Health care today is facing some of the most urgent and pressing issues. As our population grows and ages, there is an unprecedented level of demand for health care and services. Last year, health expenditure in Canada was expected to reach $228 billion, or $6,299 per patient.

To address these challenges within the context of competing priorities and the limited ability on the part of the governments to continually increase health-care spending, we need to work together to develop innovative and creative solutions. Collaboration is the key to success.

In taking steps to address these challenges, The Lung Association has begun hosting a series of policy forums. Each forum will focus on a different topic aimed at developing creative and actionable solutions that are needed now more than ever to improve the health-care system in Ontario. Attendees include government, officials, policy-makers and private sector representatives.

Our first forum took place on March 28, 2017 and was about the role of private-public partnerships in health care.

This forum examined how public-private partnerships have the potential to have a significant and positive impact on the health-care system by addressing spiralling costs, improving treatment and care, and addressing overall access to health care.

The goal of this forum was to identify and pressure-test the key success factors required to design, launch and scale innovative public-private partnerships.

Many outcomes emerged, and it became clear that we need to do everything we can to ensure that we continue to foster collaboration in all of its forms and take our successes beyond the pilot stage. It is only then that public-private partnerships can make a real difference in the health-care system. It is only then that we can make sure less people in Ontario, like Bev, do not struggle to breathe.

Patients like Bev Black, a Lung Health Ambassador for The Lung Association, personally understand this strain. She remembers having a severe exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and found herself requiring health-care services. She was hospitalized and on life support. With the imminent birth of her granddaughter, Bev pulled through and now is a proponent of better health care.