Gift Accelerates Cardiovascular Data Analytics
“You may find this surprising, but there are remarkable synergies between the oil and gas industry and the cardiovascular system,” says Dr. Alan B. Lumsden of the Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center. “Whether you’re talking about pumping blood through the human body or drilling to extract oil from the ocean floor, it really comes down to fluid dynamics.”
Indeed, these similarities are what initially brought Dr. Lumsden, the Walter W. Fondren III Presidential Distinguished Chair and chair of the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, together with retired petroleum engineer and oil field executive Bob Allison. The two met through Pumps & Pipes, a Houston Methodist DeBakey CV Education initiative that unites top minds from Houston’s medical, energy and aerospace industries for an annual field day of collaboration, idea exchange and problem-solving.
The ensuing friendship, forged over cross-industry intuition and curiosity, has proved a boon to heart patients worldwide.
Since 2007, Bob and wife Carolyn have helped to elevate cardiovascular care at Houston Methodist through gifts from The Carolyn J. and Robert J. Allison, Jr. Family Foundation. Support for vital endowed research positions has paired with funding for physician assistant residencies, surgical robotics simulation training and a renowned education platform that shares medical progress with practitioners across the globe. The Allisons’ most recent gift, though, marks a new chapter in personalized health care.
“Computational medicine is rapidly coming to the forefront of cardiovascular research and clinical care,” says Dr. Lumsden, speaking of the predictive analytics program the Allisons’ newest gift will set in motion. “Advanced data analysis allows us to study readmission rates, complication factors and mortality data to inform immediate and long-term care plans.”
big data allows physicians to develop quantitative models of disease and best-practice care
If medicine, by its very nature, culminates in a mountain of collective data, then surgical practice is likely its peak. From the medical history and vitals that accompany a patient into the operating room to the copious data points collected through surgery and recovery, big data allows physicians to develop quantitative models of disease and best-practice care. Applied to individual patients, these models offer a mathematical window into improved diagnostics and better prediction of disease progression and care outcomes.
The Allisons’ gift will benefit Dr. Lumsden’s team through the Allison Family Cardiovascular Big Data and Artificial Intelligence Endowment as well as the addition of a computational scientist who will interface with surgeons to build on patient-specific, algorithm-based models.
“The groundbreaking research and good work Dr. Lumsden and his team are already doing has resulted in safer and less invasive procedures,” says Bob. “The engineer in me is pleased to see mathematics playing such an important role in allowing scientists to investigate areas beyond the scope of traditional research.”
As for strengthening an internationally recognized program whose surgeons perform more than 1,600 cardiovascular procedures a year, Dr. Lumsden adds, “The ability to leverage data accurately enables us to study trends and preempt complications before they occur.”
The Allisons say their support of Houston Methodist is a matter of the heart. Concludes Bob, “The Lord has been good to us, and we want to share with people who are doing good around the world, including Houston Methodist.”