Ontario Hospital first - AI deployed to detect low bone density

Wed, 11/22/2023 - 12:01

An exciting partnership between 16 Bit and Cambridge Memorial Hospital (CMH) has brought a state-of-the-art artificial intelligence enabled screening tool to the Region of Waterloo. It is the first time this technology has been deployed in an Ontario hospital setting for clinical use.


Rho is an innovative, Health Canada approved, artificial intelligence-driven screening tool that assesses for low bone mineral density (BMD). Rho uses routinely acquired x-rays in patients aged 50+ years and analyzes them. If low BMD is detected, the system flags the patient’s x-ray study for further review. Radiologists now have a powerful aide that can help them identify low bone density earlier, increasing the opportunity for further testing, earlier prevention and treatment.


The silent epidemic of low BMD, also known as osteopenia (low bone mass) and osteoporosis, is pervasive. Only about 22% of patients who are at risk for osteoporosis are ever screened with DXA, a specialized test for measuring bone mineral density. Rho can help bridge this diagnostic gap by proactively identifying patients that can benefit from DXA during their routine x-ray exams.  


“We're very pleased to bring Rho to CMH and help support the early detection and management of osteoporosis in the community. It is one of many steps planned towards shifting the screening paradigm to enable better bone health,” said Dr. Mark Cicero, a Diagnostic Radiologist and the Co-CEO and Co-Founder of 16 Bit.


“Rho is a tool that will bring care closer to home and makes this advanced technology accessible to people in Cambridge, North Dumfries and the Region of Waterloo,” said Dr. Winnie Lee, Chief of Staff, Chief of Diagnostic Imaging at Cambridge Memorial Hospital. “Good bone health contributes to overall quality of life. By acting early, we can help patients at risk of osteopenia lead full lives and avoid some of the fractures that might bring them to hospital.”


The Rho system, which can analyze 80% of all x-rays performed, is seeing strong adoption in independent health facilities across Canada with some of the largest chains in Alberta and Ontario already providing enhanced care to their patients. In its first year on the market Rho has screened over 50,000 patients with a target of 1 million patients by the end of 2024.


Drs. Lee and Cicero