Nurturing a new perspective on healthcare

Craig Kuziemsky joined Telfer in 2007 and is currently a full professor and the University Research Chair in Healthcare Innovation. He teaches courses at the undergraduate level as well as in the Master of Health Administration, the Master of Science in Health Systems and the PhD program.

Barbara Orser

Craig Kuziemsky

Telfer rightly prides itself on providing students with a multi-faceted understanding of management principles, but an even greater point of pride is helping students apply those principles to areas that might not typically be considered in this way. Healthcare is one field that many Canadians are hesitant to think about from a business perspective as they worry about eroding the universality we have come to embrace. But if we think about business as the exchange of goods and services then it makes total sense to regard patients as consumers of goods and services. Embracing this philosophy will allow healthcare to be innovative in its delivery to realize efficiencies that have transformed so many other facets of modern society.  

I have brought my own interest in this field to the Telfer curriculum, which now incorporates aspects of health system thinking that are seldom found in academic settings, particularly in management schools. While there is a good evidence base to support clinical outcomes, there is far less evidence on healthcare transformation. Our health systems program explores the need for hard evidence about healthcare innovation and transformation that can facilitate better healthcare outcomes. For example, evidence is needed on how to coordinate interdisciplinary healthcare teams in order to manage care of patients with complex conditions such as chronic diseases. Our students work to address this shortcoming and create the kind of patient-oriented, collaborative system that will provide Canadians with the support that they expect.

Many of these same students embrace the challenge and are inspired by how much work lies ahead of them if they want to help our country’s healthcare system match the caliber of its counterparts elsewhere. Some of them aspire to research positions where they can assemble the critical data that health care managers require, while others set their sights on work in the clinical settings where changes will be implemented. In this way our graduates are devoting their knowledge and skills to the welfare of millions of Canadians, working for what may well be the biggest business in the country!