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HTEC in the News

COVID-19 Innovations

Leading novel technological solutions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Health technology
exploration center

Building and shaping scalable technologies to transform the medical landscape and make health care more accessible

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HTEC in the News

These Apps Say You May Have a Health Disorder. What if They’re Wrong?

New York Times: Health tracking apps that collect and chart health data are moving from simply quantifying consumers’ health data to medicalizing it

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HTEC in the News

Amazon Alexa is now HIPAA-compliant

STAT: Amazon announced Alexa technology now has the ability to securely transmit private patient information

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HTEC in the News

Too many mental health apps make empty promises

Elemental: John Torous, M.D., cautions that while mental health apps can be helpful as supplemental treatment, more independent research is needed to test their effectiveness

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Bringing Health Care Innovation to the World

Health Technology Exploration at Bidmc

Building on a long history of advancing the integration and creative application of health care and information technology (IT), Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) has recently launched the Health Technology Exploration Center (HTEC), a novel entity focused exclusively on bringing BIDMC’s technological prowess to the rest of the world.

Doctors talking in operating room
Doctors talking in operating room
Doctors talking in operating room

This prestigious center, the first of its kind at a Harvard teaching hospital, will extend the medical center’s international reach through formalized affiliations and technological advances that will be used to transform the medical landscape, making care more efficient, accessible, and integrated. HTEC experts will rapidly evaluate and develop emerging high-risk, high-reward technologies to bring innovation to BIDMC and disseminate advances to HTEC partners around the country and across the globe.

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To build and shape scalable technologies that transform the medical landscape making health care more accessible, efficient, and integrated to improve lives and cure disease everywhere.

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HTEC is a community of world-class clinicians and IT professionals working together to define the future of medicine. Driven by collaboration, creativity, and passion, we are developing technological solutions for the world’s most urgent health care challenges.

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Global Impact

  • Patient Engagement
  • Continuum of Care
  • Quality of Care
  • Precision Medicine
  • Access to Care
  • Patient Privacy

BILH COVID-19 Innovations

HTEC has been leading novel technological solutions in response to the rapidly evolving needs of patients, staff, and providers across Beth Israel Lahey Health (BILH) during the COVID-19 pandemic. By harnessing talent and ideas across the system, HTEC has developed and deployed innovations designed to make care as safe and efficient as possible during a time that has challenged providers, patients, and families like never before.

  • Developed electronic forms and SMS chatbots to remotely monitor employees for COVID-19 symptoms. Covering all 30,000+ BILH employees, this daily symptom monitoring tool sends automated SMS (texting) communication to all BILH employees so they can easily and quickly report whether they have COVID-19 symptoms. The innovation continues to facilitate around 26,000 interactions each day. Individual data is securely sent to Employee Health, which has protocols in place for employees who report symptoms. HTEC has shared this self-attestation software with Tufts Medical School, Gordon College, and Babson College, and the tool has been rolled out at the Dimock Center.
  • Implemented a new texting solution to allow Ob/Gyn patients to report safety or domestic violence concerns. This tool provides a safe, accessible way for this vulnerable population to communicate concerns while enabling care providers to direct resources to those who need them.
  • Created a touch-free “Scratch Pad” voice app to allow rounding and ambulatory physicians to dictate quick notes and reminders that they can access later via the Electronic Medical Record when they can safely use a keyboard. The app ensures providers can track important actions for patients more safely, while tending to infected patients and while wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • iPads have been wall-mounted in patient rooms in the Emergency Department (ED) red zone and Clinical Decision Unit (CDU), creating a safe and immediate video link for ED physicians to communicate with patients already in a bay, saving critical time to respond to emergencies, while donning PPE.
  • A new communication robot is working in the ED red zone and CDU to facilitate communication between physicians and patients without manual intervention. This technology allows physicians to reduce exposure as they safely triage patients before admission to the ED while reducing the use of PPE.
  • The ED has developed a multi-view telemedicine solution similar to security camera video display systems that allows physicians and other providers to communicate with patients in ED rooms via one-touch video connections.
  • The team is also exploring home monitoring devices and digital platforms:
    • Oximeters are going home with patients who are using new electronic forms to report their oxygen level data, allowing easy monitoring of this important COVID-19 symptom.
    • To facilitate hundreds of tele-visits and to support the Our Notes initiative, we are developing simple, patient-facing electronic forms to capture pre-visit and home monitoring information. This tool removes the need to complete such paperwork that patients would normally complete physically for in-person visits. We are adding additional electronic forms to further reduce the need for paper forms.

A Foundation of Excellence

BIDMC’s leadership and expertise in health care technology

With an unrivaled reputation for excellence in making patient care more technologically sophisticated, BIDMC is uniquely positioned to play a vital role in the future development of health care delivery systems and in the acceleration of introducing innovation to intractable challenges in health care, both in the U.S. and around the globe.

BIDMC was among the first hospitals in the world to concentrate on the use of computers for patient care, teaching, and medical research, launching the nation’s first online patient portal and one of the first hospital-based electronic health record systems. Today, the medical center’s wide range of core competencies, IT leadership, ability to attract top clinical and research talent, and established infrastructure enables us to continue to advance our vision of providing more efficient and effective care to patients everywhere.

