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Lakehead researchers teaming with high-tech firm on medical scheduling software

Graduate student earns internship in growing A.I. company's North American reach
Lakehead Agora Building

A collaboration between Lakehead University and a high-tech company has netted the Thunder Bay post-secondary institution some funding for a research internship.

Salimur Choudhury, an assistant professor in computer science at Lakehead, has been working with Mesh Scheduling Inc. on the software for an automated staff scheduler in the health-care industry.

The Kingston-based artifical intelligence company has come up with a cloud-based system that factors in shift preferences, vacation time, weekends, special days, and other various staff analytics to produce a custom schedule for doctors and clinicians.

According to a Lakehead news release, Mesh AI can schedules thousands of shifts in highly complex work settings in just minutes. The company reportedly has thousands of users in Canada and the U.S. and expects to grow those numbers to include millions.

A graduate student of Choudhury's, Mahzabeen Emu, has been awarded a $15,000 Mitacs research internship for the next four months to work on this project.

The technology is being billed as a smart solution to prevent burnout in health-care workers.

“Workforce shortage is the number one problem in health care globally,” said Choudhury in a June 4 Lakehead news release.

“The shortage of health-care personnel is a prevalent problem, primarily due to the substantial workloads caused by the novel Coronavirus strain."

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Mitacs is a not-for-profit national research organization that partners with academia, private industry and government in research and training programs in fields related to industrial and social innovation.

Lakehead's input involves assisting Mesh Scheduling Inc. in optimizing its scheduling platform to manage the uncertainties and challenges in the health-care industry by utilizing artificial intelligence with smart human resource allocation.

“We at Mesh AI are excited to start this research collaboration with Prof. Choudhury and Mahzabeen Emu for a number of reasons,” said Dr. Shahram Yousefi, co-founder and president-CEO of Mesh Scheduling.

“On the one hand, this will lead to a coordinated and more impactful response to the call by all levels of the Canadian government to support public health and faster economic recovery.

“On the other hand, as leader of the category, Mesh AI can tremendously benefit from the latest research work done by Dr. Choudhury and his team in recent years.

“We are doubly happy to have diversified our R&D collaborations with Lakehead University (a first for us to build on) as well as working with Mahzabeen as a true star female graduate student in STEM. This is the future of Canadian health care and tech diversity intersecting.”