Using AI to identify and reduce health inequities

July 21, 2023

A team of interdisciplinary experts, led by Dr. Andrew Pinto, has received an award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to explore how AI can help identify and reduce health inequities.

By using AI to derive data from patients’ electronic medical records (EMR), they aim to gather valuable information on social determinants of health (SDoH) – the conditions in which we live, grow, work, and play that impact our access to essential resources, including healthcare. While care providers and policymakers are familiar with SDoH, many health organizations in Canada and other countries lack a consistent method of collecting this information.

The project consists of two parts, building on previous work that analyzed data from 17,139 patients linked to their EMRs. First, the researchers will assess AI approaches to derive SDoH data and determine if they outperform simple searches. Second, they will evaluate whether routine data collection in clinics across six provinces in Canada can be used to train and enhance algorithms over time. Additionally, they will observe if the algorithms’ performance varies based on different contexts and whether they show any bias.

The study team includes experts in primary care, EMR data, SDoH, computer science, statistics and ethics, local, provincial and national knowledge users, and patient partners.


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