Technology Talents

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BIDMC was the top-ranked health care information company in the nation in InfoWeek 500, a list of the top technology innovators in the U.S.

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BIDMC incorporated the first electronic lab system for hospitals in 1977

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BIDMC was named “Most Wireless” and “A Prestigious Innovator” by the American Hospital Association

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BIDMC was the first hospital to use iPads for clinical care

Taking the Lead: Manu Tandon

Chief Information Officer, Beth Israel Lahey Health and Executive Director, Health Technology Exploration Center

Manu Tandon sitting in office

Manu Tandon is the chief information officer (CIO) of Beth Israel Lahey Health (BILH), and the executive director of the Health Technology Exploration Center (HTEC).

Mr. Tandon received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University, in India. He also earned a master’s degree in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School and a master’s degree in business administration from Boston University. Prior to joining BIDMC, Mr. Tandon served as the secretariat CIO for Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, where he led the state’s largest information technology (IT) public portfolio. Mr. Tandon was intrinsic in the development of Massachusetts’s first statewide health information exchange, known as “Mass HIWay,” which has now completed more than 300 million health care transactions since its inception.

At BIDMC, Mr. Tandon oversaw the entire IT infrastructure and operations for BIDMC. As CIO, he brought the medical center to the forefront of IT innovation. He directs and manages BIDMC’s Health Technology Exploration Center (HTEC), which works to adopt innovative analytics, mobile, cloud, artificial intelligence, and machine learning solutions. Mr. Tandon and his team developed the first BIDMC mobile app store, delivering several mobile applications to improve the value and experience of providers and patients. He also developed the first machine learning solution at BIDMC to improve surgical and operational workflow and the first ambient sounds application (for Amazon Alexa) and patient locator services, the first to use Beacons to help support the workflow of Breast Cancer Patients, soon to be launched at BIDMC to enhance the patient experience. In addition, Mr. Tandon established the first hybrid cloud model at BIDMC, a substantial project that included migrating seven petabytes of patient data to Amazon Web Services.

Mr. Tandon has been recognized by Computerworld magazine as one of the top 100 CIOs in the World and by New England Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society as “The CIO of the Year” for 2014. He is also a frequent speaker at national and state level conferences.

HTEC in Action

Driving Health Care Technology Forward

HTEC is a flexible, independent entity at BIDMC focused on evaluating and optimizing disruptive technologies, fostering relationships with partners abroad, and enhancing our telemedicine offerings to solve real-world problems and share solutions globally.

Business woman inspecting computer banks
Business woman inspecting computer banks
Business woman inspecting computer banks

The HTEC mission is to cultivate technology-driven partnerships across the globe; maximize seamless communication between BIDMC providers and patients around the world; and rapidly evaluate, develop, and disseminate a series of high- risk, high-reward innovations to solve real-world problems. The scalable technologies established and identified by HTEC will ultimately be shared with its global partners to enhance health care efficiency, quality, and safety—to improve lives and cure disease around the world.

Lab workers in control room
Lab workers in control room
Lab workers in control room

Exploring Novel Technologies and Platforms

Modeled after sandbox start-up incubators, HTEC disseminates innovation at a fast pace. HTEC’s primary focus is on exploring new technologies, assessing which ones are scalable, and then sharing successful platforms with the rest of the world. Technologies will be tested in house with BIDMC’s proprietary, one-of-a-kind dynamic database of de-identified patient data that is HIPAA-compliant and mitigates compliance issues for rapid testing.

HTEC will allow us to use and expand on these novel technologies and platforms to solve real-world problems affecting the health care industry and medical community. For instance, we will explore:

  • Engaging and empowering patients to manage their own health using mobile applications
  • Optimizing medical decision making with dashboards and analytics
  • Improving patient education and care through conversational interfaces (natural language)
  • Enhancing patientclinician communication using new devices and programs

Technology Topics

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Blockchain the world’s leading software platform for digital assets, which serves as an open ledger that can record transactions efficiently, permanently, and securely

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Internet of Things (IOT) which includes network-connected devices, vehicles, and home appliances embedded with electronics, software, and sensors that enable them to exchange data; examples of IoT are Amazon Echo (and its voice assistant, Alexa), Google Home, the Apple Watch, and the Fitbit

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Machine Learning an emerging field of computer science that gives computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed, through algorithms and patterns; examples of machine learning in real life are web searches, speech recognition software, and driverless cars

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Telemedicine the use of telecommunications and IT to provide clinical care from a distance, will enable us to serve patients locally, nationally, and globally.

Supporting HTEC’s Visionary Work

Worldwide momentum for health care reform and redesign has made the time ripe to build and expand upon BIDMC’s unique assets in clinical information technology.

Medical workers meeting
Medical workers meeting
Medical workers meeting

With your generous philanthropic support, our recently launched HTEC would make investments in faculty, staff, and infrastructure to take our pioneering work in this field to the next level and to build our capacity for partnerships with organizations, both nationally and internationally, that are seeking to advance the care of their patients with powerful emerging technologies. HTEC would also generate leading-edge research to usher health care into an exciting new era of technological and systemic transformation, and provide training opportunities to extend our unique expertise to other parts of the world. Together, we can play a leadership role in defining what health care can—and should—be and ensure that more patients have access to a standard of excellence in health care.

Support HTEC today or contact Rhea Brubaker at for more information.