UCSD Health to Build Patient Care ‘Mission Control Center’

Feb. 16, 2023
San Diego-based health system describes the mission control center as a hyper-connected hub to monitor patient health through integration of data streams from sensors, electronic health records, bedside monitors, imaging, wearables, and other sources

UC San Diego Health is working on developing a patient-care “mission control center” enhanced by artificial intelligence.

UCSD Health describes the future mission control center as a hyper-connected hub to monitor patient health and safety through integration of data streams from cameras, sensors, electronic health records, bedside monitors, imaging, wearables, and multiple other sources. The goal is to develop AI algorithms and models that proactively improve personalized treatment, health equity, and patient experience, person by person.

“The vision for a hospital-based, AI-enhanced mission control center will be one of the first in the U.S.,” said Christopher Longhurst, M.D., chief medical officer and chief digital officer at UC San Diego Health, in a statement. “Our goal is to be a leader in all digital health tools that can improve the delivery of health care across the continuum, from inpatient rooms to clinic spaces to home environments.”

The work is made possible by a $22 million in gifts from Joan and Irwin Jacobs, who are also funding the Jacobs Chancellor’s Endowed Chair in Digital Health Innovation. These initiatives and other plans will be shared and celebrated on May 4-5 with the Innovation in Digital Health symposium for thought leaders across the nation.

The Center for Health Innovation was founded in September 2021, with internal seed money from UC San Diego to develop and test technologies that make measurable differences in the lives of patients. After the center demonstrated multiple successes at scale, the Jacobs funded several initiatives that are scheduled over the next three to five years. The $22 million in gifts builds upon the $100 million to build Jacobs Medical Center, the 10-story, 245-bed academic medical center in La Jolla.

“The Center for Health Innovation represents a singular opportunity to redefine the way our clinicians and patients leverage the power of technology and data to improve health outcomes,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla, in a statement. “Once again, Joan and Irwin Jacobs are transforming healthcare in San Diego through their visionary generosity and kindness. We thank the Jacobs for their continued partnership in caring for our community, now and in the future.”

“Since opening, the Center for Health Innovation has extended remote tele-monitoring to more than 2,500 patients with chronic diseases to help keep them at home and out of emergency departments,” said Longhurst. “We recently implemented a novel, multi-modal AI-based sepsis prediction algorithm for all UC San Diego Health inpatients, and are in the design and development phase of implementing multiple AI programs to improve care for patients for issues that affect eye, heart, joint and digestive health.”

“Multiple mobile apps are also in development, including phone-based technologies to support student mental health and wellbeing and a personalized care navigation app for patients with cancer,” Longhurst added.

In addition to the mission control center, the Jacobs’ gifts will be used to recruit the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Chancellor’s Endowed Chair in Digital Health Innovation. This physician-scientist faculty member will strategize and lead the initiatives of the mission control center.

The Center for Health Innovation has established a formal relationship with the University Health Network’s (UHN) Techna Institute. Jointly serving UHN’s five hospitals, and affiliated with the University of Toronto, this institute has more than 15 years of experience of designing products and services that are now used in hospitals and clinics throughout Canada and in Europe. An important focus of Techna’s efforts is to ensure the safety of products and services, and to improve the user experience. UC San Diego Health and Techna Institute first collaborated on CA Notify, a smartphone-based system built on Google-Apple exposure notification technology, to help quell the SARS-CoV-2 surge.

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