Posted March 4, 2011
Faster development and testing of new medical devices and technologies that improve healthcare services are becoming a reality through a state-of-the-art medical ward at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary.
A combined federal-provincial investment of more than $1.9 million under the Canada-Alberta Western Economic Partnership Agreement (WEPA) is supporting the Ward of the 21st Century (W21C) to staff and purchase lab equipment. Ultimately, this project will allow small- and medium-sized firms to cost-effectively demonstrate new healthcare solutions and applications in a real healthcare setting.
“Our Government’s investment will help strengthen Alberta’s biomedical sector by promoting new technologies that benefit the health of Canadians, while also creating new economic opportunities and jobs,” said Rob Anders, Member of Parliament for Calgary West, on behalf of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification.
“Health research is about more than just the big discovery, we need to get those discoveries into the hands of our doctors and nurses so they help patients,” said the Honourable Greg Weadick, Minister of Alberta Advanced Education and Technology. “That’s why projects like this one are so important; they move ideas from the lab to the bedside.”
As a cutting-edge test site for prototypical hospital design, innovative medical technologies, and approaches to delivery of care, the W21C will now be able to further assist local firms to assess and refine new and emerging medical technologies. By providing product testing and validation services, as well as access to multi-disciplinary health research expertise, the project is expected to result in the development of innovative solutions that address the needs and challenges of the healthcare sector.
“Innovation, discovery and learning is at the heart of the University of Calgary's mandate–a mandate clearly reflected in the W21C’s multidisciplinary network that enables unique and forward thinking research and clinical care practices to emerge,” said Dr. Elizabeth Cannon, President of the University of Calgary. “The University is very proud of its partnership with W21C.”
The W21C is a not-for-profit research and innovation initiative that is led in partnership by Alberta Health Services and the University of Calgary. The W21C attracts health care professionals, researchers, industry partners and other stakeholders to collaborate on innovative approaches to improving patient safety and quality of care. W21C operates out of the state-of-the-art medical teaching unit at Foothills Medical Centre, as well as the W21C Research and Innovation Centre in the Teaching Research and Wellness (TRW) Building at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Medicine.
“As a leader of the W21C, a citizen of Canada and a resident of Alberta, I am delighted to see the federal and provincial governments invest in innovation,” said Dr. William Ghali, Director of the Calgary Institute for Population and Public Health, University of Calgary and Co-Director, W21C. “We are excited to progress with our mandate—improving patient safety and quality of care.”
The investments by the Governments of Canada and Alberta are made through the Canada-Alberta Western Economic Partnership Agreement. Through this agreement, Canada and Alberta are jointly contributing $50 million, over four years, to strengthen economic activity and improve quality of life in Alberta communities.