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The Consortium


The Health Science Information Consortium began planning its strategies for 2023 – 2026 at a time when strategic decisions were never more vital. The trends and developments impacting HSIC, an organization that is at the intersection of the healthcare and information sectors are coming from all directions. Healthcare and information – specifically publishing – are volatile. Both sectors are struggling to create new ways of working and increasing sustainability amid continuous technological advances and competition for funds or revenue. In addition, the shifts in the financial, service, operational and delivery models for both healthcare and publishing will have significant impacts on the Consortium and its members both short term and long term.

The opportunities for Information Professionals (IP) are also changing. The pandemic has revealed the library is more than its space and as new opportunities abound in areas of data management, data integration, knowledge mobilization and even Artificial Intelligence, Information Professionals must also rethink services while grappling with how to offer more with already limited resources.

Given these challenging conditions, the steering committee determined simply honing our current service model was likely not sustainable in the long term. With our buying power on the decline, less and less a selling feature for new members, HSIC needs to consider other ways it can continue to add value to existing members and retain and attract members in future.  The environmental conditions in which HSIC has operated for the past 15 years are evolving. Simply, HSIC must evolve with them.

However, with still too many unknowns, it is not yet time to jump.  Instead, HSIC’s next strategic plan will develop a “bridge to the future.”  It will include extensive exploration of different service models/scenarios the Consortium could pursue, fully evaluating each and then choosing the one that will bring continuing value to our members.  That plan is laid out here.


To be best prepared for future opportunities, the Consortium’s focus for the next 12 – 18 months needs to build a bridge to the long-term strategies while:

  • providing robust member services and
  • continuing to modernize operations to support future scenarios. 

GOAL - Streamline operations


  • Update licensing to reflect current and future needs and expectations.
  • Evaluate dealing only in CDN$ to avoid confusion and expedite payments.

GOAL - Focus professional development on industry demands.


  • Clearly identify new professional demands
    • Gather data from healthcare practitioners on how information professionals could evolve to continue to support their needs (e.g. Data Management, Data integration, Research Management, etc).
    • Gather data from member information professionals on new needs for training and professional development (e.g. Business skills, communication skills)
  • Design and deliver the responsive professional development. 
    • Assess need for additional funding to support member needs

GOAL - Facilitate effective networking/sharing of marketing/advocacy/professional materials.

  • Continue encourage sharing of expertise and materials through increased use of existing mechanisms (e.g. listserv, Knowledge exchange)


Exploring different business models, service models and scenarios will provide important inputs for the Consortium and our member libraries to better understand their new operating environment, uncover new opportunities and ensure they continue to thrive.

GOAL - Complete scan/review of:

  • relevant models
  • trends – and implications for decision-making and for HSIC
  • research regarding decision-making in clinical settings

GOAL - Explore and evaluate each of the following scenarios:

Scenario 1 – Explore new service models

  • Reduce/eliminate duplication with other library associations and refocus on unique model
  • Understand different service models for health library services (i.e. Consortia globally, Scholar’s portal) where there is centralization of some services
  • Encourage broader growth mandate to keep fees down and support aspirations for provincial funding consideration
  • Develop relationship more directly with “buyer”
  • Evaluate feasibility of:
    • Central catalog
    • Central portal of health resources
    • Core resource offering
    • Additional services (i.e. retrieval, instruction)

Will this new model drive more growth across province?

Scenario 2 – Status Quo

  • Continue to maintain current services for a few more years.
  • Keep membership stable.
  • Minimize risk in uncertain environment.

Scenario 3 – Wind down the Consortium

  • With diminishing requirement for buying power and lack of engagement of membership in consortium activities, explore narrowing or dissolving the Consortium and transitioning buying responsibilities to UTL.
  • What alternatives for other Consortium services (i.e. Professional development) exist?
  • Evaluate the cost/benefit of annual eResource renewals transitioning to UTL to manage? 
  • How would that impact costs and funding?


The long-term approach to provincialization will rely on both the strengthening of the operations and a mid-term strategy that expands growth of membership more broadly across Ontario.

GOAL - Design an approach to request provincial funding:

  • Who are the right partners?
  • How will the funding work?
  • What content should be funded?