News & Updates

A coalition of 29 American universities is investing in a plan to build ultra-high-speed computer networks for a project called Gig.U. With Internet service several hundred times faster than what is now commercially available, the universities hope to attract startups to their surrounding communities and make the United States Network more competitive internationally. The networks will be fast enough to download high-definition movies in less than a minute which is a considerable upgrade for schools that find themselves far from urban centers. Participating institutions include Arizona State University, Case Western Reserve University, Howard University, Duke University, the University of Michigan, the University of Washington, the University of Chicago and George Mason University. The twist? They’re not asking for any government funding.

Samuel Sia, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia University, developed a $100 mobile microfluidic chip for rapid affordable blood tests. This mini-lab is called mChip and only requires a finger-prick of blood to obtain objective lab results in 15 minutes. The ability to do rapid mobile blood tests has significant implications for care being delivered in remote locations and could improve the rate of tests being done for diseases associated with social stigma. The mChip was developed in collaboration with Claros Diagnostics, a start-up co-founded by Dr. Sia. A version of the mChip that tested for prostate cancer was approved for use in Europe back in 2010.

Another rapid test start-up, QuickCheck Health, is targeting more common ailments like urinary tract infections, strep throat and the flu. Patients read a code generated by the at-home test strip and enter that information on the company’s website to know whether they have tested positive. If so, patients can use QuickCheck to schedule an e-visit with a doctor who decides whether a prescription needs to be sent to the patient’s pharmacy. You can read more here.

John Halamka, chief information officer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), announced that he will be leaving his position at Harvard Medical School. Halamka has agreed to help in the search for his full-time successor, retaining his CIO role through the period of transition. However there’s no way around the fact that this is a major shift in the Boston HIT scene. In a letter to Richard G. Mills, Harvard Medical’s executive dean for administration, Halamka explained that he has plans to, “take on additional challenges implementing the next stages of meaningful use, healthcare reform and new healthcare information exchange initiatives at BIDMC, in Massachusetts and nationwide.”

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