What is the CAN Health Network?

The Coordinated Accessible National (CAN) Health Network is a federally funded organization that works with Canadian health-care providers (called Edges), to identify their biggest challenges and match them with Canadian-made technology solutions.

The CAN Health Network creates an Integrated Marketplace that enables Canadian companies and their solutions to be rapidly validated, procured, and scaled across the country and abroad. This model supports the commercialization of Canadian companies by de-risking the procurement process and making it easier for health-care providers to adopt innovative technological solutions that solve real-world problems in the Canadian health care system.

The CAN Health Network does not distribute grants under CIHR and does not fund clinical trials.

What is an Edge?

Edges are public or private health-care organizations, such as hospitals, home care organizations, health authorities, and private clinics, with shared challenges. Together, these entities make up the purchasing arm of the CAN Health Network’s Integrated Marketplace.

We use the term Edge as CAN Health works directly with the most innovative parts of the health-care providers in our network—who are typically on the leading “edge” of the health-care innovation landscape in Canada. Edges are committed to being early adopters of innovative Canadian health-care solutions.

The term “Host Edge” refers to the Edge whose problem statement is the subject of a CAN Health commercialization project. The Edge then “hosts” this selected company and their solution throughout the project’s lifecycle.

“Lead Edge” refers to the Edge that is responsible for the Network and its administration in a given CAN Health Region.

  • Trillium Health Partners (THP) – Lead Edge for the Ontario Region
  • Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) – Lead Edge for the West Region
  • Horizon Health Network (Horizon) – Lead Edge for the Atlantic Region
How is the CAN Health Network funded?

The CAN Health Network is currently funded through the support of four Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) of the federal government:

 Ontario Region – Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario)

 Atlantic Region – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

 West Region – Pacific Economic Development Canada (PacifiCan) & Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan)

Does the CAN Health Network provide funding to companies to develop their products/solutions?

No. The CAN Health Network does not fund the Canadian companies it supports. Once a company is selected to tackle a challenge with an Edge, the Network provides funding directly to the Edge hosting the project to cover costs associated with validating and further developing the company’s solution/product.

As a result of working with the CAN Health Network, companies gain exposure to multiple health-care organizations across Canada, and are able to gain invaluable insights that may be leveraged to optimize their product’s offering and enhance its market-fit, providing increased scaling and procurement opportunities.

What is a CAN Health commercialization project?

A CAN Health commercialization project embeds a Canadian company within a CAN Health Edge, providing them access to a real-world environment to apply their solution.  Commercialization projects typically run from three months to one year. During that time, the company receives mentorship from coaches and subject matter experts, and guidance on navigating the health-care marketplace to increase the chance of a successful procurement.

How does the commercialization project work?
  1. Edges identify problem statements and pressing issues within their organizations that they are actively pursuing a solution for, and are looking to procure.
  2. The CAN Health team works with the Edge to formalize the problem statement, highlighting the details of the market-ready challenge the Edge is looking to solve and prepared to purchase, as well as the solution’s desired outcome(s).
  3. This problem statement becomes the “Call for Innovation” (CFI), posted to the CAN Health website for a period of 21 days, during which all Canadian companies who believe their product addresses the needs of the posted challenge are welcomed to apply.
  4. Applicant companies are then graded on their solution by the host Edge and the CAN Health team, and one final company is selected to proceed with the project and work together with the host Edge – this initiates a CAN Health commercialization project.

One of CAN Health’s key differentiators is that all projects are expected to end in a procurement process, led by the host Edge, upon their conclusion, with budgets pre-allocated prior to project launch. Additionally, at project close, other CAN Health Edges have the ability to purchase what is now a proven solution, tested by a trusted partner in the Network.

Does the CAN Health Network work with any companies or solutions outside of Canada?

No. CAN Health’s primary focus is on the growth and scaling of Canadian companies with innovative solutions to improve the delivery of health care in Canada.

My organization is interested in working with the CAN Health Network—how can I find out more?

Please contact us with your organization's website and how you would like to be involved.