The University of California San Francisco is preparing to launch a new Center for Digital Health Innovation (CDHI) to focus on studying and developing new technologies to handle the proliferation of data sets created by mHealth initiatives and social sharing of health data. UCSF Chief Medical Information Officer Dr. Michael Blum, a cardiologist and clinical professor of medicine, will head the new center, which will focus the innovative power of university faculty and staff towards harnessing the digital health revolution.
Patients and healthcare providers alike are adopting digital tools to collect and manage healthcare data at an increasingly rapid rate. “We recognize that optimally managing and leveraging the data generated by these resources and marrying them with next-generation data management and analytic technologies will be crucial to the mission of the institution and our future success,” Blum says. “UCSF faculty and students are among the most creative and accomplished that you can find,” he says. “Add to that the proximity to Silicon Valley, and you have the ideal environment for digital health innovation. CDHI will provide the administrative, financial, and technical resources, as well as the guidance and connections to create the public-private collaborations and partnerships needed to bring these exciting projects to market. Great ideas will no longer die on the vine.”
CDHI will spend much of its time assessing what mHealth apps, health sensors, systems, and tools have promise for helping providers make sense of a tsunami of personal health information collected by apps and devices to measure everything from heart rate to sleep cycles to sweat output. Providers hope to integrate patient-collected data into their EHR systems with the latter stages of meaningful use. “We need to learn how to assess which apps, systems, and sensors will be reliable, persistent data sources, and which will be a flash in the pan. Some of these tools will be incredibly valuable and will change the way we understand and deliver care, but most will not,” Blum says.
The Center will collaborate with partners across the university as well as in the private sector, hoping to establish an ecosystem of organizations including start-up accelerators, entrepreneurs, manufacturers, and developers. UCSF’s Office of Innovation, Technology, and Alliances will help create business agreements with partners to ensure that intellectual property and financial interests align well. “While the initial development efforts will be internal UCSF projects so that we can establish the necessary administrative infrastructure and demonstrate our technical capabilities, we expect that those initial projects will quickly expand to multicenter collaborations across the University of California and beyond,” Blum added.