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Highmark, CMU touts expanded medical partnership

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Health insurer Highmark Inc. and Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University are extending their partnership in a lab meant to improve health care through science and engineering.

The parties have worked for six months to create the lab known as the Disruptive Health Technology Institute. Disruptive technologies are those which change long-standing ways of providing medical services, such as having diabetics test their own blood using glucose monitors at home instead of submitting to lab work.

The insurer and the school on Monday say the lab will be funded with an initial $11 million from Highmark and its affiliated hospital group, Allegheny Health Network.

The lab will be headed by Dr. Alan Russell. He's a Highmark-endowed professor at CMU's Institute for Complex Engineered Systems and advises Highmark on ways science can make health care simpler, more affordable and more accessible.