AI-driven screener identifies risk of osteoporosis
March 22, 2023
TORONTO – Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (Sunnybrook) is seeing early success with Rho, an AI-driven screening tool developed by Toronto-based company 16 Bit, that works to detect early risk of osteoporosis in patients. Sunnybrook is exploring this technology through a six-month commercialization project funded by the Coordinated Accessible National (CAN) Health Network.
Osteoporotic fractures, such as spinal and hip fractures, are one of the most common causes of hospitalizations in Canada. Because bone loss can occur over a long period of time without any visible symptoms, when these fractures do occur, bone loss is already quite advanced and difficult to treat. And, although there are best practice guidelines in place for care providers to initiate a clinical risk assessment for osteoporosis at the age of 50, the lack of a clear trigger point makes this difficult.
To help address this care gap, 16 Bit developed Rho, an AI-driven opportunistic screening tool that works by utilizing routinely, already captured x-rays to identify patients at high risk of osteopenia/osteoporosis. Using this data, radiologists can then inform care providers on which patients are high risk, and would benefit the most from initiating a clinical risk assessment and DXA scan, or bone density test.
“We see Rho as a new category of software that leverages AI to deliver clinically meaningful insights from existing patient data to help address a significant care gap that Canadians are facing,” says Alexander Bilbily (pictured), co-CEO and co-founder, 16 Bit. “Ultimately, such a system is poised to provide improved healthcare with decreased long-term costs.”
In just one month collaborating with 16 Bit and using Rho, Sunnybrook has screened a total of 567 patients, and has identified 370 of those patients as high risk.
“We are excited to explore the use of this innovative screening tool as a way to potentially lessen the large impact osteoporosis has on the healthcare system and patient wellbeing,” says Henry Sinn, director, Precision Diagnostics and Therapeutics Program, Sunnybrook. “The partnership with 16 Bit and CAN Health will provide Sunnybrook with support and expertise as we pilot the technology.”
“It’s fantastic to see the work between Sunnybrook and 16 Bit is already making a huge impact on hundreds of patients,” says Dr. Dante Morra, chair, CAN Health Network. “16 Bit is an innovative Canadian company whose technology has the potential to tackle one of the leading causes of hospitalizations in Canada, and improve the lives of patients across the country.”
Over the next few months, Sunnybrook will continue to work with 16 Bit on their commercialization project, and will aim to screen over 1000 patients in the process.
“The CAN Health Network is making it possible for entrepreneurs across Canada to match up with healthcare providers, test their innovations, and grow their companies, all while strengthening our universal healthcare system by encouraging homegrown innovation. As an integrated marketplace, the network will give innovators access to healthcare providers so they can grow their businesses and create jobs. The work that Sunnybrook and 16 Bit are doing shows the effectiveness of this network and its potential for future successes,” says The Honourable Mary Ng, minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development.