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AI centre set for new Niagara Falls hospital

Jim DiodatiNIAGARA FALLS, Ont. – The 2018 Ontario budget includes an investment of up to $10 million to create a Centre of Excellence in Health Care Artificial Intelligence at the new Niagara South Hospital Site in Niagara Falls.

The government is partnering with Niagara Health, St. Joseph’s Health System Hamilton, McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences and the Vector Institute, in a collaborative effort between academic and private sector interests on this initiative.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform patient outcomes and quality of care. For example, AI can provide clinicians with powerful tools to identify cancer, pneumonia and heart disease risk; assist in monitoring intensive care patients; and help identify the most effective drugs for individuals based on their personal genome.

Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati (pictured), who was invited to Toronto for the announcement, stated that, “This important investment signals a sea change in how Niagara Falls is perceived – not only as a world class tourist destination, but as an innovative hub for leading-edge artificial intelligence, big data and supercomputing.

“This announcement puts Niagara Falls and our new hospital in a leadership position to translate Canada’s investment in AI into dramatically enhanced patient care, improvements in the work life of healthcare providers, and the provision of high tech employment opportunities.”

Dr. Kevin Smith, chief executive officer of Niagara Health, credits Mayor Diodati with being instrumental in driving this initiative stating, “Jim has been relentless in the pursuit of bringing an Artificial Intelligence Centre of Excellence component to the new Niagara South Hospital.”

“One model that’s currently under exploration in a number of places … has been when you look at thousands and thousands of heart racing or heart rhythms and you find a number of them who have this kind of heart rhythm in a few days went on to have a bad result – that if they had intervened earlier, could have been prevented,” said Mr. Smith.

“With AI, they start to help us identify those potential patients at risks, and if we can identify them, then we can do something in an elected fashion rather than an acute fashion, resulting in a much, much better outcome.”

The new hospital will provide healthcare to over 434,000 people through state-of-the-art facilities designed to meet the region’s changing healthcare needs.

Patients will have access to emergency and urgent care, laboratory services, ambulatory clinics, and full diagnostics including MRI, CT scans, ultrasounds and X-rays. The hospital will also feature traditional healing spaces and will continue to facilitate Niagara Health’s role in educating medical and other health professionals.

When complete, patients in the region will also have access to:
• General surgical services
• A regional stroke program
• Seniors’ wellness and aging programs
• Breast screening services
• Integrated chronic disease management programs
• Mental health and addictions programs and outpatient services for children, youth and adults.

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