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#NowTrending: This Week’s MedTech News

Harvard Medical School launches a biomedical informatics department. Photo via Shutterstock.

Harvard Medical School launches a biomedical informatics department. Photo via Shutterstock.

We bring you this week’s healthcare and medtech trends, from Boston and beyond:

1. Two Dead in Shooting at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

On Tuesday, Dr. Michael J. Davidson, a cardiovascular surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, was shot and killed by Stephen Pasceri. Pasceri entered the building, walked up to the second floor of the hospital, asked for Davidson by name and fired two shots at the doctor before turning the gun on himself. Preliminary investigations have found that Pasceri may have been motivated by a prior issue he had with the hospital when his mother underwent heart surgery there. Davidson was described by his colleagues as a warm, friendly man and an accomplished physician. In a letter to staff members, BWH President Dr. Elizabeth Nabel wrote, “Dr. Davidson was a wonderful and inspiring bright light and an outstanding cardiac surgeon who devoted his career to saving lives and improving the quality of life of every patient he cared for. It is truly devastating that his own life was taken in this horrible manner.”

2. Obama Launches Precision Medicine Initiative

In the State of the Union address this Tuesday, Barack Obama announced a Precision Medicine Initiative. The initiative is meant to bring the U.S. into an era of personalized medicine in which drugs and therapies are targeted toward smaller groups of diseases. So instead of using the same treatment for everyone who has a certain condition, physicians will tailor treatments that for an exact pathogen or group of pathogens in a patient. Although this may seem like a pretty agreeable goal, there are some concerns about it – namely, that precision medicine can be very expensive. But proponents of the initiative say the science behind it checks out, and it only makes sense to use our expanding knowledge of genetics to improve our healthcare.

3. HMS Announces New Biomedical Informatics Department

Last week, the Dean of Harvard Medical School, Jeffrey Flier, announced the creation of a Biomedical Informatics Department. The new department has its roots in the HMS Center for Biomedical Informatics, which is where five core faculty members associated with the new department had previously worked. In a letter to the HMS community, Flier explained: “The field represents two converging communities: one involving healthcare-related data, and the other addressing the study of health and disease at a molecular and naturally occurring systems level.” The new department won’t become an official HMS Quad-based department until July, but we’re glad to see HMS increasing the role of big data in healthcare.

Brendan Pease

Brendan Pease

    Brendan Pease was MedTech Boston's first ever editorial and events intern. He is now a junior at Harvard University where he studies Molecular and Cellular Biology. He’s also the Co-Editor-in-Chief for the Harvard Science Review. Previously, he worked as a Market Intelligence intern at athenahealth and as a research assistant in the Goldberg Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital.

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