TORONTO, January 25, 2018 – Revera Inc. and WinterLight Labs today demonstrated a new speech-assessment technology that is funded by Ontario’s Health Technologies Fund (HTF).
This project is one of 15 that received funding in the first round of Ontario’s $20-million HTF. The fund is administered by Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) on behalf of the Office of the Chief Health Innovation Strategist (OCHIS), and is a part of the OCHIS mandate to strengthen Ontario’s health innovation ecosystem.
“The Health Technologies Fund is already having an impact in the health system because of the collaborations it has created between health service providers, health technology innovators and patients,” says William Charnetski, Ontario’s Chief Health Innovation Strategist. “We are finding new ways to solve our greatest challenges by harnessing the power of innovation to provide better care while creating jobs in Ontario.”
Representatives from OCHIS, OCE, Revera and WinterLight Labs were on location at Revera Leaside Retirement Residence for a presentation that included highlights of the Health Innovation Teams’ progress to date.
WinterLight Labs has developed a tablet-based speech-assessment technology that detects and monitors cognitive impairment. The technology can identify Alzheimer's disease, aphasia (language impairment, often related to stroke or other brain injury), and Parkinson's disease with high accuracy. Regular use of the technology can reassure families that elderly relatives are still able to live independently, with quantifiable updates and the ability to plan ahead.
“These digital health projects demonstrate why investment through the Health Technologies Fund is so important. People are more comfortable than ever using digital technology in their everyday lives and they expect the same kind of interaction with their health system,” says Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. “With these new tools, health care will become even faster and simpler for patients to use in their homes and communities.”
With a proven track record of delivering programs on behalf of the Ontario government, OCE was selected to deliver the HTF and assist in driving the development of made-in-Ontario healthcare technology while supporting economic growth, co-investing to commercialize innovation and fostering partnerships and collaboration in the health system.
“Healthcare is a priority sector in Ontario and globally, so it makes sense that OCE works with publicly-funded healthcare service providers, patients, academia, and industry to find innovative ways to improve patient outcomes and experience by supporting the demonstration of health tech through the Health Technologies Fund,” says Dr. Tom Corr, OCE’s President and CEO.
“Revera is committed to providing the best possible care for our residents. Often changes in cognition go unnoticed during the early stages. The innovative speech-assessment software we are piloting with WinterLight Labs will greatly enhance our ability to identify cognitive changes early in the process and ensure that we have the appropriate resources in place to ensure the best care is being provided,” said Dr. Rhonda Collins, Revera’s Chief Medical Officer.
“Innovation is critical in our health system and we are so pleased to work collaboratively with our partners to support WinterLight Labs, part of our Innovators in Aging program, to be successful,” said Trish Barbato, Senior Vice President, Innovation and Strategic Partnerships, Revera Inc.
“Existing methods for tracking cognitive status are time consuming and provoke anxiety. WinterLight is excited to be partnering with an innovative company like Revera to pilot this quick and stress-free technology for monitoring cognition. Providing an early-warning system for Alzheimer’s disease will help seniors live independently longer,” said Liam Kaufman, CEO & Cofounder, WinterLight Labs.
For more information, please visit the Health Technologies Fund website.
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About Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc.
OCE drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research across key market sectors to build the economy of tomorrow and secure Ontario's global competitiveness. In doing this, OCE fosters the training and development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and is a key partner with Ontario's industry, universities, colleges, research hospitals, investors and governments. A champion of leading-edge technologies, best practices and research, OCE invests in sectors such as advanced health, digital media and information communications, advanced manufacturing and materials, and cleantech including energy, environment and water. OCE is a key partner in delivering Ontario's Innovation Agenda as a member of the province's Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE). Funded by the Government of Ontario, the ONE is made up of regional and sector-focused organizations and helps Ontario-based entrepreneurs rapidly grow their company and create jobs.
About the Office of the Chief Health Innovation Strategist:
The Office of the Chief Health Innovation Strategist (OCHIS) was created in September of 2015 to fulfill the recommendations made by the Ontario Health Innovation Council (OHIC) established by the Ontario government in 2013. The council submitted is report, The Catalyst, in December 2014.
OCHIS is a catalyst to help accelerate health technology commercialization efforts in Ontario. The purpose of the office is to drive collaboration across the health care system to accelerate the adoption and diffusion of new innovative health technologies and processes to:
OCHIS focuses on targeted priorities:
- Optimize pathways to adoption and diffusion for innovative Ontario health technologies
- Enable effective procurement of innovation by shifting the health care system to strategic, value-based procurement and removing barriers for small and medium-sized enterprises to participate.
- Provide better care closer to home by supporting home and community care enabled by virtual, mobile and digital health technologies
- Empower Ontarians through digital health by building a dynamic market of digital tools and supports to navigate and personalize their path to health and wellness
- Enhance Indigenous peoples health by advancing opportunities for innovation to address health challenges in their communities.
To be world-leading, Ontario's health technology companies need to generate significant export activity. OCHIS supports efforts to champion them in global markets.
Revera is a leading owner, operator and investor in the senior living sector. Through its portfolio of partnerships, Revera owns or operates more than 500 properties across Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, serving more than 50,000 seniors. The company offers seniors’ apartments, independent living, assisted living, memory care and long term care. With approximately 45,000 employees dedicated to providing exceptional care and service, Revera is helping seniors live life to the fullest. Through Age is More, Revera is committed to challenging ageism, the company’s social cause of choice. Find out more at ReveraLiving.com, Facebook.com/ReveraInc or on Twitter @Revera_Inc.
In 2016, the company created the Revera Innovators in Aging program as a platform to invest in and scale innovations to improve the aging experience. Through the program, Revera’s innovation team works closely with entrepreneurs to pilot new products, services and technologies at Revera residences, and provides advisory services, coaching and strategic support related to developing a human-centric solution and a scalable business model.