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Highmark, partners announce creation of Disruptive Health Technology Institute

By - Last modified: June 24, 2013 at 11:19 AM

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Highmark Inc., Allegheny Health Network and Carnegie Mellon University today announced the creation of the Disruptive Health Technology Institute, a multiyear initiative with an initial investment of $11 million aimed at increasing the affordability, simplicity and accessibility of health care.

“Disruptive innovation has brought affordability and quality products to a variety of industry sectors, but health care has not yet experienced that pioneering drive. Our new DHTI initiative is designed to create a framework for categorizing and developing novel disruptive technologies to improve health care by increasing availability and reducing cost,” Alan Russell said in a news release.

Russell, whom insurer Highmark describes as “a dynamic pioneer in the science of regenerating damaged or diseased human tissue,” has been appointed director of DHTI and chief innovation officer and executive vice president of Allegheny Health Network.

“This institute is built around the mission of researching and deploying new technologies to help reduce health care costs and improve outcomes for patients,” said Mark S. Kamlet, CMU provost and executive vice president. “This is a distinct partnership in that health insurance companies don’t usually invest in research. We look forward to having our CMU researchers develop and share innovative health care delivery technologies that will shape the future.”

DHTI will focus on seven key areas, including accessibility of medical diagnostics, behavior change, chronic disease management, data mining, improved endoscopy, improved diagnostic ultrasound and infection prevention. Proposals from CMU faculty to address these issues will be competitively reviewed based on the anticipated impact to a large population and the ability to provide substantial health care savings, as well as likely success in improving patient safety and quality of life.

Russell said that by using Highmark’s claims data, the group at CMU will be able to learn where current clinical practice is most inaccurate and expensive.


Heather Stauffer

Heather Stauffer

Heather Stauffer covers Lancaster County, nonprofits, education and health care. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at Follow her on Twitter, @StaufferCPBJ.



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