Center For Future Health Aims To Bring High-Tech, Low-Cost Health Care To The Home

d computer engineering, chemistry, psychiatry, community and preventive medicine, and others. The center also includes anthropologists and faculty from departments like religion and classics, to help analyze the social implications of the center's research. There is a host of factors to spur creation of such a center at the University, organizers say. Both the medical and engineering schools are highly ranked, and the campuses are right across the street, making collaboration convenient. Its researchers have already formed alliances with interested engineers at other universities. And the University has expertise in licensing its technology, regularly ranking among the top 25 universities nationwide in patent royalties.

Several companies have expressed interest in the center, which is currently pursuing funding from large agencies like the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, as well as private foundations. Most of the projects build on research currently being done and funded through grants to individual investigators. As projects progress they will be tested and demonstrated in a "medically smart home" before commercialization.

While it's tempting to think of the center as just another medical research center, its focus will not be on "big medicine," says Alice Pentland.

"Medicine is about treating disease. This center is about maintaining health," she says. "Currently medicine is centered around big machines in doctors' offices or in hospitals, and it's not friendly for consumers to access. Your quality of life degrades before expensive technology is brought to bear on the illness, and information about your health is dispersed among many different providers. And the physician is in control. We have a new vision of medicine, where people can assess their health in their own home, and consumers have more control over their own health." Last year more than $25 billion was spent by people on out-of-p

Contact: Tom Rickey
University of Rochester

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