Event summary produced by The Globe and Mail Events team. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.
Discovering a better medication to treat an illness in record time; a near-instant diagnosis of a rare disorder that may have taken years to identify in the past; a complete picture of your biochemistry to determine the best treatment for you as an individual. These may sound like the medical miracles of a distant future, but with artificial intelligence transforming the health care sector, these scenarios might become our present reality sooner than we think.
On May 12, The Globe and Mail’s Science Reporter Ivan Semeniuk hosted the A.I. and Medicine: New frontiers in health care webcast, which explored the potential role of artificial intelligence in improving Canadian patient outcomes in the not-so-distant future. The event began with a fireside chat about the current state of diagnosing illnesses in Canada, and the often frustrating process of trying to find answers as an individual with a rare disease or disorder. Joining The Globe to provide their insights were Dr. Durhane Wong-Rieger, President and CEO of the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders (CORD), and Lori Culum, a patient advocate for the Canadian Fabry Association, who generously shared her lived experience of searching for a diagnosis.
The fireside chat was followed by a panel discussion on the current, real-world applications already emerging for A.I. in Canada’s health care system, but also the risks and responsibilities of Canada’s health care providers in ensuring patient privacy, equity and quality of care regardless of individual circumstances. Featured on the panel were four experts with unique perspectives on the subject: Dr. Alexander Dobranowski, CEO and Co-Founder of MCI Onehealth Technologies, which is working to implement A.I. into the diagnosis process used by its network of clinics (serving 850,000 patients each year); Naheed Kurji, Co-Founder and CEO of Cyclica, a biomedical company using A.I. to speed up drug discovery; the Director of the University of Toronto’s Joint Centre for Bioethics, Jennifer Gibson, who is an expert in health systems, policy ethics and values-based decision making; and Indu Navar, Founder and CEO of EverythingALS, a Silicon Valley-based organization that advocates for the use of data, A.I. and other technology to assist in the diagnosis of rare diseases.
For the full playback of both sessions, see the video link below, and stay tuned to theglobeandmail.com/events to register for upcoming webcasts hosted by members of The Globe and Mail newsroom.