RWJBarnabas Health opens innovation center to study promising digital health tools

New Brunswick, N.J.-based Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School have opened a Center for Innovation that will focus initially on digital health and cardiovascular disease.

The center, part of West Orange, N.J.-based RWJBarnabas Health, will bring together clinicians, researchers and industry professionals from a variety of disciplines to develop new technologies, with the hope of completing clinical trials. The concept and design came from Partho Sengupta, MD, the Henry Rutgers Professor of Cardiology at the medical school and chief of cardiology at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

"It is exciting to imagine what we can create to improve the health of our communities and to change the course of the health of our vulnerable populations," hospital President and CEO Bill Arnold said in a Sept. 14 health system news release.

The digital transformation team will be led by Naveena Yanamala, PhD, the medical school's director of artificial intelligence and data science for cardiovascular disease and hypertension. Technologies in the works include earbuds that gather heart rhythm metrics, a medical vest that detects heart attack symptoms through sensors, and a mobile electrocardiogram device to replace stethoscopes.

Clinical trials are already underway to study remote cardiac ultrasound technology and wearable sensors that collect data from patients with high blood pressure or early-stage heart failure.

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