AI4Health Task Force
Building a learning health system for Canadians.
In the spring of 2019, CIFAR drew together AI and health innovation leaders from across Canada in a roundtable discussion on Canada’s opportunities to advance AI for health. A strong consensus emerged: Canada could become a world leader in the development and adoption of AI-based approaches to health and healthcare. Canada’s world-leading AI research ecosystem, together with its extensive population-wide data holdings within the publicly funded health system, make this possible. However, we need to act quickly. A Task Force was formed to develop recommendations for a national strategy on AI for health.
AI can deliver benefits to the health of Canadians in three primary ways:
- Improving the effectiveness, efficiency and safety of health service delivery;
- Providing insights to inform both disease prevention and policies addressing broader population health determinants; and
- Underpinning the discovery and development of new diagnostic tools and treatments.
In order to realize those benefits, governments need to act urgently on three broad fronts.
Establishing AI4H info-structure that enables responsible access to health data while ensuring data are secure and privacy is protected
The types of comprehensive datasets that will optimize the impact of AI in the health sphere cannot be created without strong public engagement to help guide terms and conditions for their use. More generally, members of the public and patients should be included as active partners in the development, governance and evaluation of AI4H policies and strategies.
Accelerating the development of safe, high-performance AI4H applications by both public institutions and private enterprises, alongside deployment of incentives that promote strategic procurement and responsible scaling of these applications within Canada’s healthcare systems
This involves two mutually reinforcing elements. One is smart development and procurement of AI within Canada’s publicly funded healthcare systems. The other is an effective commercialization plan, supporting the growth of Canadian-led AI4H enterprises through both direct and indirect funding, targeted procurement, and facilitating access to international markets. Success in both domains depends critically on the implementation of the right set of incentives.
Ensuring that federal and provincial/territorial plans to advance digital health are coupled to an explicit AI4H strategy with the relevant policies, investments, partnerships, and regulatory frameworks
Such a plan should aim to ramp up research, enable improvements in healthcare delivery and population health policymaking, and facilitate the development of scalable AI4H innovations under the aegis of both private enterprises and public institutions. Without this alignment, Canadians will not reap the full health benefits of the opportunities available from responsible use of AI and machine learning more generally.
TaSK FORCE MEMBERS
Tim Evans (Co-Chair), Director and Associate Dean, School of Population and Global Health and Associate Vice-Principal (Global Policy and Innovation), McGill University
David Naylor (Co-Chair), Professor of Medicine and President Emeritus, University of Toronto
Elissa Strome (CIFAR Lead), interim AVP Research and Executive Director, Pan-Canadian AI Strategy, CIFAR
Alan Bernstein (Ex Officio), President and CEO, CIFAR; inaugural president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
David Dodge, Senior Advisor, Bennet Jones LLP; former Governor, Bank of Canada; CIFAR Board member
Audrey Durand, Canada CIFAR AI Chair, Mila; Assistant Professor, Université Laval
Anna Goldenberg, Canada CIFAR AI Chair, CIFAR Fellow (Learning in Machines & Brains program), Vector Institute; Associate Research Director Health, Vector Institute; Senior Scientist, SickKids
Randy Goebel, Professor, AVP Research and AVP Academic, University of Alberta
Jordan Jacobs, Co-founder and Managing Partner, Radical Ventures; Co-Founder Vector Institute; CIFAR Board Member
Alexandre Le Bouthillier, Co-founder, Imagia; Mila Board Member
Ted McDonald, Professor of Economics and Director, NB Institute for Research, Data and Training, University of New Brunswick
Kim McGrail, Professor, University of British Columbia; Scientific Director, Population Data BC; Scientific Director, Health Data Research Network Canada
Gail Murphy, Vice-President, Research and Innovation, University of British Columbia
Alison Paprica, Health Data Research Network Canada; University of Toronto
Carole Piovesan, Partner and co-Founder of INQ Data Law
Michael Strong, President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Robyn Tamblyn, Scientific Director, McGill Clinical and Health Informatics Group
CIFAR is a registered charitable organization supported by the governments of Canada, Alberta and Quebec, as well as foundations, individuals, corporations and Canadian and international partner organizations.