Using artificial intelligence to benefit patients

Bonjour-santé® aiming for an average clinic wait time of 20 minutes

Boucherville, November 13, 2017 – By using artificial intelligence for the benefit of patients, Bonjour-santé plans on reducing to 20 minutes the average wait time in medical clinics. This ambitious project will be carried out with the support of the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA), which is world-renowned in the area of deep learning. To achieve this goal, Bonjour-santé will tap into its immense data warehouse comprising unidentifiable information accumulated from millions of medical appointments over the last few years. The data gathered is very diverse, including reason for consultation, type of professional consulted, number of professionals per clinic, arranged and actual date and time of consultation, weather conditions, geographic location, etc. The aim of working with MILA is to more accurately predict clinic wait times.

Benoit Brunel, President of Bonjour-santé, is drawing on artificial intelligence to enhance the performance of the current Bonjour-santé algorithm, which has already reduced the average clinic wait time in its network from 246 minutes to 45. “Our mission is to take advantage of the available technologies to make it easier for patients to access health care. I believe that Quebec has the expertise required to make its public health care system one of the most efficient in the world in terms of clinic wait times,” said Brunel.

In addition to improving the patient experience, a reduction in clinic wait times brings with it many other significant spin-off benefits, the most important of which are fewer nosocomial infections (those contracted during health care) and optimization of clinic resources. (Source: MSSS, 2017)

Benoit Brunel believes that the public health care system can serve patients better. “It’s unthinkable that only 3% of patients – those who turn to the private system (not covered by RAMQ) – can receive care without waiting. These same patients have to spend hundreds of dollars for services that should be covered by the public system. Innovations cannot be limited to the private system; they should benefit everyone,” said Brunel. (Source: RAMQ, 2017)

Coming in winter 2018

Bonjour-santé wishes to implement its new wait time prediction service during the winter of 2018. Among the 327 medical clinics currently using Bonjour-santé services for managing appointments and waiting rooms, 70 are eligible for a rapid deployment of the improvements which will eventually be brought to the system, following the work being conducted by MILA.

“We are seeing a revolution in artificial intelligence,” said Étienne de Villers, Project Director at Bonjour-santé. “I’m convinced that artificial intelligence skills, particularly in deep learning, are the key competencies for tomorrow. In this context, we are particularly excited about leveraging our data via a practical deep learning application, which will improve the lives of all the members of our communities.” (Source: Radio-Canada, 2017)

About Bonjour-santé®

Bonjour-santé is an intraprise of Tootelo Innovation Inc., a SME based in Boucherville since 1994 and employing 140 people. In collaboration with over 2,000 doctors, Bonjour-santé offers services in 327 medical clinics in Quebec. Its objective is to facilitate access to health care while offering clinics free innovative solutions for managing their appointments and improving the patient experience.

About MILA

The Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA), headed by Professor Yoshua Bengio, brings together researchers in the field of deep learning. MILA is world renowned for its valuable contributions, both practical and theoretical, to the field of deep learning. The Institute has significantly contributed to language modeling, machine translation and generative modeling.

Sources (French only):

MINISTÈRE DE LA SANTÉ ET DES SERVICES SOCIAUX (2017). “Le Québec et les infections nosocomiales,” Santé et Services sociaux Québec, (page consulted on November 7, 2017).

RÉGIE DE L’ASSURANCE MALADIE DU QUÉBEC (2017). “Liste des professionnels de la santé non participants ou désengagés au régime de l’assurance maladie du Québec avec adresse de pratique au Québec,” Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec, (page consulted on November 7, 2017).

BERNARD, André (2017). “La révolution de l’intelligence artificielle,” Radio-Canada Info, (page consulted on November 7, 2017).

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Benoit Brunel

President | Bonjour-santé®