Achieving Better Outcomes for Patients Using AI in Ontario

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Pentavere is using AI to unlock real world evidence and life saving insights trapped in unstructured data

Dr. Christopher Pettengell was working as a surgeon in London, England when he first became aware of Pentavere. At the time, he was frustrated with the lack of data he had to better- inform his decisions for patient treatments. Dr. Pettengell explains, “I found myself making decisions for my patients, in what everyone describes as an evidence-based field, but not having evidence to base my decisions on.” So, he took it upon himself to research a technical solution.

“In almost every aspect of the healthcare process, better data can help drive better decision making and better outcomes for patients,” says Dr. Pettengell, but what he noticed was that while many companies were focusing on predictive software that utilized AI, very few were actually tackling the problem of decrypting existing unstructured text.

Discovering Pentavere

Inevitably, his search led him to Toronto. “I had previous links to Toronto, undertaking some of my medical training here and obviously it is a well recognized center of AI excellence. That is how I came across Pentavere,” says Dr. Pettengell.

Pentavere is a Toronto-based healthcare technology company that uses its expertise and breakthrough proprietary Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing technology engine called DARWEN™, to quickly and economically extract Real World Evidence (RWE) and Life Saving Insights (LSI) trapped in large repositories of existing unstructured healthcare data.

Soon after meeting with the Pentavere team, Dr. Pettengell made the dramatic decision to hang up his scrubs and become the firm’s fulltime Medical Director. “I moved my family to Ontario because I actually think the technology Pentavere has is extremely unique in the world,” he says. “It gives me the opportunity to affect change and impact patients on a much larger scale than I’d ever be able to achieve as an individual surgeon.”

Pentavere’s vision for healthcare

At it’s core, Pentavere’s goal is to put high-quality data into the hands of people who can use it to save patients’ lives. “In other sectors, data is being used to do incredible things, but in healthcare we’re not there yet.” asserts Dr. Pettengell.

The healthcare sector is currently at a major disadvantage, with 80% of the vital information that healthcare professionals produce being buried in unstructured notes. “Pentavere has clearly demonstrated that decrypting and presenting quality data can help clinicians better diagnose and treat patients,” says Dr. Pettengell.

While the change Pentavere is bringing to the practice of medicine may not necessarily be visible to patients, they will notice a more personalized approach to treatment options and better outcomes.

Ontario’s AI community

It is no coincidence that Pentavere chose to locate where luminaries such as Geoffrey Hinton, “the godfather of deep learning” helped pioneer the science behind AI. The support Pentavere has received from the technology community, and the likes of the Vector Institute, has allowed Pentavere to thrive. “Ontario is a great hub to make international connections that enable a medical technology company like ours to be successful,” says Dr. Pettengell.

Since it’s start, Pentavere has taken advantage of everything Ontario has to offer including growing up at Ryerson University’s Biomedical Zone and then being headquartered at JLabs@Toronto. “We’re on a street with globally recognized hospitals, literally a few feet away from us. There are very few places in the world where you get that. And there is no place that has the AI talent that Ontario has.”

A proving ground for Pentavere’s global model

While finding success within Canada’s strict privacy laws and well-regulated framework, Pentavere has appreciated providing value to a healthcare system that serves the population in an effective and efficient way. “I think by working in this environment, and proving the model within this environment, set us up for real success as we start to move into the U.S.A.U.K. and other countries around the world,” says Dr. Pettengell.

As Pentavere aims to bring healthcare data utilization up to the same speed as other sectors, Dr. Pettengell reflects upon his experience as a surgeon, acknowledging that while it was an incredible privilege, he is confident in his decision to join Pentavere. “If I can empower clinicians worldwide to achieve better outcomes for their patients, then that is my greater contribution to the practice of medicine”