Mount Sinai is home to new institute for digital health

New York health system gets $15M gift, teams with Germany’s Hasso Plattner Institute to leverage combined expertise.

The Hasso Plattner Institute for Digital Health is joining the ranks of more than 20 institutes launched at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine to conduct research designed to improve patient outcomes.

The latest venture, a collaboration between Mount Sinai Health System and Germany’s Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI), will leverage their combined expertise in artificial intelligence, biomedical engineering and data sciences to develop digital health solutions with real-time predictive and preventive capabilities.

“We know we can save lives, prevent disease and improve the health of patients with artificial intelligence in real-time analysis of comprehensive health data from electronic health records, genetic information and mobile sensor technologies,” says Erwin Bottinger, MD, professor of digital health-personalized medicine at HPI and co-director of the Hasso Plattner Institute for Digital Health at Mount Sinai. “With this groundbreaking new Institute, Mount Sinai and the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany, will join forces to build these cutting-edge digital health services.”

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Financial support for the creation of the Institute for Digital Health comes from a $15 million gift from the Hasso Plattner Foundation. Among other activities, the institute will test prototype digital health solutions for consumers, patients, providers and healthcare systems.

“This endeavor will usher in a new era of digital health at Mount Sinai that advances the field of precision medicine,” says Dennis Charney, MD, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean of Icahn School of Medicine and president for academic affairs at Mount Sinai Health System. “By leveraging our shared knowledge and academic excellence, Mount Sinai and HPI are positioned to find solutions that will revolutionize healthcare and science, and improve health nationally and globally.”

According to Joel Dudley, director of Mount Sinai’s Institute for Next Generation Healthcare and co-director of the new Hasso Plattner Institute for Digital Health, one of the benefits of the healthcare system’s large and diverse patient population is the wealth of clinical and genomic data at its disposal.

As New York City’s largest integrated delivery system, encompassing eight hospitals, the Icahn School of Medicine and a network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region, Dudley contends that Mount Sinai has a “patient population about the size of a small Scandinavian country,” but with tremendous socio-economic and ethnic diversity. “It’s about bringing digital health to the patient, provider and clinic,” he says.

In particular, Dudley points to the BioMe BioBank Program housed at the Icahn School of Medicine’s Charles Bronfman Institute for Personalized Medicine, which enables researchers to rapidly and efficiently conduct genetic, epidemiologic, molecular and genomic studies on large collections of research specimens linked with electronic health records.

“We have a biobank cohort of individuals who have consented to be part of this large research study, where we already have DNA and electronic health records for 50,000 patients,” says Dudley. “But we want to start collecting digital data streams on individuals as well.”

Under Dudley’s leadership, the Institute for Next Generation Healthcare has already developed an integrated translational biomedical research model using advances in AI, clinical medicine, digital health and omics that will be utilized by the Hasso Plattner Institute for Digital Health. The model, called Lab 100, leverages data and technology in an effort to redesign the way health is measured and healthcare is delivered by empowering patients to track their own health.

“Lab 100 is a living prototype of a digital clinic of the future,” concludes Dudley. “We’re actually building clinical systems and environments that are ready to receive and evaluate in a live setting the most cutting-edge digital health technologies.”

When it comes to mobile healthcare and wearable technology, he sees tremendous value in gathering patient-generated data through sensors. “That’s going to be the centerpiece of some of our efforts with the Hasso Plattner Institute for Digital Health,” adds Dudley. “Electronic health records capture a sliver of a patient’s total life and provides a very limited picture of their health.”

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