WPI Establishes Healthcare Delivery Institute to Improve Patient Care

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Research includes development of mobile smart applications to engage patients, improve efficiency

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has established the Healthcare Delivery Institute, (HDI), bringing together top faculty and students in engineering, science, and business with the aim to solve one of the nation’s toughest problems–delivering high-quality healthcare for a growing, aging population.

HDI’s areas of expertise include developing mobile and wireless smart applications to support patient care, studying the adoption and impact of health information technology (HIT) systems, modeling and redesigning the way healthcare is delivered, and mining the digital data now generated and archived by systems to identify opportunities to improve patient care and clinical operations. Working closely with the University of Massachusetts Medical School and other clinical providers, the HDI team engages in practical, collaborative, research projects and thought leadership with industry, healthcare providers and insurers, government, and other academic organizations.

HDI, which has its roots in a research center established in 2009 by four WPI faculty members, has approximately $4 million in current funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Veterans Administration (VA) New England Healthcare System. Last fall, the NSF awarded WPI $1.2 million to develop a smart phone application to help people with advanced diabetes and foot ulcers to better manage their disease. HDI faculty will work on the four-year project in collaboration with diabetes and wound care specialists at UMass Medical School.

Vera Tice was appointed managing director of HDI. She will lead the effort to establish and grow the Institute, expanding partnerships with healthcare technology companies and clinical providers.

“WPI’s added value is our expertise in applying a systems and process lens to healthcare,” said Tice. “We see a tremendous opportunity for improvement by developing technology-based solutions that engage patients in care delivery, as well as with applying process modeling and redesign and data analytics. Our goal with HDI is to grow our partnerships with healthcare device and technology companies and additional clinical providers to tap these growth areas to improve healthcare delivery while lowering costs.”

Tice is a chief strategist, business, and R&D engineering executive whose career has been focused in the healthcare, medical device, and mobile telecommunications industries. She is an expert in research and development of new technology-based systems, products, and services to innovate and improve healthcare across the continuum of care. Prior to joining WPI, Tice held several executive-level positions at healthcare technology companies and led her own consulting company. She has also held senior business and engineering leadership positions at Nokia and Hewlett-Packard's Medical Products Group, now Philips Healthcare.

About Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1865 in Worcester, Mass., WPI was one of the nation's first engineering and technology universities. Its 14 academic departments offer more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science, engineering, technology, business, the social sciences, and the humanities and arts, leading to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. WPI's talented faculty work with students on interdisciplinary research that seeks solutions to important and socially relevant problems in fields as diverse as the life sciences and bioengineering, energy, information security, materials processing, and robotics. Students also have the opportunity to make a difference to communities and organizations around the world through the university's innovative Global Perspective Program. There are more than 25 WPI project centers throughout North America and Central America, Africa, Australia, Asia, and Europe.

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Martin Luttrell
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