Skip to main content

How Ont. hospitals are using AI to advance healthcare

Grand River Hospital in Kitchener is seen on June 8, 2022. (Alison Sandstrom/CTV Kitchener) Grand River Hospital in Kitchener is seen on June 8, 2022. (Alison Sandstrom/CTV Kitchener)

Hospitals across the province are exploring how artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to advance healthcare.

At Grand River Hospital (GRH) in Kitchener, it’s helping staff predict changes in patient needs.

Over the last year, the hospital has partnered with the company Signal 1 to pilot an AI powered system meant to support clinical decisions.

It works by taking patient data and running it through an AI algorithm, which then makes predictions about whether a patient may be nearly ready to be discharged or if they might need a higher level of care.

“It will make a prediction as to whether the patient is predicted to potentially improve or their condition deteriorate,” explained Carla Girolametto, GRH director of innovation.

Those predictions can help doctors with early intervention. It has the potential to free up beds sooner, helping with capacity issues.

The hospital said it also allows them to manage their staffing resources better.

In Toronto, St. Michael’s Hospital is using AI to detect delirium – a serious change in mental abilities resulting in confused thinking and lack of awareness.

“Once it occurs, it’s very consequential,” Dr. Fahad Razak, internist at St. Michael’s Hospital, said. “It will double the chance that you end up in a nursing home, for example. It doubles to the risk of dying in hospital and it increases cost by on average about $11,000 per patient.”

Dr. Razak’s team uses an AI tool that combs through patient notes to make sure a delirium diagnosis doesn’t get overlooked.

“It’s increased the recognition of delirium from missing 75 per cent of cases to now 90 per cent accuracy in capturing where delirium is occurring. So that’s a remarkable advance,” Dr. Razak said.

Dr. Razak said potential future uses of AI in healthcare are exciting.

“The promise of what AI can deliver to the system is something I think has galvanized and excited people more than any other innovation I've seen in the last decade.”

Both hospitals said AI tools are meant to support not replace human interaction.

“It will never replace the human factor,” Girolametto said. “It will never replace clinician judgment. So the clinical decisions, the treatment decisions are not made by a ‘robot’ or technology tool.” Top Stories

Here is Canada's unseasonably mild December forecast

December is predicted to be unseasonably mild across Canada, thanks to a "moderate-to-strong" El Nino and human-caused warming. Warming and precipitation trends will be stronger in some parts of the country than others, and severe weather is still possible, meteorologists say.

Stay Connected