- Associated Press - Monday, March 16, 2015

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center plans to partner with Pitt and Carnegie Mellon University to collect and analyze patient health care data and, hopefully, use that information to create ways to better treat some illnesses.

The Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance was announced Monday in hopes it could help doctors and hospitals rapidly detect outbreaks of various illnesses, or even develop smartphone applications that could be used to improve or manage the health of a person based on their own physical, health or genetic characteristics.

The project will create an “innovative ecosystem” for health data in the Pittsburgh region, said Jeffrey Romoff, chief executive officer for UPMC, western Pennsylvania’s dominant hospital network.

The alliance will be funded by UPMC, but the data mining and other work will be done by Pitt’s Center for Commercial Applications of Healthcare Data and CMU’s Center for Machine Learning and Health.

“We are unlocking the potential of data to tackle some of our nation’s biggest challenges: Raising the quality and reducing the cost of health care,” Romoff said.

UPMC Enterprises, the commercial arm of the hospital network, will be used to sell any applications or uses for the data developed by the universities, the two largest in the city.

“The knowledge created here will result in the spin-off of many new companies and thousands of new jobs over the next decade,” Pitt chancellor Patrick Gallagher said.

CMU president Subra Suresh said the collaboration will “further accelerate the development of evidence-based medicine, and augment disease-centered models with patient-centered models of care.”

“The centers will work to transform the explosion of health-related data into new technologies, products and services to change the way diseases are prevented and how patients are diagnosed, treated and engaged in their own care,” the group said in a joint statement.

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