Healthcare in Canada is rapidly changing and technology is playing a pivotal part in this transition. The days of recognizing symptoms, going to the doctor, hoping for an accurate diagnosis and then accessing the right treatment is giving way to self-diagnosis, wearable devices, in-home sensors and expert point of care systems driven by artificial intelligence (AI) with a global reach into medical data repositories.
The healthcare system of tomorrow will require a robust supply of highly skilled professionals, armed with a hybrid skill set of expertise in medical technology, life sciences and business practices, who also understand eHealth and the role AI will play in keeping Canadians healthy.
Which is where Durham College (DC) comes in, as healthcare and AI converge in its labs and classrooms. With the launch of its first degree program in September 2018, an Honours Bachelor of Health Care Technology Management (BHCTM), DC has developed a curriculum that will address the current skills gap that exists between technology and the patient side of the industry.
“We know that medical technology and AI are key to optimizing delivery of healthcare in Ontario and around the world, but as that technology advances so does the need for professionals who speak the language of both the innovators and the practitioners,” said Dr. Elaine Popp, vice-president, Academic, DC. “Graduates of the BHCTM program will be the implementers who can bridge the two sides, providing strategic leadership that encompasses the assessment of current and innovative technologies and matching them to clinical objectives.”
As students study in the BHCTM program, the college is also leading the way in supporting small and medium-sized businesses in the health care field to adopt AI solutions. Home to the Hub for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence for Business Solutions (the AI Hub), DC can not only apply AI concepts and best practices within its programs, it can also engage with existing businesses and start-up ventures utilizing advanced AI techniques and solutions to address their practical problems. With funding from Ontario Centres of Excellence and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the AI Hub offers industry partners access to technical expertise, state-of-the-art facilities and platforms and student talent through applied research, consultation, advisory and support services, workshops and seminars.
By creating a repository of publicly accessible business solution implementations, hosting a lecture series and symposia for the business community, and developing specialized student training sessions, the AI Hub is helping organizations who wish to develop and adopt artificial intelligence to innovate and grow.
Given its AI expertise and new degree option, Durham College Health Care ‘s program is perfectly positioned to usher in this new era of healthcare.