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Regents approve Center for Intelligent Health Care

Image with caption: John Windle, M.D., Holland Distinguished Chair of Cardiovascular Science and newly appointed director of the UNMC Center for Intelligent Health Care

John Windle, M.D., Holland Distinguished Chair of Cardiovascular Science and newly appointed director of the UNMC Center for Intelligent Health Care

The U.S. health care system is complex, expensive and often inefficient. There is an explosion of new information, thanks to recent discoveries and technological advances, but the rate of change and sheer amount of data make it hard to keep up. Meanwhile, the electronic health record, while a needed innovation, has sometimes led to clinician burnout and escalating costs.

"Health care suffers because computers don't talk to one another," said John Windle, M.D., Holland Distinguished Chair of Cardiovascular Science at UNMC. Dr. Windle also is newly appointed director of the UNMC Center for Intelligent Health Care, which aims to remedy this problem, and those above.

The establishment of this new center was approved Friday by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents.

The center, housed and centered administratively at UNMC, but extending also to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nebraska at Omaha and University of Nebraska at Kearney, will focus on artificial intelligence (AI), big data and precision in medicine.

"The vision of the UNMC Center for Intelligent Health Care is to bring technology to the health care team, optimizing the synergy among clinician, patient and computer," said UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D. "The leadership of this center of excellence has a unique vision and the experience to make a difference as we move beyond antiquated concepts into a new era of health and caring."

How? In the case of the UNMC Center for Intelligent Health Care, precision medicine means the delivery of the right information at the right time and in the right format to clinicians.

"Linking human cognition and artificial intelligence with good data, and the right algorithms and analytics will help us achieve that precision," Dr. Windle said.

"UNMC is in a unique position," said Dele Davies, M.D., senior vice chancellor for academic affairs. "We have access to world-class faculty in clinical informatics. We have a strong, supportive clinical partner with Nebraska Medicine. We have strong collaboration with our academic partners at UNO, UNL and UNK to bring in the best techniques of algorithms and analytics in artificial intelligence, and we have the Interprofessional Experiential Center for Enduring Learning (iEXCEL) as a research and development partner for optimizing human and computer cognition."

The center will strive to attract and retain the best students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), as well as students in health care with an interest in clinical informatics and artificial intelligence. It is expected to serve as an economic driver for the state of Nebraska through the creation of new businesses that spin off from the center.

The offices of the chancellor and dean of the College of Medicine have pledged support for the initial start-up of $500,000 per year for the first three years.

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