TD Bank Group contributes $1M to MUHC Foundation to help improve access to health care in Northern Quebec

MONTREAL, June 21st, 2021 – To help improve equality in access to health care, TD Bank Group is proud to donate $1 million to the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) Foundation for an innovative project focused on helping health care access for remote communities.

This project, spearheaded by Dr. Reza Forghani and Dr. Caroline Reinhold, will use artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze emergency medical images that require urgent review, helping to accelerate care and potentially save lives. This new technology will be mainly used for x-rays and CT scans, which are the cornerstones of emergency medical imaging and diagnosis.

This donation to the MUHC Foundation is made through the TD Ready Commitment, the bank’s corporate citizenship platform.

“We are determined to increase our investment in research, technology and innovative solutions that are focused on helping to provide equality of access to health care. The MUHC Foundation’s project is geared to help improve access to radiology which in turn can help improve early diagnosis and detection for the benefit of the health of isolated communities in Quebec,” says Sylvie Demers, Chair, Quebec Market, TD Bank Group.

Using AI to serve patients

While AI technology is being used in radiology to read medical images and recognize conditions, including detection of issues that present considerable risk for patients, the MUHC Foundation underlines that this investment will lead to better care, less unnecessary transport for patients and more collaboration between researchers and physicians. The project was developed by the team headed by Drs. Forghani and Reinhold, Co-Directors of the Augmented Intelligence & Precision Health Laboratory (AIPHL) of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) to prioritize images presenting potentially fatal conditions and transferring them directly to the medical specialist on duty. The specialist can then alert the remote hospital of the conditions that need to be promptly treated, such as a collapsed lung, bowel perforation or even a stroke.

In a given year, MUHC radiologists examine over 190,000 x-rays, 100,000 CT scans, 40,000 MRIs and 70,000 ultrasounds. They are also responsible for reading approximately 12,000 x-rays and 1,000 ultrasounds per year for Northern health regions. This new project will help lighten the load for the MUHC’s radiologists while helping to find medical conditions quickly and with high accuracy.

“In remote communities, every second counts when it comes to dispensing urgent care. Knowing that patients who suffer a stroke in rural communities are 30% more likely to die than patients in urban areas, this project developed by our experts has the potential to help save countless lives,” stated Julie Quenneville, President and CEO of the MUHC Foundation.

Thanks to the donation from TD, this initiative will have a positive impact on the entire McGill Réseau Universitaire Intégré de Santé et Services Sociaux (RUISSS) including 200,000 individuals living in the Nord-du-Québec and Abitibi-Témiscamingue regions, for whom the possibility of being transported to the MUHC is very limited. Eventually, this project could considerably impact all 7 million Canadians who currently live in rural communities.