UPMC has announced plans to fund six projects from the Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance to solve difficult healthcare treatment challenges through the use of technology.

UPMC’s funding for the projects, through its UPMC Enterprises initiative, is expected to total more than $3 million over the next six months, as commercialization of new products is further explored. On tap are research efforts to develop technologies to reduce patient falls, prevent and monitor pressure ulcers, improve the accuracy of cancer diagnoses and provide personalized treatment recommendations.

Funding will flow to University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University researchers who will be investigating the IT-based approaches.

UPMC Presbyterian  Hospital
UPMC Presbyterian Hospital

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

The Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance was formed in March 2015 as a collaboration among UPMC, the University of Pittsburgh and CMU. It will focus on building new companies that create data-intensive software and services.

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

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

The funded CCA projects include:

  • MEDivate, a patient-centered smartphone application that enables patients to update and share medication lists.
  • The Tumor-specific Identification System, software that will provide personalized genomic information to cancer clinicians about the genetic drivers of an individual patient’s tumors.
  • Fall Sentinel, an automated system that will make it possible for clinical pharmacists to monitor patients for drug-drug interactions that might lead to falls.
  • PUMP, a solution aimed at reducing hospital-acquired pressure ulcers incorporating wearable devices and hospital bed sensors.
  • ComPACD, or Computational Pathology for Accurate Cancer Diagnosis, which is software that will aid pathologists in delivering more accurate diagnoses from complex tumor images.

With UPMC’s vast resources and world-class clinical expertise, the leaders of these projects will further develop their ideas and examine their broader market potential. Based on those results, UPMC Enterprises may provide additional funding and development help as it seeks to create a thriving ecosystem of innovative health care companies in western Pennsylvania.

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