Innovation and artificial intelligence in healthcare: two musts for most Quebecers
January 24th, 2022
For the launch of the second edition of Phase B, a competition aimed at encouraging healthcare innovators in predictive and preventive medicine, Biron Health Group has conducted a survey  to understand Quebecers’ views on innovation and artificial intelligence. The results of it show that, within the current pandemic context, innovation and access to healthcare data have become a priority.
“Quebecers are very open-minded when it comes to using healthcare technologies, and the results of this survey are very encouraging. They confirm that we have the pulse of the population when it comes to promoting innovation in healthcare, especially with initiatives like Phase B, which are more relevant than ever. Our goal is to find new solutions for patients,” said Dr. Nicolas Tétreault, Clinical Biochemist, Scientific and Innovation Director, Biron Health Group.
A survey that focusses on artificial intelligence and preventive medicine
Given the current pandemic context and an overburdened healthcare system, most Quebecers feel that healthcare innovation could provide solutions and allow people to take full advantage of the resources available, thus relieving some of the pressure on an overtaxed system. Of the innovations mentioned, Quebecers are in favour of using artificial intelligence in healthcare and developing preventive medicine. For example, if a blood test could predict diseases or developing health conditions, a solid majority of respondents (88%) said they would take it. As to data management and protection, most Quebecers have confidence in the current legislation, though a quarter of the respondents feel that stronger restrictions should be placed on companies with regard to accessing to health data. Three quarters of respondents, however, said that they would be willing to share their medical information anonymously.
Close to nine out of 10 respondents (86%) concur that healthcare innovations could ease the burden on the healthcare network and make better use of its resources. Chief advantages cited by respondents include:
Faster diagnosis (66%)
Faster access to treatment (60%)
Improved access to healthcare services in general (51%)
Nearly two-thirds of respondents (63%) said they believe artificial intelligence could help predict or prevent health problems. Forty percent (40%) said they trust artificial intelligence, believing it can significantly improve human capabilities and contributions.
One quarter of respondents (25%) felt that companies should face greater restrictions regarding access to anonymized patient health data. Conversely, one in five respondents (20%) thought that less restrictions should be imposed. Moreover, one third (34%) of the people surveyed thought current restrictions were sufficient.
Phase B: supporting innovative healthcare solutions with a major partner
In light of this particularly positive context for innovation, Phase B acts as a springboard for tomorrow’s innovators so that they can have a tangible and lasting impact on the health of our communities. For this edition, Biron Health Group has decided to join forces with Montréal InVivo, which represents the Life Sciences and Health Technologies (LSHT) cluster of Greater Montréal. The organization has launched numerous initiatives to promote innovation in the industry and encourage stakeholders to adopt technologies made in Québec.
“This competition will give people access to medical breakthroughs and allow them to take a proactive approach to their healthcare,” said Patrick Lauzon, Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer at Biron Health Group. “I think that major companies and organizations such as ours need to back these initiatives, ensure that the necessary resources are available and provide the support needed. First and foremost, though, they must take on a leadership role so that projects like this can get off the ground and help patients. We are very proud to launch the second edition of Phase B and to team up with a strategic partner like Montréal InVivo. The organization has an excellent reputation, and we are at a point where we can build a more unifying ecosystem with Montréal InVivo’s participation.”
“The survey conducted by Biron Health Group is timely, given the upcoming legislative changes on access to public health data in Québec. It proves that, as a society, we are ready to lend greater importance to anonymized health data to stimulate innovation, ensure the sustainability of our healthcare system and provide improved patient care. It sends a clear message and creates many opportunities for local entrepreneurs if we can help them navigate this environment. We are excited to support the second edition of Phase B because we truly believe that these entrepreneurs will have greater success if they benefit from the guidance of experts and get connected to the right business partners. This is exactly what Phase B intends to do,” said Frank Béraud, Chief Executive Officer, Montréal InVivo.
A major prize to help revolutionize medicine
The Phase B social impact initiative by Biron Health Group is designed for innovative entrepreneurs in healthcare who are developing projects in predictive and preventive medicine. Biron Health Group is at the leading edge of new projects that improve people’s health, and invites students, experts and start-ups to apply.
First prize: a $35,000 contribution, a year of personalized guidance with a mentor, experts and specialists, and the support of a business accelerator to ensure the project is successfully launched.
To be eligible, participants must be at the development phase of an innovative project, submitted on behalf of a start-up company or an individual. Projects submitted must concern predictive or preventive medicine, two top priority fields for Biron Health Group. Preventive medicine seeks to identify markers of disease while preventive medicine empowers individuals to take a proactive approach to their healthcare.
A diversified panel of experts to evaluate applications, open until March 4, 2022
In choosing the winner, Phase B will be able to count on a seasoned jury of experts from diverse backgrounds, including the fields of entrepreneurship, medicine, digital technologies and life sciences. Jury members are Claude Arsenault, Director, Strategy and Operations, Mouvement des accélérateurs d'innovation du Québec; Anne-Marie Bourgeois, Partner, Intellectual Property-Backed Financing, Business Development Bank of Canada; Josée Dubuc, Consultant for companies in the medical and pharmaceutical field, Propulsio 360; Patrick Sauvageau, CEO and Co-founder, Zilia, the winning company of Phase B 2021; and Dr. Nicolas Tétreault, Clinical Biochemist, Scientific and Innovation Director, Biron Health Group.