Unity Health partners with AI startup, TD Bank
April 27, 2022
TORONTO – Signal 1, a healthcare AI start-up that aims to improve patient outcomes, enhance hospital flow and reduce stress on front-line workers, has announced strategic collaborations with Unity Health Toronto, a leading health network in Ontario, and with TD Bank Group and its world-leading applied AI division, Layer 6.
Tomi Poutanen (pictured), a co-founder of Layer 6, will serve as the CEO of Signal 1. Signal 1 launches with $10 million (USD) in seed funding led by Inovia Capital. Other investors in the round include TD, AI pioneer Geoffrey Hinton and Radical Ventures, where Poutanen is a co-founder and partner.
Through its collaboration with Unity Health, Signal 1 will build on leading-edge AI systems already in use by clinicians at St. Michael’s Hospital, part of Unity Health. Signal 1’s agreement with TD will provide $4 million (USD) in seed funding from TD and will enable the venture to leverage the award-winning AI technology platform that has been developed by TD’s Layer 6 team.
Signal 1 launches its clinical AI solution at a moment when the healthcare system faces unprecedented challenges. Emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals face a multi-year backlog of deferred procedures combined with a burnt-out workforce. Healthcare decisions are highly data and information-driven.
AI has the potential to dramatically improve the way hospital data is used to guide providers and institutions in delivering the best care and outcomes for their patients.
“While the potential for AI to transform healthcare is enormous, progress to date has been limited to a few select places, like St. Michael’s Hospital. By combining St. Michael’s clinically validated and deployed AI applications with the power of Layer 6’s enterprise-grade AI platform, Signal 1 is positioned to be the company that responsibly deploys clinical AI, at scale,” said Poutanen.
“Inovia’s mission is to actively support founders to build global sustainable companies – and we could not be happier than to partner with Tomi, Mara Lederman, co-founder and COO, and their amazing team to seize the opportunity to leverage AI in healthcare and improve patient experience and alleviate labor shortages,” says Steven Woods, Inovia Capital Partner. “We are looking forward to accompanying them on their journey.”
Signal 1’s first application will be a real-time patient risk predictor called CHARTWatch. Using commonly collected data and a machine-learning algorithm, CHARTWatch accurately predicts which hospital patients are likely to deteriorate and which are clinically stable. CHARTWatch’s predictions can be integrated into a variety of clinical workflows enabling earlier interventions, reducing excess length-of-stay and improving the allocation of patients to front-line staff.
“At Unity Health, we have seen the power of AI to improve patient outcomes,” said Dr. Tim Rutledge, president and CEO, Unity Health Toronto. “Now, through our strategic collaboration with Signal 1, we will be able to strengthen and scale the solutions developed by our in-house AI team to benefit patients across Canada and around the world.”
Poutanen will continue to advise TD’s AI strategy and talent recruitment efforts as the Bank further develops its market-leading AI capabilities.
“TD is proud to extend its leadership in AI. Our investment in Signal 1, along with our long-standing support of the Vector Institute and other leading organizations, reinforce our commitment to help support and develop Canada’s innovation ecosystem,” said Christine Morris, senior executive vice president, transformation, enablement and customer experience, TD Bank Group. “Signal 1’s focus on better health outcomes will contribute directly to world-leading AI innovation that will benefit all. TD is excited to participate in this groundbreaking work.”
About Signal 1
Launched in April 2022, Signal 1 is a health AI start-up with the mission to transform patient care through responsibly deployed AI. Signal 1 provides hospitals with an end-to-end solution for integrating AI-driven insights into existing hospital workflows. Its first application is a clinically validated real-time automated patient risk predictor that helps hospitals improve quality and flow while reducing stress on front-line care providers.
About Unity Health Toronto
Unity Health Toronto, comprised of St. Joseph’s Health Centre, St. Michael’s Hospital and Providence Healthcare, works to advance the health of everyone in our urban communities and beyond. Our health network serves patients, residents and clients across the full spectrum of care, spanning primary care, secondary community care, tertiary and quaternary care services to post-acute through rehabilitation, palliative care and long-term care, while investing in world-class research and education. For more information, visit www.unityhealth.to.