When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, it was a trial by fire for the digital initiatives of one of Montreal’s leaders in the use of AI in health care. The verdict: success.

Several years earlier, the Integrated Health and Social Services University Network for West Central Montreal and its hub the Jewish General Hospital had wholeheartedly embraced digital health and AI. The goal was to improve the quality of care, boost efficiency, reduce errors and enhance the patient experience.

Dr Lawrence Rosenberg, President and Chief Executive Officer

This transition was considered essential for the local healthcare network (known in French as a “CIUSSS”) to continue providing exemplary care and services in its 34 member facilities. Affected by the change were more than 12,000 employees, including 700 physicians who serve the area’s 345,000 residents, particularly at the Jewish General Hospital, recognized as one of Canada’s and the world’s top hospitals.

To manage this evolution, the Jewish General Hospital, under the aegis of the CIUSSS, established OROT, a connected health innovation hub, to guide our way into the new era of care – a future in which health will be maintained, managed, and restored wherever the patient is – a concept we call: “CARE EVERYWHERE”.

Danina Kapetanovic, Strategic Adviser and Head of OROT

Amid the tragedy of the COVID pandemic, there was a silver lining. The crisis accelerated the widespread adoption of new digital tools. Notably, the CIUSSS worked with industry partners to develop a decision support system to augment its AI tools.

This collaboration made it possible to anticipate by one week the daily influx of patients to the Jewish General Hospital. This information, along with AI-powered prediction of emergency department volume, permitted us to better manage bed capacity, staffing and availability of personal protective equipment (PPE). We also designed and launched a dashboard to assist clinicians to monitor our COVID wards and individual patients; and
track the spread of the infection in the community using geolocation thermal maps.

Dr Justin Cross, Chief Digital Health Officer

More is on the way. Our goal to address unmet medical need remains unchanged and will guide the way AI contributes to patient-centered care in CIUSSS West-Central Montreal.


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