Dell, UB Announce Partnership to Create Institute for Healthcare Informatics

Release Date: September 23, 2010

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Dell CEO Michael Dell was in Buffalo today to announce Dell's $15 million investment in the new UB Institute for Healthcare Informatics.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Michael Dell, president and CEO of Dell, announced today the company is making a $15 million investment in computer equipment and services to support launch of the University at Buffalo's new Institute for Healthcare Informatics.

UB and Dell made the announcement at a news conference held in the Roosevelt Building at 921 Main St., where the UB Institute for Healthcare Informatics will be located as part of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC).

Dell's investment is critical to the creation of UB's Institute for Healthcare Informatics and establishing it on the Roosevelt Building's first floor. The 15,000-square-foot space will be renovated to accommodate Dell's high-powered computers and 100 employees from UB, Dell, Buffalo-based technology company CTG, and UB Associates, the management service organization supporting the 450 physicians in the UBMD medical practice plans. The project has the potential to create approximately 115 new high-paying jobs in computer programming and data analysis, and new entry-level positions in medical records management.

Medical informatics is an emerging health care field centered on using information technology to analyze and share patient information among health care practitioners and across health care institutions. Such analysis leads to better monitoring of patient care, enhanced measures to prevent disease and identification of more-effective treatments, which leads to better patient outcomes and reduced medical costs.

Creation of the UB Institute for Healthcare Informatics will help establish UB and the Buffalo region as a major hub for medical informatics in the SUNY system, throughout New York State and beyond.

The UB institute initially will focus on sharing data among the 450 health care practitioners who participate in UBMD, said David Dunn, MD, PhD, UB vice president for health sciences. The institute's data analysis and records management resources eventually will be extended to health care practitioners -- doctors, nurses, pharmacists, etc. -- throughout the region and New York State.

"Creation of the Institute for Healthcare Informatics will enable UB to attract additional millions of dollars in research funding," said Dunn. "This funding will establish UB and Buffalo as a national leader in medical informatics, leading to better patient care and potentially producing hundreds of new jobs and new businesses in Buffalo."

For Dell, the partnership with the UB Institute for Healthcare Informatics advances the company's expansion into the health care technology sector, with a focus on data-driven medicine. Dell's partnership with UB builds on the company's fruitful relationship with the university. Installation of new Dell high-performance computing clusters in 2002 in UB's Center for Computational Research, located within UB's New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, enabled UB to nearly double computing capacity for university research.

The UB Institute for Healthcare Informatics also is supported by a $20 million "HEAL NY" grant received last week from the New York State Department of Health. Under the grant, UB, working with Sheehan Health Network, Erie County Medical Center and other local health care systems, will use informatics to study and reduce the impact of chronic diseases and addiction disorders in regional patient populations.

Launch of the UB Institute for Healthcare Informatics is part of UB's continuing expansion into downtown Buffalo under the UB 2020 strategic plan. Construction of the UB-Kaleida Health clinical care and research building is nearing completion on High Street, two blocks from the new UB institute, and UB last week broke ground for construction of a new Educational Opportunity Center building on Goodell Street in Buffalo.

The institute will have a statewide impact, as well. SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher said plans are underway for the UB Institute for Healthcare Informatics to be a leading informatics center within SUNY. SUNY's medical centers and university centers will tap into the computational strength of the UB institute for medical research and data management.

"With the generous support of Michael Dell, the UB Institute for Healthcare Informatics will put UB and SUNY on the map as pioneers of informatics education," said Zimpher. "By training students and producing research in this cutting-edge technology area, this center will help us realize SUNY's strategic goals in the areas of health care and economic development."

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said establishing Buffalo and UB as leaders in medical informatics is critical to Buffalo's future and the emergence of a new, knowledge-based economy. The mayor noted that relocating 100 employees to the Roosevelt Building, along with the potential of creating an additional 115 new jobs, is precisely the kind of development that will continue the revitalization of the Main Street border to the BNMC.

"This is truly an exciting and critically important development for the City of Buffalo, the University at Buffalo and the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus," said Mayor Brown. "Investing in the knowledge-based economy, which has been made possible through the continuing growth and success of the BNMC, is precisely what will continue job creation and new opportunities for new initiatives like the UB Institute for Healthcare Informatics. I am thrilled that Michael Dell has confirmed the viability and benefit of this venture by making such a strong commitment to its success."

Assembly Member Crystal Peoples-Stokes, who was instrumental in securing the $20 million HEAL NY grant, said the new UB Institute for Healthcare Informatics is a promising addition to the BNMC. "It will create new jobs and educational opportunities in medical records management for residents of Buffalo's East Side, including residents near Sheehan Hospital and Erie County Medical Center," she said. Erie Community College plans to expand its associate's degree program in medical informatics to feed UB and local industry, and UB's Educational Opportunity Center is offering training and education programs targeted to entry-level medical records management jobs.

Russell Bessette, MD, UB associate vice president for health sciences and principal investigator on the HEAL NY grant, will serve as executive director of the UB Institute for Healthcare Informatics. He said the new UB institute will produce a standard way for health care practitioners statewide to share data, monitor trends in patient care and access expertise from a network of health care practitioners. This will help link rural or remote health care practitioners with health care specialists who otherwise would not be accessible to rural communities.

"I am honored to serve UB in this capacity and most of all to participate in a dynamic public/private partnership that will improve the public health," Bessette said. "Combining the strength, experience and investment of Dell with the research capacity of UB, Western New York stands to benefit in job creation and economic impact."

Bessette noted that a $7 million HEAL NY grant to UBMD in 2009 laid the groundwork for the institute's electronic records system, a project also supported by major investments by CTG, and an additional $10 million from UB, UB Associates and UBMD.

Through its collaboration with UB, CTG has expanded into the medical informatics industry over the past two years and has hired more than 100 employees; this growth is expected to continue.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

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