May 30, 2024

Researchers pilot AI-powered platform to deliver personalized health care

James White and Farhad Maleki are excited about the transformative potential of their work

Imagine accessing precise medical opinions and predictions from an expert who has studied every health test, care decision, and outcome for patients exactly like you. Now picture this could be done at the touch of a button.

Dr. James White, MD, a professor in the Department of Cardiac Sciences at the Cumming School of Medicine and director of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute’s Precision Medicine Initiative, and Dr. Farhad Maleki, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Sciences and lead of the Vision Research Lab at the University of Calgary are leading a collaborative effort to develop an AI-powered health-care platform.

Their goal is to enable institutions to ethically engage patients for the delivery of AI-augmented personalized care in compliance with all regulatory requirements.

Support for the project totals $1.2 million, including a recent award of just under $800,000 from Alberta Innovates AI For Better Health program. With the funding in place, they are launching a pilot trial of prototype software designed to support AI-augmented clinical decision-making. Their solution incorporates an innovative platform that aims to empower patients and their physicians to review personalized risk estimates of cardiac outcomes, such as heart failure and arrhythmias.

A man with short hair wearing a suit with his arms crossed

James White

Libin Cardiovascular Institute

“It’s an incredibly exciting project. Our goal is to combine leading AI research with real-world patient care in Alberta,” says White. “We need to improve access to the benefits of AI technology while ensuring complete transparency and control for our patients. Achieving this requires new approaches and new solutions.”

The pilot is set to launch in 2024 in Calgary clinics affiliated with the Libin Cardiovascular Institute, with subsequent testing at the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the University of Alberta.  Testing of how the system functions will allow for refinements to the platform and demonstration of its value for the delivery of AI-augmented clinical decision support (AI-CDS).

According to White, participation in this pilot program will be voluntary for patients receiving care across clinics of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute. Participants will share their experiences using the platform and be eligible for early studies aimed at testing potential benefits of AI-CDS. 

Patients consenting to participate will complete a digital survey about their current symptoms, quality of life, and information specific to the clinic they are visiting. The platform will automatically combine this information with de-identified diagnostic testing to develop patient-specific insights relevant to their medical condition, such as predicting their future risk of heart failure and heart rhythm problems.

Assessing the value of this approach to assist in the delivery of personalized care for Albertans is a primary focus of this collaborative effort between Alberta Health Services (AHS) and the Libin Cardiovascular Institute.

Developing a platform for integrating data from across our diverse health-care system is a formidable task. White and Maleki have been preparing for this pilot launch for some time, working closely with AHS and the University of Calgary.

A man with glasses in a white shirt and tie

Farhad Maleki

“This is the culmination of around a decade of work,” says White. “Unlocking the potential of health data so it benefits your care is what personalized medicine is all about. But we needed to develop an ethical, fair, and equitable solution that allows patients to benefit without compromising their privacy. I believe we have developed a solution that can accomplish this.” 

Maleki agrees. 

“Knowing what options are preferable requires a consideration of patient information and history that isn’t always possible,” says Maleki. “This platform keeps patients and their doctors in the driver’s seat while providing valuable information to help them make the best decisions possible. It has the potential to transform the way we do health care.”  

The platform’s scalability across all areas of medicine is particularly promising.

“Our current platform is designed to create predictive models for cardiovascular health, but there is potential to expand it to other areas of health,” says Maleki. “The exceptional decision-making capability of AI allows a shift from reactive to proactive care — enabling significant improvements in patients’ quality of life. It’s very exciting.”

White is one of five UCalgary researchers to receive over $3.9 million from the Alberta Innovates AI-Better Health program that were announced May 29, 2024. Read more about the program. 

James White is a professor in the Department of Cardiac Sciences at the Cumming School of Medicine. He is a member of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute, director of the Institute’s Precision Medicine Initiative, and a co-founder of Cohesic Inc.

Farhad Maleki is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science. He leads the Vision Research Lab at the University of Calgary, and is an adjunct professor at McGill University, where he co-directs the Augmented Intelligence & Precision Health Laboratory. 

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