Webinar Summary
Stakeholders’ Perspectives: How Artificial Intelligence (AI) Can and Should Be Used in Healthcare

November 30, 2020


  • Dr. Alexandra T. Greenhill, Founder, CEO, Chief Medical Officer, Careteam Technologies


  • Annette McKinnon - Patient Advisor, Patient Advisors Network
  • Dr. Reza Forghani - Director and Lead Investigator, Augmented Intelligence & Precision Health Laboratory, McGill University Health Centre
  • Mary Ackenhusen - Senior Executive in Residence, and Lead, Partnerships and Innovation Division, British Columbia Ministry of Health
  • Dr. Tracie Risling - Interim Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies in the College of Nursing, University of Saskatchewan
  • Dr. Brendan Carr - President and CEO, Nova Scotia Health Authority
  • Dr. Richard Reznick - Professor of Surgery and Dean Emeritus, Faculty of Health Sciences, Queen's University, and Chair, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada’s Task Force on AI and Emerging Digital Technologies


  • Introduce the role of artificial intelligence (AI) as a diagnostic, treatment and preventative tool in the future of Canada’s health system
  • Hear diverse perspectives on how AI can be leveraged in healthcare and discuss the key considerations for its adoption
  • Consider the impact COVID-19 has had on innovation in healthcare and how it supports moving towards a more data-driven healthcare system


Hopes and fears for the future of AI in healthcare

Panelists shared what they are most excited and worried about when it comes to AI in Canada’s health sector:



AI could:

  • Enable quick progress
    (i.e. the rapid development of the COVID-19 vaccine)
  • Improve patient safety
  • Inform a robust patient health record
  • Provide efficient and precise patient care that is personalized
  • Perform human tasks faster and more effectively, as well as fill the current gaps in human resources
  • Help us look at our healthcare data and be able to see the “forest and the trees”
  • Equip all actors in the healthcare system with data
  • Improve health and healthcare for people in Canada no matter where they live
  • Give the gift of time to clinicians to focus on relationships and compassionate care
  • Create meaning and understanding from data


  • Canada won’t see the value of AI quickly enough
  • Rushing to use AI could result in minor improvements and ignore the foundational rebuild that is required to use AI effectively
  • Focusing too much on how AI will fit into the current state instead of reimagining healthcare entirely
  • The division of digital access could affect marginalized populations, leading to a quality and safety risk to patients
  • Being so worried about the draw backs that we are distracted from testing and implementing AI

Possible enablers for implementing AI in the health sector:

  • Incorporating AI and digital literacy into education curriculums and professional development.
  • Partnering with industry or engaging the private sector in policy and implementation discussions to ensure decision-making moves at a similar pace to innovation.
  • Preparing and supporting healthcare workers to implement AI and concentrate on building trust with patients and health teams.
  • Standardizing data and determine how this data is shared for the benefit of the system as a whole.

Ways AI could be used to increase opportunities to partner in care:

  • Sparking new conversations across the spectrum of healthcare; not just during co-design, but also about the information revealed by AI.
  • Empowering patients to be a part of their healthcare team and to self-manage their care.
  • Alleviating time-consuming data entry and allow clinicians to focus on building meaningful relationships with their patients.

Healthcare leadership’s imperative in AI implementation – leaders should:

  • Educate themselves about AI to better understand the problems related to implementation and advocate for resourcing.
  • Identify the areas where AI would have the greatest impact in healthcare.
  • Have the courage to create a learning environment with AI. This includes providing psychological safety for teams.

Suggestions for ensuring equitable access to emerging AI technologies:

  • Recognize that the data we currently have is a product of our current system, which is heavily focused on acute care. These blind spots can misrepresent marginalized populations or broader system needs in other sectors such as primary care and community care.
  • Involve patients in the policy setting and implementation of AI.
  • Invest in health IT infrastructure.

Reflections on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the use of AI in the health sector – the pandemic:

  • Forced the creative use of technology to provide face-to-face care.
  • Highlighted the need to adopt more technology and invest in health IT infrastructure.
  • Enabled the system to focus and act on one goal – to flatten the curve. This created a nimble and adaptable culture that could be sustained beyond the pandemic and used to tackle other emerging priorities such as AI.
  • Pushed the sector to develop the ability to overcome long-term barriers for virtual care when the need became urgent. Continuing to remove barriers with other implementations is essential.
  • Identified that we missed the opportunity to use AI to understand the dynamics of transmission, contact tracing and transmission management.


Listed below are the resources mentioned during the webinar: 


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The newly amalgamated organization that brings together the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement and the Canadian Patient Safety Institute works with partners to share proven healthcare innovations and best practices in patient safety and healthcare quality. Working together with patients and other partners, we can deliver lasting improvement in patient experience, work life of healthcare providers, value for money and the health of everyone in Canada. The organization is a
not-for-profit charity funded by Health Canada. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of Health Canada. Visit cfhi-fcass.ca and patientsafetyinstitute.ca for more information.