Highmark Invests $11 million in Partnership with CMU

Health insurer Highmark Inc. and its affiliated hospital network will invest $11 million to further develop a laboratory meant to improve health care through science and engineering in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon University.

The Disruptive Health Technology Institute at CMU will be funded by Highmark and its Allegheny Health network, the parties announced Monday.

Disruptive technologies are those that change long-standing ways of providing medical services, such as having people with diabetes test their own blood using glucose monitors at home instead of submitting to more expensive lab work.

The lab will be led by Dr. Alan Russell, a Highmark-endowed professor at CMU’s Institute for Complex Engineered Systems who advises Highmark on ways science can make health care simpler, more affordable and more accessible.

“Disruptive innovation has brought affordability and quality products to a variety of industry sectors, but health care has not yet experienced that pioneering drive,” Russell said.

The CMU lab will use Highmark’s database of medical claims to pinpoint technologies that would improve patients’ health and drive down medical costs.

Highmark president and chief executive Dr. William Winkenwerder says partnering with CMU “will open the doors to ideas and innovations.”

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