Highmark, CMU team to cut medical costs, improve care
Carnegie Mellon University may not have a medical school, but insurer Highmark Inc. is betting researchers at the school known for engineering and computer science can change health care for the better.
Highmark on Monday announced an $11 million, two-year partnership with CMU and its Allegheny Health Network hospitals that calls for researchers to mine mountains of data for ways to cut costs and improve care.
Highmark CEO Bill Winkenwerder said the Disruptive Health Technology Institute, initiated six months ago and led by Alan Russell, won't be tethered to political and academic considerations that constrain medical schools. Russell founded the University of Pittsburgh's McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
Russell, who holds an endowed chair at CMU's Institute for Complex Engineered Systems and an appointment as a professor of biomedical engineering, is a senior adviser to Highmark.
“If ever an industry was in need of disruption, it's health care,” Russell said.
More than 95 percent of new health care ideas and innovations “never reach the patient,” said Russell, because of economic, regulatory or scientific hurdles. Thus, he said, the institute will select its projects “with speed in mind.” Patients should see results of the institute's projects “within at least two years,” he said.
“Millions of people are alive today because of the impact of science and engineering on how we treat disease,” Russell said.
But University of Pennsylvania health care economist Mark Pauly questioned whether engineering can cure what ails America's health care system.
“As an economist, I'm a little skeptical of engineering solutions. I think most of our problems are bad incentives for patients, doctors and hospitals, and we haven't had the political will to change that,” Pauly said.
“There is a large number of insurers and health care managers who believe there has to be gold in their databases because they have so much data,” he said.
Debra Erdley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7996 or email@example.com. Thomas Olson is a Trib Total Media staff writer. He can be reached at 412-320-7854 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Number of jobs in high-tech industry outpace workers in Pittsburgh, nation
- Video posted online captures Wilkinsburg child’s injuries
- Rayburn man, 74, dies in Manor Township crash
- Gilpin settles lawsuit with suspended police officers
- U.S. Steel shares jump on turnaround strategy
- Armstrong ‘bitten’ by antique tractor bug
- New Kensington native competes for title of U.S. Army Europe’s best NCO
- Bayer plastics unit may be gone
- Dogs brighten day at Ford City assisted-living facility
- Monessen mayor: Bickering out, blight fight in
- United Way turns to small businesses to boost donations