Alberta Innovates: Advancing Health Care with AI Tools

Alberta Innovates grants $9.5M to advance AI in health care, supporting projects that enhance patient care and reduce clinician workloads

$9.5 Million Invested in Projects to Enhance Health Care through AI

Calgary – Technology – Alberta is making significant strides in health care innovation with the help of artificial intelligence (AI). Through funding from Alberta Innovates, the province aims to enhance patient care, support medical professionals, and improve diagnoses and treatments.

A total of $9.5 million has been granted to ten university research teams and two private companies as part of the Enabling Better Health Through Artificial Intelligence program. Launched in the Fall of 2023 with an $8 million budget, the program received so many high-quality proposals that an additional $1.5 million was allocated to ensure these promising projects could proceed.

One notable recipient is Calgary-based Mikata Health Inc., awarded $800,000 to develop its Mika AI Scribe technology. This tool aims to automate manual paperwork and data entry, reducing workloads and burnout for clinicians while enhancing patient care. Mikata Health will focus on privacy, safety, and ethical AI implementation, working closely with clinics to test and deploy the technology.

“Alberta is a globally respected leader in AI, and we aim to become the most innovative jurisdiction in Canada,” said Minister Nate Glubish, Technology and Innovation. “Our investments in AI research, including the AI Better Health Program, will strengthen our healthcare system and support doctors. By reducing manual paperwork and administrative burdens on physicians, we can help them focus on what they do best: serving their patients.”

Supporting digital health solutions is a core priority for Alberta Innovates. “Our program provides the necessary research funding to help companies and innovators identify and overcome roadblocks to the broader use of artificial intelligence,” explained Laura Kilcrease, CEO of Alberta Innovates. “The goal is faster and better health care for Albertans and the development of new technologies right here in Alberta that can be exported around the world.”

Kyle Nishiyama, CEO & Co-Founder of Mikata Health Inc., expressed his gratitude for the program’s support. “Mikata Health is pleased to be a recipient of the AI Better Health program. This support allows us to accelerate the development of our AI Scribe technology. The technology addresses critical problems of workloads and burnout for healthcare providers and will also help improve care for Albertans.”

Other funded projects include initiatives at the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary. At the University of Alberta, projects focus on using AI to improve Alberta 811 Health Link, better predict opioid overdoses, and streamline diagnostic imaging. Meanwhile, the University of Calgary is working on AI applications to identify and treat stroke patients, prevent hospital-transmitted infection outbreaks, and understand the social determinants of health.

Additionally, one private company, Symbiotic AI, is developing an AI-based decision support tool for patients with coronary artery disease.

As these projects progress, Alberta Innovates will coordinate a committee from the healthcare sector to provide ethical and technical advice. This committee will support the transition of research into practical applications within Alberta’s health care system, ensuring the adoption of these technologies by doctors, clinics, and the broader health care community.

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