UPMC, a big regional healthcare system based in Pittsburgh, will spend $2 billion on an aggressive expansion plan that aims to turn UPMC into what CEO Jeffrey Romoff calls the “Amazon of healthcare.”

UPMC, a big regional healthcare system based in Pittsburgh, will spend $2 billion on an aggressive expansion plan that aims to turn UPMC into what CEO Jeffrey Romoff calls the “Amazon of healthcare.”

Details on the digital healthcare capabilities are still forthcoming, but UPMC, No. 2 in the Internet Health Management 2017 Digital Hospital 500, will spend $2 billion to build three new specialty hospitals: UPMC Heart and Transplant Hospital, UPMC Hillman Cancer Hospital and UPMC Vision and Rehabilitation Hospital.

“Working in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, we will radically change healthcare as we know it to provide personalized, effective and compassionate care,” Romoff  says. “At core, these digitally based specialty hospitals are the expression of our cutting-edge translational science creating treatments and cures for the most devastating diseases.”

Microsoft will collaborate with UPMC in designing these ‘digital hospitals of the future.’”

UPMC will work with Microsoft Corp. on the new digital healthcare platforms, although UPMC revealed none of the major implementation details in the Friday morning announcement. “We are also pleased to announce that Microsoft will collaborate with UPMC in designing these ‘digital hospitals of the future.’” Romoff says. “Building on our existing research collaboration with Microsoft and its Azure cloud platform, we will apply technology in ways that will transform what today is often a disjointed and needlessly complex experience for patients and clinicians.”

The new hospitals will be situated on the campuses of UPMC’s Mercy, Presbyterian and Shadyside hospitals, the health system says. Designs for the UPMC Heart and Transplant Hospital and the UPMC Hillman Cancer Hospital will be selected in an international design competition. The layout and construction of the three specialty hospitals includes no new beds but instead emphasize using new and emerging digital and data technology “to transform and advance” other UPMC hospitals focused on areas such as cancer care and physical and neurological rehabilitation.

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“Amazon has transformed retailing, offering consumers a far better experience, greater choices, more efficiencies,” Romoff says. “UPMC wants to transform healthcare with patient-centered, science-based, cost-effective care.”

UPMC continues to make digital healthcare a priority. UPMC, which includes 60,000 employees, over 20 hospitals with more than 5,000 licensed beds and 500 outpatient sites and doctors’ offices, in June hired Dr. Robert Bart as chief medical information officer for the health services division. Prior to joining UPMC, Bart worked as chief medical information officer for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. He is considered to be UPMC’s head of digital healthcare.

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