Harnessing the power of machine learning for brain health
As Canada marks Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, a health innovation team has been awarded funding from the Government of Ontario to pilot a groundbreaking brain health assessment and risk management program powered by predictive analytics and artificial intelligence. Offered in multiple healthcare settings across the province, the program will improve access to services, independence to age in place, and quality of life for patients and caregivers.
The technology platform, BrainFX, combines leading neuroscience data with cutting edge software to enable early detection of subtle or mild-to-moderate changes in brain function as well as strategies to slow or reverse cognitive decline. Using the data collected through BrainFX assessments and artificial intelligence, Thoughtwire will develop an Early Identification Application that can identify individuals at-risk by scanning electronic medical records.
Research shows that early detection and intervention is essential to enabling seniors to remain at home for as long as possible, alleviating burden on individuals and family caregivers, and slowing the progression of brain-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
The health innovation team is being led by Saint Elizabeth Health Care and includes partner organizations BrainFX, ThoughtWire Corp., Wilfrid Laurier University, Southlake Regional Health Centre, and four Family Health Teams in the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network (Upper Grand FHT, Two Rivers FHT, Mount Forest FHT, and the Centre for Family Medicine).
The Government of Ontario recently announced grants for 12 new projects through its Health Technologies Fund. The grant for this project totals $493,000, with matching in-kind contributions from the partner organizations.
“BrainFx's tablet-based assessments will provide patients and health care providers with a simple and powerful tool for identifying early warning signs and taking a targeted and personalized approach to treatment planning. Longer term, the data collected from patients will provide key insights to keep our seniors’ brains healthier – and allow them to live well at home longer.”
Tracy Milner, CEO, BrainFX
“A growing number of Canadians are living with dementia, and we need to find new ways to support them to age in place. By bringing together care providers, researchers and health tech entrepreneurs, we can use innovation to tackle tough problems and make a real difference in the lives of people.”
Shirlee Sharkey, CEO, Saint Elizabeth
- Currently, there are 564,000 Canadians living with dementia, with 25,000 new cases diagnosed every year
- The annual cost to Canadians to care for those living with dementia is $10.4 billion (Alzheimer Society of Canada).
About Saint Elizabeth
Saint Elizabeth is a national social enterprise providing home care, health solutions and education to people where they are and when they need it. With Canadian roots and more than 100 years of expertise, the not-for-profit charitable organization is accelerating health care innovation to support healthy lives globally. Through its team of 9,000 health leaders, Saint Elizabeth delivers 20,000 care exchanges daily, totalling 50 million in the last decade alone. Learn more at saintelizabeth.com or find us on social media.