Next-generation patient care

Businesses making their mark on the future of medicine
November 23, 2021
By Alexander Huls


With technology promising to help improve global health, companies using artificial intelligence to contribute to the cause are on the rise.

Startups and entrepreneurs backed by Concordia’s District 3 Innovation Hub are among those at the centre of AI and health care. District 3 provides tools, programs and mentorship to help startups make critical advancements with a global impact.

Meet three successful businesses making their mark on the future of medicine.


Using artificial intelligence and deep learning, Plakk co-founder and CEO Khashif Khan is helping tackle some of the leading causes of death and disability: heart attacks and strokes.

With the help of AI, Plakk quickly analyzes medical images to accurately predict how dangerous a plaque — the buildup of cholesterol or fat — is on artery walls. Geared towards prediction and prevention, it can detect areas for concern early by marking medical images, allowing for researchers and clinicians to then take action sooner.

Vital Tracer

Continuous monitoring can go a long way in improving everyday health — and can also anticipate future concerns. Vital Tracer, co-founded by Zahra Zangenehmadar, PhD 16, does just that with a smartwatch designed to help prevent cardiovascular disease.

The watch uses multiple sensors to constantly track, record and analyze a wearer’s biological signals, which are then translated into vital-sign measurements such as blood pressure, heart rate and blood oxygen saturation. It can also help with home-care monitoring, sending out alerts to caregivers if signals start to become unusual and concerning.

Aifred Health

Approximately 280 million people globally suffer from depression — one of the most common forms of mental illness — says the World Health Organization. Aifred Health aims to better manage and personalize the treatment of depression with the help of AI.

Using an app powered by machine learning, users are sent a short weekly questionnaire that helps assess their mental health. The AI collects and analyzes the data and uses it to make adjustments, anticipate remissions and determine optimal treatment.

For its contributions to advancements in the field, Aifred Health earned second place and $1 million USD at the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE competition in June 2021.

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