New Johns Hopkins center to focus on broad use of health IT tools

Johns Hopkins University is creating a new center to help public health agencies and accountable provider or payer groups better take advantage of health IT technologies.

The Johns Hopkins Center for Population Health IT, or CPHIT, is intended to broaden the focus of health IT systems including electronic health records and e-health beyond clinicians treating individual patients, says Jonathan Weiner, director of the new center. The idea is to "harness these health IT systems to create solutions for the many population health issues facing our nation," he says in a July 11 announcement.

The center also is forming alliances with private companies, starting with DST Health Solutions LLC of Birmingham, Ala. DST and other partners helping fund the center will have access to its research and development work, including any newly developed health IT technologies, according to the announcement.

CPHIT will be based within the Bloomberg School of Public Health's Department of Health, Policy and Management. A cross-section of faculty with specialties including public health, medicine, informatics, computer science, business and systems engineering will contribute expertise.

University-based research partnerships are becoming increasingly common, including in the health IT world. Some, like the Johns Hopkins program, are trying to drive health IT research in a new direction. Others are trying to help get university-developed research to market.

For example, the William J. von Liebig Center for Entrepreneurism and Technology Advance at the University of California, San Diego's Jacobs School of Engineering announced last year it was launching a Health Care Technology Acceleration Program to help commercialize university health technologies.

Initial projects receiving gap funding included a web-based cancer radiotherapy treatment planner and a lens-free imager that converted a cell phone into a diagnostic tool.

To learn more:
- read the Johns Hopkins announcement
- read the UC San Diego announcement

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