PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The heads of Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, and UPMC unveiled the Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance on Monday morning.

The Alliance is a collaboration designed to transform the world’s use of medical technology by patients and health professionals.

“My colleagues at UPMC will now kill me for saying this,” UPMC CEO Jeffrey Romoff said in response to a question from KDKA money editor Jon Delano.

“We will be thinking about doctor-less health care. That’s a radical statement. I don’t mean it quite the way I say it, but I want to give you the sense of how dramatic this is,” added Romoff.

Romoff says the future involves dramatic change for all.

“The majority of health care that everybody receives will be accessible on their handheld devices,” he added.

Using applications on smartphones in life-saving ways will be developed by teams at Pitt and CMU.

“If a patient has an organ transplant that’s about to fail, is there a way for the doctor to get advance notice, perhaps through the device?” asked Dr. Subra Suresh, president of CMU.

Smartphones have already taken baby steps in this direction, as Mayor Bill Peduto joked, looking at his phone.

“835 steps. It’s been a very slow day. I can get my heart rate,” he said.

So, instead of googling generic health questions for generic answers, it becomes personal.

“The technological goal here is that you can ask questions about health to the cloud, to a search engine, to your smartphone and expect a very sensible useful answer back,” said Dr. Andrew Moore, the dean of Computer Science at CMU.

Whenever you talk about the collection of big data, especially personal medical information, it’s no wonder a lot of people will worry about privacy.

But this Data Alliance says, don’t worry. Technology may strengthen HIPAA privacy laws.

“What we will be able to do as we work with the Alliance is bring to bear also some of the policy and technical expertise at Pitt and CMU to build a data platform that is even more secure,” said Dr. Patrick Gallagher, Pitt’s chancellor.

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