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Hamilton Health Sciences and IBM launch accelerator

Rob MacIsaacHAMILTON, Ont. – Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) and IBM Canada have officially launched a new health innovation accelerator in downtown Hamilton, which will serve as a platform for local entrepreneurs, researchers and healthcare professionals to collaborate on projects that will help improve the delivery of healthcare across the region, the country and the global market.

The HHS Innovation Exchange initiative, within the IBM Innovation Space in Hamilton, gives participants access to an array of IBM Watson cognitive and analytics software, expertise in cloud computing and high-performance computing infrastructure, and a network of global collaborators.

Hamilton Health Sciences, with its cadre of more than 1,500 research staff and 15,000 healthcare employees across six facilities, provides practical industry expertise and a “real-world” test environment.

“We’re applying our respective expertise in health and technology to find innovative solutions to today’s most pressing healthcare challenges,” said Rob MacIsaac (pictured), president & CEO of HHS. “This centre will serve as a launch pad for work that will change how we provide healthcare in Ontario and beyond.”

Since the joint announcement of the IBM and HHS collaborative, the initiative has fueled several projects focused on developing technology-enabled solutions to healthcare delivery challenges. One of the key projects includes the Hamilton Early Warning Score (HEWS), an enhanced vital signs monitoring system that uses unique monitoring software programmed to catch subtle decline in a patient’s health and alert caregivers for early intervention.

To date, HEWS has contributed to an 87 percent reduction in the volume of Code Blues at Hamilton Health Sciences’ adult inpatient sites. Together, HHS and IBM are currently exploring opportunities to enhance and commercialize HEWS for deployment to other healthcare centres.

The initiative will also support collaboration with local companies to accelerate the commercialization and implementation of their products and services across Canada’s healthcare system. Current collaborations include:

• Mariner Endosurgery’s platform LaparoGuard unites machine learning, robotic assistance and advanced visualization with one common goal: augmenting surgeon performance. LaparoGuard is a novel soft-tissue surgical navigation suite that augments visualization during laparoscopic surgeries, enhancing the safety profile of laparoscopic surgery to assist surgeons in delivering a superior quality of care to their patients.

• Through the initiative, Hamilton-based Gene Blueprint will develop an application that combines a person’s DNA, proprietary algorithm, patented gene scores and lifestyle data to make evidence-based recommendations on the type of nutrition and exercise strategies that are most likely to be effective for the individual.

• Using IBM Watson’s natural language processing capabilities, Arinai will provide language translation at the point of care for very specific clinical procedures. The application will aim to translate clinical jargon and enable the informed consent process across various languages.

The new hub is the latest IBM Innovation Space in Canada, following locations in Toronto, Calgary and Markham, to help stimulate Canadian innovation and cultivate research and development projects out into the global marketplace through collaborations with leaders in government, industries, and academia. The Hamilton model is unique in that it focuses specifically on healthcare innovation, with HHS as a key partner.

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