McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

HEALNet gets its $2.4 million in federal funding renewed until 2002

Published: July 21, 1998

Dr. Tom Brzustowski, chair of the Steering Committee for the federal Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) Program and president of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), announced today that HEALNet, the Health Evidence Application and Linkage Network based within the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University, was confirmed for funding until the year 2002. This represents a federal research and development investment of $9.6 million from 1998 to 2002.

HEALNet is a national network linking more than 75 researchers in 17

Canadian universities and is funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) in partnership with Industry Canada.

In 1995, HEALNet was funded for a seven-year period. The progress of each network within HEALNet is closely monitored on an on-going basis with a peer review undertaken at the mid-point of the seven-year cycle.

The mid-term review process itself involved the preparation of a progress report on the accomplishments to date; a strategic plan on future goals, objectives and research; and a two-day, in-depth meeting with an international expert panel that reviewed the network's plans to the year 2002. The recommendations of the expert panel were reviewed and approved by the Steering Committee of the NCE program composed of the three granting councils' presidents and the Minister of Industry Canada.

"This renewal will allow HEALNet to continue to help improve decision-making within Canada's health system through the development of decision support strategies for evidence-based care in partnership with decision makers and the private sector," says Dr. George Browman, HEALNet program leader.

HEALNet research focuses on the development and use of high quality information to improve the caliber of decisions within Canada's health system. HEALNet also strives to bring together researchers and the private sector to address information problems faced by health workers and patients.

"HEALNet has demonstrated how the different perspectives from industry and the public sector can lead to innovative solutions for decision-makers. For example, HEALNet's first spin-off company, INFOWard, recently received $450,000 from the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research to further the development of its desk-top health information management systems," says Ron Yamada, HEALNet Board Chair.

HEALNet's research is currently being commercialized by INFOWard and is having an impact in Hamilton. Over two hundred work stations within the Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation are being equipped with INFOWard's Clinical Integrator (CLINT). This will allow clinicians at those sites to browse vast databases of medical information giving them bed-side access to the latest medical information.

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