PHC is a founding member of Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster. Numerous projects were initiated and achieved key milestones last year.

One in six Canadians will develop some form of skin cancer during their lifetime – and Canada has a shortage of dermatologists. The Dermatology Point-of-Care Intelligent Network project will help improve diagnosis of skin cancer, particularly malignant melanoma, by family physicians. Using an app, doctors can take photos of moles and upload to a virtual databank, where Artificial Intelligence compares them to thousands of others to detect malignancies.

Supercluster projects

The Intelligent Network for Point-of-Care Ultrasound project is developing a way of using technology to deliver equal access to life-saving ultrasound imaging. Good initial progress has been made, including project plan development, technical requirement identi cation and obstetrics retrospective data ethics application approval. This project subsequently received approval for up to $500,000 additional investment from the Supercluster, to enable expansion of the work to include lung imaging for potential COVID-19 patients.

The Hypertalent project focuses on educators and connecting with Indigenous youth to tackle the tech talent shortage; 14 Indigenous post-secondary students have signed up for the interns programs; PHC participation in the Indigenous programs has been paused due to COVID-19 response.

Although opioids are effective in managing pain after major surgery, they can lead to dependency and abuse: at least 6 per cent of surgery patients who are prescribed opioids become chronic opioid users. The Reducing Opioid Use for Pain Management project will build a post-surgery monitoring system to better manage the prescription and use of opioids. PHC, as part of this research consortium, will collect patient data, such as prescription information and patient surveys, to create a fulsome snapshot of a patient’s treatment before and after surgery. Taken together, this can be used by the patient and doctor together to manage pain and reduce opioid use.