Science and Business students explore the impact of AI in the clinical diagnostic process

Monday, April 16, 2018

Capstone group photo with supervisors and special guest Dr. Maura Grossman.

Breast cancer is one of the most commonly misdiagnosed types of cancer, but what if there was a way to decrease the odds of misdiagnosis? As part of the first-ever Science and Business Capstone project, four students proposed a way to implement artificial intelligence (AI) in the diagnosis process that can help assist doctors in making the right call.

Students Nadya Bakker, Orest Kobelak, Monique Seymour, and Yasmin Zaimi were the first students to ever take SCBUS 424, Science & Business Workshop 5, which was launched in Winter 2018. The aim of the course is to help students identify real world problems, use their collective knowledge to solve the problem, and develop a business plan to put their solution into action. 

“The capstone project proved to be an excellent opportunity for the team to demonstrate critical thinking and problem-solving skills learned through their classroom and co-op experiences; expand their industry knowledge, and figure out the next steps in their career,” says Dr. Okey Igboeli, Science and Business Lecturer who coordinated the course in its start-up year. 

Unlike a typical undergraduate thesis which is prepared by an individual student, the SCBUS 424 capstone project is done as a group. It’s aimed at demonstrating what the students have learned in their past years of study to create solution to a real-world problem. In this course, each group of students is given the freedom to explore and research an approved topic of their choice that entails different aspects of science and business.

“Capstone and fourth-year thesis courses are key stepping stones to industry and graduate studies,” says Dr. Jean Richardson, Director of the Science and Business program. “They allow students the opportunity for independent exploration of a  specific topic and a chance to experience personal responsibility to project generation and completion”

The team’s capstone project, entitled “The Integration of Artificial Intelligence in Reshaping the Clinical Diagnostic Process” explored health care and technology, focusing on using AI to help better diagnose breast cancer during the Clinical Diagnostic Process (CDP). 

Currently, the CDP consists of six steps, ultimately leading to the diagnosis and treatment of a patient. The group proposed to integrate an AI system into the CDP that can analyze medical images and determine if the patient has cancer.

“The AI system won’t replace doctors,” says Orest Kobelak, a fourth-year Science and Business student and a member of the capstone team. “It will be a tool to help doctors diagnose a patient. The doctor will still be the one to make the final call.”

As part of the course, the students needed to provide a recommended pilot project and business plan and how it could be implemented. Their theoretical pilot leveraged Electronic Health Records (EHR) to integrate AI initially in Markham Stouffville Hospital, Southlake Regional Health Centre, and Stevenson Memorial Hospital, then later province-wide. These locations already have a shared EHR in place which would make it easy to integrate AI into the system.

“[The capstone project] was a great way to see how far we’ve come. We got to bring together our soft skills from co-op and knowledge from our classes. We would have never been able to have accomplished this when we first entered University,” says Monique Seymour, fourth year Science and Business student. “It’s a cool way to finish off a Science and Business co-op degree.”

Seymour, Bakker, Kobelak, and Zaimi are all current fourth year Science and Business students who will be graduating this term. They plan on continuing their education in the health care industry after graduation.