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6/22/2010
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Mayo Clinic, University Of Illinois Announce Research Alliance

The collaboration will focus on technology-based healthcare, individualized medicine, telehealth and point-of-care clinical tools.

Mayo Clinic and the University of Illinois announced a new alliance for research into technology-based healthcare, including personalized medicine, point-of-care diagnostics, and telemedicine.

The relationship will tap into and build on work that's already well underway at each of the institutions. That includes Mayo's vast clinical expertise and biomedical, genomics and individualized medicine research and the University of Illinois' expertise in computational science, imaging, data security, and bioengineering.

The alliance is very synergistic, said Jennifer Eardley, associate vice chancellor for research at the University of Illinois in an interview with InformationWeek.

"There's not a lot of overlap, each of us brings our own capabilities" to the partnership, she said.

The joint work will likely combine new applications for healthcare based on Mayo projects with the University of Illinois expertise in data security, including data privacy and "making sure that data is accurate and not corrupted," when used for medical research, point-of-care or telehealth applications, said Eardley.

Among the collaborative efforts will be research into technologies that assists doctors with point-of-care diagnostics, individualized medicine, and remote care, said a Mayo spokesman.

Such efforts could include enabling clinicians to enter information about a patient, such as data about the person's known biomarkers, into systems that tap evidence-based research and other findings, helping doctors improve accuracy of diagnosis and decision making for medical treatments that bring the potentially best outcomes for the individual patient, said the Mayo spokesman.

"Regardless of logistics, this can bring the knowledge of an entire consulting team to a doctor without the consulting team actually being there," he said. These efforts would also tap into work underway between Mayo and IBM to "link all of Mayo's resources databases together," he said.

Meanwhile, at the University of Illinois work is also underway in collaboration with IBM and other partners to build a new petascale parallel processing computer, which also potentially brings a powerful computational platform to the joint research work with Mayo, said Eardley. That multi-million dollar Blue Waters supercomputer project is funded through the National Science Foundation.

Overall, the efforts by Mayo Clinic and University of Illinois are expected to benefit clinicians in the diagnosis and care of patients, especially as more physicians in the U.S. adopt health IT such as electronic health records.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on this year's Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference. This report offers the best healthcare IT advice, insight, and analysis coming out of that conference. Download the report here (registration required).

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