Grand River Hospital in Kitchener announced it will be the first teaching community hospital in Canada to use artificial intelligence as a clinical decision support system.

On Thursday, the hospital said it has partnered with Signal 1.

“This doesn’t replace the work and expertise of multi-disciplinary care teams, and in fact, it was developed in partnership with our clinical teams,” said Bonnie Camm, Executive Vice President of Clinical Services at Grand River Hospital.

Camm said the technology will allow the hospital to analyze the data 48 hours before a human would be able to make recommendations for a patient.

These recommendations include initiating discharge planning support to get patients home to their families.

“It will also potentially help us to free up beds sooner to help with capacity pressures,” said Camm.

The system builds on algorithms initially developed - and currently in use - at St. Michael’s Hospital, a site of Unity Health Toronto, according to the hospital.

The technology will also support smart resourcing, allowing workers to assign specialized teams and senior clinicians to patients who have increased or more complex needs and repositioning additional staff to support the recovery of those with less acute care needs.

Signal 1 is a health start-up that helps hospitals enhance patient care with an AI-powered clinical decision support system. Signal 1’s system delivers real-time insights on changes in patient’s conditions and care needs, monitoring patients from the time of admission right through discharge.

“Hospitals have spent years investing in digitization which was then accelerated by COVID-19. They already have all of the data they need for us to deliver real-time patient insights to their clinical teams,” said Signal 1 CEO Tomi Poutanen. “It’s a matter of being open to embedding machine-based predictions into workflows. With Grand River Hospital, we have a forward-thinking partner that has a track record for innovation and a desire to bring novel solutions to the healthcare industry.”

This work is being funded by the Coordinated Accessible National (CAN) Health Network, a federally funded organization that works with Canadian health-care providers to identify their biggest challenges and match them with Canadian-made technology solutions.