UCSD Health to Launch Center for Health Innovation Following $22 Million Donation


Isaiah Irizarry

Following a $22 million grant from donors Joan and Irwin Jacobs, UC San Diego Health has announced the construction of a Center for Health innovation, a new expansion to the Jacobs Medical Center. The expansion is highlighted by a “mission control center” that would use artificial intelligence and monitoring technologies to track patient outcomes. 

According to UCSD Health Executive Director of Communications and Media Relations Jacqueline Carr, “the future mission control center will serve as a hyper-connected hub to monitor patient health and safety through [the] integration of data streams from cameras, sensors, electronic health records, bedside monitors, imaging, wearables, and multiple other sources.” 

The use of AI tools to help monitor patients and predict patterns of disease and treatment is an important component of the mission control center. According to UCSD Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Christopher Longhurst, “The vision for a hospital-based, AI-enhanced mission control center will be one of the first in the U.S.”

Citing a recent study co-authored by UCSD Health doctors Gabriel Wardi and Shamim Nemati, Carr provided AI-driven sepsis prediction as an example of the mission control center’s possible functions. Additionally, Longhurst added that AI technologies would eventually be expanded to address all patient concerns. 

“[UCSD Health is] in the design and development phase of implementing multiple AI programs to improve care for patients for issues that affect eye, heart, joint, and digestive health,” Longhurst said. 

In addition to funding the construction and development of the mission control center, part of the donation will also be used to appoint a director, known as Jacobs Chancellor’s Endowed Chair in Digital Health Innovation. According to Carr, “this physician-scientist faculty member will strategize and lead the initiatives of the mission control center.”

Currently, there is no timeline for the construction of the project. However, more details will be unveiled at the Innovation in Digital Health Symposium, a seminar led by UCSD Health and other health organizations, set for May 4, 2023.

Photo by Kathleen Shiroma for the UCSD Guardian