July 23, 2019

Libin researcher named ASTech finalist

Dr. James White selected for innovative cardiac imaging software


Dawn Smith/Libin Institute

Dr. James White


Dr. James White’s years of hard work and dedication to improving cardiovascular patient care are being noticed.

White, a Professor in UCalgary’s Cumming School of Medicine and the Director of the Stephenson Cardiac Imaging Centre, is a finalist for the 30th annual ASTech Awards, in the category of health innovations. The winners will be announced on Nov. 1 at SAIT in Calgary.

White is proud to be named a finalist for the awards, put on by the ASTech Foundation, a group dedicated to inspiring the next generation of innovation by celebrating excellence in Alberta’s science and technology sector.

“It’s such an honour to be considered amongst other leaders in Alberta aiming to make positive changes in patient care,” he says.

Dr. Todd Anderson, director of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta, nominated White for the award for his development and commercialization of software enabling precision healthcare delivery in cardiovascular diagnostics, White’s area of focus.

Dr. White uses innovative software solutions to create individualized risk algorithms for patient to improve their care and cardiovascular outcome,” says Anderson. “This scientific and entrepreneurial approach is at the heart of what we are trying to achieve with precision medicine. We are proud of the work he is doing through the Libin Institute and Stephenson Cardiac Imaging Centre.”

White, who is a Cardiologist with expertise in cardiovascular imaging, started developing software in 2008 to automate patient data capture and standardize disease descriptions from cardiovascular imaging. Over the past decade, he has fine-tuned this approach to provide increasing value for predicting cardiovascular outcomes, a primary focus of his research.

Today in Southern Alberta, all patients having cardiac MRI performed are provided an opportunity to participate in Dr White’s research, aimed at understanding how to best predict heart failure, arrhythmia and other major events in patients with cardiovascular disease. White’s team of PhD and Masters students train computer algorithms, comparing information from thousands of previous patients, to predict what will happen to each individual patient.

To allow sites around the globe to benefit from this, White formed a company called Cohesic to develop a commercial version of this software platform.  This combines patient specific health information with detailed analyses of the heart to assist in constructing individualized care plans.

The software informs technologists what images are needed for each individual patient, streamlines how test data is captured, and generates final reports that are both personalized and highly consistent. The result is that physicians can more easily identify test findings that could improve patient outcomes.

“The software improves efficiency for diagnostic testing… but more importantly creates a unique and detailed data fingerprint for each person’s heart that can be used to predict future events,” says White, noting the program also integrates with numerous partner vendors and institutionally sourced data, such as the APPROACH database in Alberta (Alberta Provincial Project for Outcome Assessment in Coronary Heart disease), which includes information from over 100,000 cardiac patients, gathered over 20 years.  

White’s company now offers matched software products for Cardiac MRI, Cardiac CT and is soon releasing the same for Invasive Coronary Angiography.

White is pleased that the work he has put in over the past decade is becoming available to sites around the globe.

“It’s exciting to be part of innovation here in Alberta that could impact people globally.  I’ve been very fortunate to have the right people here to support me and share this recognition with them,” says White.

For more information about the ASTech Foundation, visit www.astech.ca