UPMC has invested $800M in digital health, entrepreneurial efforts for a $1.5B return

UPMC has invested millions in its digital health and entrepreneurial efforts through UPMC Enterprises since inception, according to the health system's first quarter earnings report.

UPMC Enterprises manages a portfolio for the health system that includes product development initiatives as well as several operating companies with commercially available products and services developed to improve healthcare delivery. The enterprise focuses on digital solutions in healthcare as well as making strategic partnerships with industry members, and it sponsors translational basic science research into the clinical setting.

Since its inception in 2014, UPMC has invested more than $800 million in UPMC Enterprises, mostly focused on digital health solutions, and reported more than $1.5 billion in return. In January, the enterprise said it would deploy $1 billion to develop new drugs, diagnostics and devices over the next four years. It committed $200 million to immunotherapy-focused research and has since expanded its efforts to include respiratory disease, autoimmune disease and neuroinflammation.

The UPMC Enterprises translational sciences team includes 20-plus investment professionals working on its projects, which the health system hopes will improve healthcare delivery as well as generate new revenue streams. Its portfolio includes Health Catalyst, Evolent Health, Xealth and Abridge, a new app developed by physicians and patients at the system to promote communication between patients and caregivers after the patient returns home from the hospital.

During the pandemic, UPMC Enterprises devoted its blog to providing information about COVID-19. The health system also launched efforts to use artificial intelligence to identify the best therapy for COVID-19 patients. During a March interview with Becker's, UPMC Enterprises President Tal Heppenstall reiterated the importance of continued investment in technology and innovation during the pandemic.

"The pace of innovation at UPMC around digital solutions and telemedicine to improve the patient experience remains swift," Mr. Heppenstall said. "There is research happening at Pitt to help us care for our patients that is moving much faster than it did three weeks ago. Some of our research and developments have allowed us to develop our own coronavirus tests that we can provide to patients. We are also working on several different ways to prevent or provide a vaccine to help solve this problem. I think innovation is really driven by need, and the need created by the coronavirus pandemic will drive innovative solutions that can move quickly and be distributed around the world."

During the pandemic, the health system has boosted telemedicine efforts and invested in technology to accelerate the work from home infrastructure.

More articles on health IT:
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WVU Medicine digital platform can detect COVID-19 symptoms 3 days in advance
Cincinnati Children's allocates $450K for AI, telehealth & other COVID-19 research projects

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