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.