Press release

16 Bit’s Novel AI-based screening tool to address care gap in osteoporosis at Canada’s largest research hospital

July 4, 2024

July 4, 2024 (Toronto, ON) – In Canada, at least 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will break a bone due to osteoporosis in their lifetime. Bone mineral density (BMD) declines with age, particularly with menopause, and often the first sign of disease is a fracture. Fractures can lead to reduced quality of life, mobility issues, and loss of independence. Despite clinical guidelines, most adults are not screened for fracture risk; in fact, 80% of patients who experience an osteoporotic fracture have never been screened. Annually, the Canadian healthcare system spends a staggering $4 billion dollars on fracture-related costs, which is only expected to rise as the population ages.

Founded by practicing radiologists Dr. Mark Cicero and Dr. Alexander Bilbily in Toronto, 16 Bit Inc. has developed a novel, AI-powered screening tool that analyzes standard X-rays, and alerts the radiologist if the patient is likely to have low BMD. With their medical device software, Rho™, 16 Bit aims to revolutionize osteoporosis detection by triggering the often-overlooked fracture risk assessment.

16 Bit Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Dr. Cicero, explained the concept behind Rho™: “Most adults will have an X-ray at some point, such as a chest X-ray to rule out pneumonia, or a knee X-ray for pain. Rho™ analyzes these X-rays as they are taken, providing insight about a patient’s bone health from images that are being acquired anyway. When Rho™ detects that a patient is likely to have low BMD, the finding is included in the X-ray report, which can remind the physician to consider a fracture risk assessment.”

Through OBIO’s Life Sciences Critical Technologies & Commercialization (LSCTC) Centre of Excellence, 16 Bit and the University Health Network (UHN), Canada’s largest research hospital, are embarking on a study to evaluate Rho™. The evaluation project will build real-world evidence at a multi-site institution that serves a diverse population and gain practical insights from Rho™, which will be critical to scale the tool globally. The evaluation’s outcomes will assess the impact of Rho™ on patient screening, radiology workflow, and costs.

“We are defining a new standard of care for osteoporosis screening. By identifying at-risk patients, earlier than they would have been identified otherwise, and with effective lifestyle modifications and treatment options available, we know we can prevent some of these debilitating fractures,” emphasized Dr. Bilbily.

“We are thrilled to see 16 Bit’s made-in-Ontario AI tool, Rho™, being evaluated at UHN. At OBIO®, we support the seamless integration of ethical AI and other critical technologies into clinical workflows that reduce cost and improve patient outcomes,” said Dr. Maura Campbell, President and CEO of OBIO®. “We have been supporting 16 Bit for many years and are delighted to catalyze their commercialization journey through OBIO’s Life Sciences Critical Technologies & Commercialization (LSCTC) Centre of Excellence”.

About 16 Bit

16 Bit is a Canadian software medical device company focused on discovering unseen opportunities to improve healthcare by leveraging advances in AI. 16 Bit has been a proud beneficiary of Canada’s thriving healthcare technology ecosystem through support from OBIO®, the CAN Health Network, and INOVAIT. For more information, visit

About OBIO®

OBIO®, a not-for-profit, membership-based organization dedicated to advancing health technology innovation and commercialization, is prioritizing the evaluation and implementation of new solutions using critical technologies through its Life Sciences Critical Technologies & Commercialization (LSCTC) Centre of Excellence, supported by the Government of Ontario. OBIO® is engaged in strategy, programming, policy development and advocacy to further the commercialization of human health technologies, positioning Canada as a leader in the international marketplace. For more information, please visit and follow OBIO® on LinkedIn and X.

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16 Bit

Doriane Rey
Senior Manager, Marketing & Communications

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