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Innovation Fund

Divisions of Family Practice across BC can apply for additional funding for projects aimed at fostering organizational development. Established by the provincial Divisions team, the Innovation Fund helps to ensure that financial resources are available for divisions 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 physicians 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 or to enhance organizational capacity surfaces during the fiscal year and a division lacks the financial resources to participate, ​it can submit a request for Innovation funding.

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 in a new direction not tried before.
Divisions are encouraged to ask questions and seek clarification during the application process. It is our goal to ensure that divisions are supported and given the necessary information to prepare a strong proposal.

Project Assessment Indicators


Each project 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 potential for scalability
  • Its potential measurability.
  • Its achievability based on proposed outcomes, budget, and time frames.

Funding request and approval process


There is a now a two-step process for submitting funding requests.

Step one: Submit a letter of intent

Submit for review a one-page letter of intent that provides a brief description of the project idea and:
  • Where it will take place.
  • The gap in programs or services it addresses.
  • Who would be involved.
  • When it would start and end.
  • The outcome or impact it would achieve.
  • The estimated cost.
If the project is determined to be an appropriate candidate for Innovation funding consideration, the division will be invited to submit a funding proposal.

Step two: Submit a comprehensive funding proposal

The comprehensive proposal must include the information outlined in the letter of intent, as well as the following:
  • Demonstrated understanding of the nature of the problem or opportunity.
  • Comprehensiveness and feasibility of strategy(ies) to address the problem or opportunity, including, where appropriate:
    • ​Optimizing, streamlining, and/or integrating existing resources to maximize impact.
    • ​Alignments with local, regional, and provincial initiatives.
    • ​Plan for sustainability.
    • ​Identification of risks and mitigation strategies.
  • Demonstrated engagement/partnerships with key stakeholders.
  • Divisional capacity to manage the project.
  • Communications and knowledge transfer strategy to support the project.
  • Clear, embedded plans for quality improvement and evaluation.
  • Feasibility of plan, including budget and ability to complete the project within proposed timelines.
See guidelines for developing a letter of intent and a comprehensive proposal.

Letters of intent and proposals will be accepted as they are submitted and reviewed monthly. Divisions are encouraged to work with their Physician Engagement Lead when preparing the letter of intent and prior to submitting a funding proposal for consideration.
For further details, including Innovation funding parameters and principles, see the Innovation Fund Information Package and Application Guidelines.


Reporting back

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.).​

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 continue 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.
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