare, and a fundamental rethink of the system itself.

To effect that change, British Columbia, Canada, launched a massive healthcare innovation program. Big improvements were (and continue to be) implemented in preventative care, hospitals, community care and support systems.

To make the innovations work, though, ordinary citizens needed to understand what was happening - and what role they personally played in this massive shift.

This required a fairly unique piece of communication. BC’ers needed to understand the magnitude of the job, so they wouldn’t expect the system to fix itself overnight. At the same time, they needed to understand that the biggest piece of the innovation puzzle was them: a culture of prevention, better diet, and less stress were the best cures the system could hope for.

Make It Entertaining. Make It Stick

To address these issues, the government needed to create an information campaign that wouldn’t bore citizens to death.

The team brainstormed ideas that worked for them – and the tactic they kept coming back to was the ‘RSA’ style films that had been used to animate TED talks. Nine films were crafted on subjects as diverse as the Story Of Healthcare to Innovation In The Emergency Room.

These films were then incorporated into thinkhealthbc.ca, a site that featured everything from stakeholder videos to chat rooms where BC residents could voice their questions, concerns and ideas.

A Real Time Online Answer Line

Significantly, the site also included a feature that is virtually unheard of in government sites: a real time online answer line. Not only is this a major leap toward connecting government with BC residents; it's also a rich source of learning and ideas for future innovation.

The program has just launched, and judging by chatroom activity, is getting good traction with citizens.

As Graham Whitmarsh, Deputy Minister of Health says, "This is possibly the most ambitious proactive program we’ve created this year. And, I’m happy to say, it’s one of the most creative pieces of work I’ve ever seen come out of government.”

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by CSRwire contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of CSRwire.

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