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UC San Francisco Creates Center for Digital Health Innovation

May 6, 2013
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The University of California San Francisco is creating a Center for Digital Health Innovation (CDHI) to lead the transformation of healthcare delivery and discovery from empiric, generalized, disease-based diagnostic and treatment approaches to the era of individualized precision medicine.

UCSF Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO) Michael Blum, M.D., has been tapped to lead the CDHI in the new position of associate vice chancellor for informatics. In his new role, Blum, a cardiologist and clinical professor of medicine, will coordinate and leverage UCSF’s information technology assets.

The focus of the CDHI is developing new technologies, apps, and systems that, along with the explosion of social media, will generate enormous new data sets. The goals of the CDHI are to:

  • Create a home that fosters digital health innovation among UCSF’s faculty, staff, and students
  • Study social media and novel device and sensor usage to understand the characteristics that generate “stickiness” and persistent use in the healthcare and wellness markets
  • Validate the functionality and accuracy of new digital health devices, sensors, and technologies, and evaluate whether they bring value to patients and the healthcare system
  • Incubate important new digital technologies, apps, sensors, and systems, and bring them to market via collaborations with start-ups and industry and capital partners.

“We recognize that optimally managing and leveraging the data generated by these resources and marrying them with next-generation data management and analytic technologies will be crucial to the mission of the institution and our future success,” Blum said in a statement.

Precision medicine is an emerging field that aims to harness the wealth of data available from the human genome and research into the molecular basis of disease and integrate it on both a personal and global level with information on environmental factors and patients’ electronic health records.

The goal of precision medicine is to create a shared knowledge network to that will allow providers and researchers to access far more powerful, individually relevant information that will revolutionize healthcare.

Simply put, the practice of precision medicine would allow scientists to share emerging research findings faster, drug companies to develop more precise therapies, and clinicians and patients to make more informed decisions about treatments that would ultimately improve care, save lives and reduce healthcare costs.

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