UPMC Funds First Round of Projects in Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

UPMC Funds First Round of Projects in Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance

March 22, 2016
by Heather Landi
| Reprints

UPMC announced it is funding the first six technology projects created under the Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance with a focus on solving difficult healthcare challenges, such as reducing patient falls, preventing and monitoring pressure ulcers and improving the accuracy of cancer diagnoses.

With the funding, expected to total more than $3 million over the next six months, the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) researchers will developed technologies aimed at reducing patient falls, preventing and monitoring pressure ulcers, improving the accuracy of cancer diagnoses and providing personalized treatment recommendations, among other benefits. The funding will come from UPMC Enterprises, a division at UPMC focused on commercializing medical technology and services.

Announced in March 2015, the Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance is a collaboration among UPMC, the University of Pittsburgh and CMU that is focused on building new companies that create data-intensive software and services focused on healthcare and wellness.

“We are excited to move forward with the first of many exceptional ideas in the Health Data Alliance pipeline,” Tal Heppenstall, president of UPMC Enterprises, said in a statement. “This promising start bodes well for the Alliance’s goal of transforming health care by unleashing the creativity and entrepreneurialism of leading scientists and clinicians in Pittsburgh.”

These first-funded projects are being developed by the Alliance’s CMU-led Center for Machine Learning and Health (CMLH) and Pitt’s Center for Commercial Applications of Healthcare Data (CCA). 

The first CMLH project is the Clinical Genomics Modeling Platform, an engine for easily building precision-medicine models for various diseases and populations. For instance, according to the UPMC media release, triage algorithms might help to determine if patients with a certain disease should be sent home with monitoring or sent to the intensive care unit.

 The funded CCA projects include MEDIvate, a patient-centered smartphone application designed for patients to update and share medication lists. Current medications will be added directly to the application from the provider’s electronic medical record or by the patient, ensuring accuracy and reducing medication errors as well as the Tumor-specific Driver Identification (TDI) System, software that will provide personalized genomic information to cancer clinicians about the genetic drivers of an individual patient’s tumors. “Tumor-specific algorithms will be used for real-time mining of genetic ‘big data’ that will enable personalized treatments for cancer patients. TDI also is expected to lead to the discovery of new cancer drivers and may be used by pharmaceutical companies to identify novel drugs, according to the UPMC.

Another funded project is Fall Sentinel, an automated system enabling clinical pharmacists to continuously monitor patients in nursing homes, especially for potential drug-drug interactions that might lead to falls. Nursing home falls are one of the most common and dangerous events for patients, with treatment costing the nation’s health system more than $4 billion each year.

The fifth project is PUMP, a solution aimed at reducing hospital-acquired pressure ulcers, affecting an estimated 3 million patients annually. The monitoring and alert solutions, using wearable devices and hospital bed sensors, will provide real-time documentation of patient repositioning and a process to improve compliance with these preventative measures. And, the sixth project focuses on ComPACD, or Computational Pathology for Accurate Cancer Diagnosis. According to the UPMC release about the projects, a software designed for pathologists to deliver more accurate diagnoses from complex tumor images.

 The leaders of these projects will further develop their ideas and examine their broader market potential, and, based on those results, UPMC Enterprises may provide additional funding and development help. 



Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More



Boston Children's Accelerates Data-Driven Approach to Clinical Research

In an effort to bring a more data-driven approach to clinical research, Boston Children’s Hospital has joined the TriNetX global health research network.

Paper Records, Films Most Common Type of Healthcare Data Breach, Study Finds

Despite the high level of hospital adoption of electronic health records and federal incentives to do so, paper and films were the most frequent location of breached data in hospitals, according to a recent study.

AHA Appoints Senior Advisor for Cybersecurity and Risk

The American Hospital Association (AHA) has announced that John Riggi has joined the association as senior advisor for cybersecurity and risk.

Report: Healthcare Accounted for 45% of All Ransomware Attacks in 2017

Healthcare fell victim to more ransomware attacks than any other industry in 2017, according to a new report from global cybersecurity insurance company Beazley.

Study: Use of EHRs Does Not Reduce Administrative Costs

A recent study by Duke University and Harvard Business School researchers found that costs for processing a single bill ranged from $20 for a primary care visit to $215 for an inpatient surgical procedure, or up to 25 percent of revenue.

Kibbe to Step Down as CEO of DirectTrust

David Kibbe, M.D., M.B.A., announced he would step down as president and CEO of DirectTrust at the end of the year.