Charting the future of healthcare in Newfoundland and Labrador

By Mark Lane

Impact Manager – Rural Newfoundland & Labrador

November 18, 2022

According to the Health Accord report we must first “focus on health, not simply healthcare”.

Since joining Northpine a year ago, I have learned many new things; social finance, venture capital, venture philanthropy, multiculturalism, diversity, and systemic racism.

But the most surprising learning has to be how poorly my home province, which I dearly love, Newfoundland and Labrador, performs nationally in most social determinants of health.

Across 10 provinces, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have some of the worst health outcomes with
(i) a higher rate of deaths from heart disease, cancer, and stroke,
(ii) the lowest life expectancy of all the provinces,
(iii) the highest level of complex health needs among children, and
(iv) the highest proportion of older people with three or more chronic illnesses
to name just a few.

On February, 17, 2022, the Health Accord NL submitted a Report: Our Province. Our Health. Our Future. A 10-Year Health Transformation.

In concert the Health Accord NL also presented a companion report entitled Our Province. Our Health. A 10-Year Health Transformation: The Blueprint.

Contained within the reports were 57 recommendations for implementation over a 5-year period; which are categorized in four distinct areas: social determinants of health, a rebalanced health care system, pathways to facilitate change, and governance.

As indicated by the Health Accord, there will be short-term costs to implementing Health Accord NL with longer- term efficiencies and assumed better health outcomes.

The cost of doing nothing will be far greater because our health outcomes will not improve and the health system will become even less sustainable.

Health Accord NL, 2022 

Also in the report is the notion that to achieve transformation we must first “focus on health, not simply healthcare”. According to the Health Accord, social, economic, and environmental factors (i.e., the social determinants of health) have more influence on health (60%) than the actual health system (25%) or our genetic make-up and biology (15%).

In my role as Impact Manager, a priority is to identify potential opportunities of collaborative catalytic investments to assist in implementing recommendations of the Health Accord.

The immediate challenge will be to narrow the scope of potential pipeline investment opportunities; as there are many, having met with more than 250 key organizations and community leaders since this time last year.

To prioritize our pipeline investments, a rigorous discovery and due diligence process will be utilized using such key criteria as risk capital required, appropriate application and deployment of available financial instruments, leveraging, key collaborators, scalability, sustainability and identification of transformative leaders within systems and community to help support, lead and monitor the change.

Although the task and road ahead are not for the faint of heart, I feel confident that the Northpine Foundation can play a pivotal role in the future of health and health care in Newfoundland and Labrador.

For more information on the Health Accord please visit : https://healthaccordnl.ca/final-reports/

If you or someone you know have a venture that can solve the challenges of healthcare delivery and/or improve social determinants of health in our rural and remote communities, I encourage you to reach out and tell us more about you and your venture.