Grand River Hospital in Kitchener has been named the 2023 CAN Health Network Edge of the Year, a national honour that recognizes an institution’s commitment to improving health care through Canadian innovation.

The award was announced this week at the annual general meeting of the Coordinated Accessible National Health Network, also known as CAN Health.

The CAN Health Network is a national partnership comprised of 31 leading Canadian health organizations – referred to as “edges” – that collaborate with Canadian technology companies to find innovative solutions to common health-care challenges.

Communitech has been a key CAN Health partner since 2021. In 2022, the federal government announced $30 million in funding to help CAN Health and Communitech expand the national network of edges.

Grand River Hospital, which has a long history of assisting with medical research and clinical trials, was one of the first hospitals to participate in the CAN Health Network.

In announcing the 2023 Edge of the Year Award, CAN Health cited several Grand River projects. One involved the hospital’s partnership with Waterloo-based Axonify, which provides an online learning platform to deliver and reinforce training material for employees with busy front-line jobs, such as nurses.

Grand River was also cited for launching two recent commercialization projects. The first involves a collaboration with Waterloo-based KA Imaging to improve patient outcomes with the company’s portable X-ray device, which provides health-care workers with high-quality images right at the bedside.

The second is with Signal 1, a Toronto-based startup that uses artificial intelligence to monitor patients and provide health-care providers with data-based predictions to improve patient care.

“Congratulations to Grand River Hospital CEO Ron Gagnon and his entire team,” said Chris Albinson, CEO and President of Communitech. “This is an important recognition of your efforts to deploy Canadian innovation to improve quality of care here at home while helping Canadian founders succeed globally.”

The CAN Health approach aligns with Communitech's “integrated markets” strategy, which uses an engagement model to bring procurement officials in the public sector together with Canadian tech companies to find innovative solutions to sector-specific challenges. 

Visit the CAN Health website for information about other award winners.