Reshaping Health Care With AI Innovations

On June 12, WatSPEED convened senior health care leaders and executives to explore the transformational potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in enhancing Canadian health care services.

Offered as part of WatSPEED's executive program, , the full-day event, which was hosted in collaboration with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), focused on the critical implications of AI innovation in health care and AI's potential applications now and in the future.

WatSPEED partnered with University of Waterloo subject matter experts to discuss the most pressing issues facing Canadian health leaders. John Hirdes, professor of Public Health Sciences, Joël Blit, chair of the Council of Innovation Policy, Catherine Burns, associate vice president, Health Initiatives, and Jimmy Lin, co-director of Waterloo.AI were joined by guest speakers from industry - including The Canadian Institute for Health Information, TCS, Cobionix, and BlueDot.

Teachers standing in class room

Academic and industry experts led the discussions at the WatSPEED event

"The introduction of AI-based technologies in health care is not like going from typewriters to personal computers. It's much more dramatic and will permeate everything in our health care system," said Hirdes, who is also a member of the Order of Canada and program lead for Leveraging AI to Improve Health Care in Canada. "AI is transformative and senior health leaders and executives need to think about how to leverage AI to lead change in Canada's health care system."

Throughout the day, participants heard how AI could address system pressures, cost escalations, professional shortages and the challenges of an aging population. Insights highlighted the opportunities AI presents for improving patient outcomes, enhancing efficiency for providers and ensuring equitable access to health care services. Discussions also covered a broad range of topics from the ethical implications to the human-centric impacts of AI adoption.

A panel discussion in front of listeners

The day featured panel discussions by leading experts aimed at helping health care executives use AI to solve problems

"At the end of the day, the success of AI adoption will be about the interface between what the technology can enable and the actual human beings who will do something with the technology," said Mark Weber, special advisor to the provost on leadership strategy and development. "Success will hinge on effective leadership in the face of the unavoidable challenges."

The event was a catalyst for action among Canada's health care leadership, equipping them with strategies and insights to effectively harness AI for the betterment of health care services nationwide. Waterloo researchers and entrepreneurs are driving health innovation in Canada, committed to leading discussions on the intersection of technology and health care.

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