Carnegie Mellon University
February 02, 2011

News Brief: Improving Health Care

As part of its mission to advance health care information technology, UPMC's new Technology Development Center (TDC) has awarded grants worth $550,000 to five innovative research projects at academic partner Carnegie Mellon University.
The proposals, covering such areas as chronic care management and streaming-data analytics, are part of the TDC's Healthcare Technology Innovation (HTI) grants, a strategic collaboration between UPMC and CMU. The $1 million initiative has already attracted more than 25 proposals from cross-disciplinary research teams at CMU.
"These unrestricted grants will support ground-breaking areas of research that are critical for turning a wealth of health care information into true knowledge that  improves the care of  patients," said Rebecca Kaul, president of the TDC.
"We thank UPMC for these generous grants, which will allow our faculty to use their technical expertise to help develop solutions for important health care problems," said CMU Vice President for Research Rick McCullough. "Carnegie Mellon has played a leading role in many areas of medical technology, and we look forward to working with the TDC on these projects, which have the potential to both improve patient care and spur economic growth."

The five funded projects and their principal investigators are:

  • Development of software for improving management of end-stage heart failure patients; James Antaki, professor of biomedical engineering, and Antonio Ferreira, assistant professor of biomedical engineering;
  • Creation of a digital system for identifying poisonous plants; Marios Savvides, director of the CyLab Biometrics Lab, and Cynthia Morton, head of the botany section of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History;
  • Improvement of a simulation system that will help researchers better understand the pathology of cerebral aneurysms; Kenji Shimada, professor of engineering, and Jessica Zhang, assistant professor of mechanical engineering;
  • Application of novel pattern detection methods to real-time health care data streams to provide diagnostic and business intelligence; Daniel B. Neill, assistant professor of information systems, Artur Dubrawski, co-director of the Auton Lab in the School of Computer Science, Rema Padman, professor of management science and healthcare informatics, and Jeff Schneider, co-director of the Auton Lab;
  • Development of visual data analysis tools for improving diabetes care; Padman and Neill.

Created in late 2009, the TDC aims to build the next generation of health care information technology while acting as a catalyst for economic development in the region.

"Our challenge is to unlock the value of the data flowing through health care organizations. By connecting patients, caregivers and insurers and sharing information seamlessly and securely, we can create a system that is truly built around the needs of patients. The result will be better patient outcomes, fewer errors and increased efficiency," Kaul said.
Now located at Bakery Square in Pittsburgh, the 16-person TDC staff is focusing its development and investment efforts on advanced 3-D imaging, natural language processing and interoperability solutions.
The HTI grant program is administered by Henry Clement, director of strategic programs at the TDC, with guidance and oversight from CMU's Pradeep Khosla, dean of the College of Engineering, and Ramayya Krishnan, dean of the H. John Heinz III College.

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