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Health, Science & Tech

Highmark and CMU Look to 'Disrupt' Healthcare Industry

Highmark Inc. and its recently formed healthcare arm Allegheny Health Network are hoping Carnegie Mellon University will be able to dive into the systems’ terabytes of patient care and payment data to find industry changing breakthroughs. 

CMU’s Allen Russell will head the Disruptive Healthcare Technology Institute. He believes the healthcare industry, as a whole, has been resistant to what he calls “disruptive change,” like what the mobile phone did for communications or the personal computer did for mainframe computing.

“What like that has disrupted healthcare, that has increased accessibility, affordability and simplicity to markets all at the same time? You would scratch your head for a long time to identify even just a couple of those technologies,” Russell said.

The goal of the two-year $11 million partnership is to find and begin to implement those types of disruptive technologies and systems.

“Each of the projects was picked with speed in mind,” Russell said. “In almost all cases what the work will lead to is within at least two years we should see something substantive.”

Russell said “substantive” means more than a report. He is looking for early clinical implementation or use in the insurance setting.

“When you are doing innovation you would never expect 100 percent success, but out of seven projects at least two or three should be doing something very significant within a couple of years,” Russell said. 

The goal is to launch all seven projects in August.