HomeTechnologyVirtual RealityOptum Labs funds opening of digital health research center at Cornell

Optum Labs funds opening of digital health research center at Cornell

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Optum Labs, the research and development arm of UnitedHealth Group, and Cornell Tech have established a collaborative research center at Cornell University in New York that will focus on accurate behavioral health and advancing healthcare equity.

The move, Optum said, was spurred by recent innovations in artificial intelligence, machine learning, mobile sensing technology and virtual reality, which are creating opportunities to improve care.

Optum Labs is providing funding in 2022-’23, which will drive research in the areas of accurate behavioral health, augmented reality for aging, and equitable human and algorithmic decision-making.


The partnership will be led by Deborah Estrin, an associate dean and a Robert V. Tishman ’37 Professor at Cornell, and Dr. Tanzeem Choudhury, Senior Vice President at Optum Labs and a Roger and Joelle Burnell Professor of Integrated Health and Technology at Cornell.

They said the partnership was formed with the specific intent of transforming health outcomes and care for patients by incorporating new types of health data from wearables and IoT devices, creating new types of remote intervention and care delivery using augmented reality and virtual reality actuation technologies with computational techniques.

Estrin said the research initiative will accelerate the translation of new research into scalable tools for improving individual and societal health.

Ranju Das, CEO of Optum Labs, said that by bringing academia and research institutions together, “we are creating a collaborative environment where research results are achieved efficiently with an immediate opportunity for equitable impact.”


Despite efforts by the Justice Department to stop the merger, Optum merged successfully with Change Healthcare in October. The estimated $13 billion merger combines UnitedHealth Group, one of the largest companies in the US and the owner of the nation’s largest health insurer, and Change Healthcare, one of the nation’s largest electronic data interchange clearinghouses.

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In particular, the company has entered into a number of partnerships this year partner with Red Ventures on a new health-focused consumer joint venture, RVO Health, which includes doctor ratings through Healthgrades.

Red Ventures is a portfolio of brands that includes Healthgrades, Healthline Media, Optum Perks and Optum Store, as well as virtual coaching programs. They are all brought together in the RVO Zorg company. According to a report from Moody’s Investors Service, RVO Health will combine 120 million UHG customers and more than 50 million members with Red Ventures’ 95 million unique monthly visitors.

Also this year, Optum, parent company UnitedHealth Group, and Walmart began a 10 years of cooperation describe the companies as “comprehensive”, with the intention of leveraging their combined expertise to improve health outcomes and patient experience.

The partnership will begin in 2023 with 15 Walmart Health locations in Florida and Georgia, and will expand to new geographies over time. Ultimately, the companies expect to serve hundreds of thousands of seniors and Medicare beneficiaries in value-based plans through multiple Medicare Advantage plans.


“The Digital Health Research Hub creates closer collaborations between world-renowned health technology researchers from academia and scientists at Optum Labs,” said Choudhury. solutions.”

Twitter: @JELagasse
Email the writer: Jeff.Lagasse@himssmedia.com



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