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Innovation Fund

Divisions of Family Practice across BC can now apply for additional funding for projects aimed at fostering organizational development. Established by the provincial Divisions team, the Innovation Fund will ensure that financial resources are available for divisions─whenever they need them─to implement ideas that deepen their organizational capacity. The goal of the program is to implement innovative strategies that expand divisions’ ability to improve the professional satisfaction of division members and the delivery of primary care.

A Collaborative Approach

The Divisions of Family Practice initiative strives to model new ways of working collaboratively. This extends beyond working with health care partners, to local divisions working with each other and with the provincial Divisions team. The Innovation Fund provides an opportunity for divisions to extend this collaborative approach to the realm of financial resources.

Typically, divisions with budget shortfalls must forego development opportunities, while those with budget surpluses often race to spend leftover funds and can be distracted from planned strategies for fear of permanently losing those financial resources. The provincial team asks that now when a division has leftover funds at the end of a fiscal year, it consider returning unused, undesignated funds to the provincial Divisions office. Those surplus resources will remain in a pooled fund specifically for local divisions, ensuring that funds are available to them when needed.

For example if an opportunity to improve primary care surfaces during the fiscal year and a division lacks the financial resources to participate, the provincial Divisions team will use the Innovation Fund to help. Several divisions have already expressed confidence in the fund and contributed a total of $1.1 million of unused money. Together with $3 million provided by the GPSC, there is currently $4.1 million available in the Innovation Fund.

Types of Projects

Ideally, projects will be innovative yet practical and focus on a sustainable strategy or ‘promising practice’. These projects may:
  • Explore the implementation of a proposed strategy for the first time.
  • Implement a known strategy but with a new approach.
  • Extend a known strategy to a different region.
At the project end, outcomes and financial status must be reported back. Where appropriate, the outcomes may be shared with other divisions. Any monies not spent will be returned to this fund. Divisions are welcome to submit more than one application and to collaborate with others (divisions, community groups, etc.).

Divisions are encouraged to ask questions and seek clarification during the proposal writing phase. Assistance is available for the development of innovative and high-quality proposals, and to ensure the provision of necessary information to prepare a strong proposal.

Proposal Assessment Indicators

Each proposal will be assessed on:
  • Its widespread benefit to the community.
  • Its widespread benefit to the physicians in your division.
  • Its congruence with the overall Divisions of Family Practice mandate.
  • Its foundation in existing research, information, and/or experience.
  • Its contribution to new knowledge and/or practices.
  • Its support among relevant partners.
  • Its measurability.
  • Its achievability based on proposed outcomes, budget, and time frames.
Divisions can access the Innovation Fund by meeting the criteria as set out in this document and by sending an application to the provincial team office.

Proposal guidelines

The proposal should be less than 1000 words and should outline:
  • The proposed impact or outcome and anticipated change or improvement.
  • Key activities of the project.
  • Other projects that are similar in nature.
  • A timeline that articulates when the project will begin and end.
  • The total cost estimate to design and implement the initiative along with a budget.
  • The person(s) responsible for leading the project.
If a proposal has a component that is clinical in nature:
  • A description of existing services must be identified with an assessment of what is and is not working and how this proposal will address these issues. 
  • The support of the proposal by Divisions partners must be evident.
If the project is collaborative in nature, the proposal must identify the roles and contributions of all project participants.

Sample budget template

Project Expenses

Cash Expenses (provide only broad categories)


Consultant fees


Staffing costs


Administrative fees








Total Cash Expenses



In-kind Contributions         


Volunteer time


Meeting space




Total In-kind Contributions



Total Project Expenses



Reporting back guidelines

Description of project

  • Project description: activities undertaken, description of how the actual project compared to the proposed project, etc.
  • Budget summary: summarize actual project expenses. It is not necessary to attach receipts, invoices, etc.; however, they must be available upon request for up to 1 year after the date of final report submission.

Evaluation of project

  • Outcomes achieved compared to the anticipated outcomes.
  • Lessons learned, including unexpected benefits and challenges.

Next steps

  • Based on your project experience, do you plan to pursue the implementation of this strategy on an ongoing basis? If so, why? If not, why not?
  • What recommendations would you have for other groups who may want to use this strategy?

Sample Funded Projects

The provincial Divisions office has funded several proposals as part of the Innovation Fund. A sample of the successful projects are listed below in no particular order.

1. Part-time Quality Improvement Advisor to measure division work
 This project funds a part-time Quality Improvement (QI) Advisor to create a Division QI Learning Lab and QI Learning and Innovation Community to measure the work of the division. Among other things, the objective is to create QI project charters – including aim statements, process measures, outcome measures and balancing measures – for each of the division’s working groups.

2. Second year of quality improvement support
 Following on from the above project, this proposal funds a second year of quality improvement support to refine, expand and spread the work completed by the above division in the previous year.

3. Digital health messages for patients in GP waiting rooms
 This is a one-year pilot project where digital messages are delivered in the waiting rooms of five family physician practices. The messages – provided by a core group from the health authority, the Medical Health Officer’s team and the division – are designed to call patients to action toward better health outcomes in collaboration with their primary care providers.

4. Patient self-management strategy
 This project will involve implementation of an extensive patient self-management strategy, including a patient recall strategy, an automated recall solution with support and training for front-line medical office assistants and physicians.

5. Sharps disposal project
 Funding for this project will be directed towards a feasibility study, implementation and other project expenses associated with a new way of disposing of sharps and confidential shredding. Infrastructure for the program is provided by local organizations, including a society for community living, which allows a community centered solution – instead of a commercial one – that could also provide employment for people with disabilities.

6. Staff support for the Residential Care Program Prototype
 Financial resources will be used for part-time staff to support the evolution and evaluation of the Residential Care Program Prototype from a quality improvement perspective. The prototype supports longitudinal, relational care by primary care physicians for individuals living in several residential care facilities in the area.

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