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Durham College and iCare Home Health Announce AI System for Home Care

Innovative Artificial Intelligence based smartphone application delivers new patient care options

The Durham College Hub for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence for Business Systems and iCare Home Health have initiated a development project to bring advanced AI features to their mobile application for distant healthcare delivery.

Serving patients in the Greater Toronto Area, iCare Home Health differentiates itself as a visionary, innovative, and creative organization that strives to develop cutting-edge solutions for Canadians that need home-based care due to age, illness, or special needs. The current AI initiative brings together Durham College and iCare as they work to augment their existing Health Espresso app to further set it apart from other digital health solutions. The new features under development add AI functionality that brings voice control through natural language detection and processing, and a prescriptive action framework that provides smart suggestions for enhanced care and compliance with the recovery schedule.

“The potential of data, smartphone apps, sensors, and artificial intelligence to improve healthcare for all is nearly limitless. Partnering with and leveraging Durham College’s pool of exceptional talent and skills has been a positive experience and a natural fit from the onset,” said Rick Menassa, President and CEO of iCare Home Health.

According to Menassa, speech recognition, recommendation generation, and the implementation of a flexible machine learning framework will enhance the user-friendliness of Health Espresso for the intended target market.

“Possibly a Canadian first of its type, it solidifies Canada’s leadership in Artificial Intelligence internationally, showcases the AI Hub at Durham College and its position at the forefront of implementing AI technology in healthcare solutions. We are looking forward to continue our collaboration with Durham College for years to come,” said Menassa.

The AI project has already spawned two additional projects between the two organizations.

The project team is led by Durham College professor Amit Maraj with Durham College students working as Researcher Assistants (RAs), gaining valuable AI and project development skills that will differentiate them when they graduate and enter the workforce. AI and the multi-disciplinary skills required to implement AI techniques within a business are some of the most coveted and sought skills globally by firms, ranging from small start-ups to giant multinationals. The RAs working under professor Maraj’s supervision are currently implementing in-app speech recognition and will begin building the intent-based model for application-control shortly after. By the end of the 33-week project, the RAs will have gained a solid theoretical understanding of AI techniques, including Deep Neural Networks and Recurrent Neural Networks with practical expertise implementing them in commercial business solutions as well.

“This project is providing me with many opportunities to further my knowledge, not only from a technical standpoint but also from a team building standpoint. By building something from the ground up, this is helping me see the entire process of starting a new project. Being on the cutting-edge of technology and designing AI to help people in need has been a great experience.” Nicholas Carpenter, Health Espresso Research Assistant and third-year Computer Programmer Analyst student.

Housed within the college’s Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE), the AI Hub offers small and medium enterprises (SMEs) a much-needed access point to the rapidly growing field of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Companies interested in how AI and digital transformation can enhance their businesses are encouraged to visit www.durhamcollege.ca/theAIHub.

About iCare Home Health

iCare Home health is a boutique, visionary home healthcare agency that leverages creative and innovative patient-centred solutions to empower Canadians, young or old, to receive caregiving services from the comfort of their homes.

The company boasts several homecare industry firsts, including the first patient advocacy service (Navigator), Expressive Art Program (iCEAP), first audible website for the visually impaired, and the first health application to empower families to remotely monitor a loved one’s body vitals and mediation adherence (Health Espresso).

iCare Home Health is an Award for Business Excellence Nominee at the Oakville Chamber of Commerce (2015), an Award for Business Excellence winner at the Mississauga Board of Trade (2016), a finalist at the 1Awards by First Ontario Credit Union (2017), and a current Nominee at the Awards for Business Excellence at the Oakville Chamber of Commerce (2018).

Making a positive difference is an integral part of iCare’s DNA. The company donates, sponsors events, and fundraises for several hospitals and the Alzheimer’s Society in its service region.

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