Vector Institute introduces a Smart Health Initiative to drive innovation in healthcare

April 20, 2022

Blog Health Research

April 20, 2022

Today, the Vector Institute introduced its Smart Health initiative to ensure Ontarians benefit from the province’s world-class research in health and machine learning. Smart Health will enable collaboration among researchers and hospitals towards better care and health outcomes with greater system efficiency in our province. The initiative will also provide specialized training and upskilling for the future health workforce in the Ontario AI ecosystem.

With the generous support of the Government of Ontario contributing $4 million over four years for the initiative, Smart Health focuses on three interconnected activities:

  • The Vector Institute will work with health and academic institutions to establish secure computing environments that support innovative health research and applications.
  • The Vector Institute will work with clinicians to help hospitals across Ontario adopt machine learning applications such as those used by the University Health Network (UHN) to reduce hospital visits by remotely monitoring heart failure patients using a mobile app.
  • Building on Unity Health Toronto’s GEMINI Initiative to combine disparate data from over 30 hospitals across Ontario, Vector Institute researchers will collaborate with clinician scientists to generate innovative health insights and applications.

To demonstrate the positive impact that AI-assisted technologies can have within the health sector, Vector researchers have partnered with various hospitals and institutions on a series of deployment projects called Pathfinders.

One of the Pathfinder Projects, led by Public Health Ontario (PHO), enables timely tick identification to support the management and surveillance of Lyme Disease. Before adopting AI, the PHO Laboratory manually identified and reported back tick identification results which can take several weeks, but this timeline does not optimally support clinical decision making. As a result, PHO is developing, with Vector experts, mobile and web-based apps that can identify tick species’ risk of carrying Lyme Disease in real-time using computer vision on uploaded images, allowing for more timely medical management.

“There is a tremendous opportunity to apply world-leading expertise and innovations from the Vector Institute to improve health system efficiencies and patient care. Provincial support for the Smart Health initiative will accelerate progress towards our mandate to ensure Ontarians benefit from innovative machine learning research and applications.”

– Garth Gibson, President & CEO, Vector Institute

Learn more:

About Vector Institute

Launched in 2017, the Vector Institute works with industry, institutions, startups, and government to build AI talent and drive research excellence in AI to develop and sustain AI-based innovation to foster economic growth and improve the lives of Canadians.

Vector’s Three-Year Strategy aims to advance AI research, increase adoption in industry and health through programs for talent, commercialization, and application, and lead Canada towards the responsible use of AI. Programs for industry, led by top AI practitioners, offer foundations for applications in products and processes, company-specific guidance, training for professionals, and connections to workforce-ready talent. Vector is funded by the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada through the CIFAR Pan-Canadian AI Strategy, and industry sponsors.



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