N+1 Institute and GE HealthCare collaborate for faster biohealth innovation and real-world education for students

N+1 Institute announces GE HealthCare as its founding member. Together, they’ll explore edge computing as a route to faster biohealth innovation within patient monitoring.

In advance of its official launch event on May 6, the N+1 Institute announces GE HealthCare, a leading global medical technology, pharmaceutical diagnostics, and digital solutions innovator with a rich Wisconsin history, as its founding member. The collaboration will explore artificial intelligence (AI) and edge computing as a means of improving precision and flexibility in patient monitoring technology.  

Part of the Department of Computer Sciences within the School of Computer, Data & Information Sciences (CDIS), the N+1 Institute’s mission is to create unique pathways for industry-university collaboration. In addition to speeding up development and adoption of innovative technology, the industry membership model also provides students with valuable hands-on learning experiences. 

The collaboration announcement comes on the heels of a huge win for the state’s biohealth industry. In October, the Biden-Harris administration formally designated Wisconsin as a Regional Tech Hub “promot[ing] innovation in personalized medicine.”  

“The collaboration between N+1 and GE HealthCare couldn’t come at a better time,” says David Ertl, executive director of the N+1 Institute. “With Wisconsin’s thriving biohealth industry and UW–Madison’s incredible wealth of resources and expertise, we’re uniquely positioned to develop solutions that improve healthcare outcomes in the state and beyond.” 

The N+1 Institute’s Executive Director David Ertl and GE HealthCare’s Chief Technology Officer for Patient Care Solutions Roshy Francis sign the agreement formalizing the collaboration.

Both UW-Madison and GE HealthCare serve as Tech Hub consortium members, alongside 18 other public and private organizations throughout the state. This collaboration between the N+1 Institute and GE HealthCare, which will pursue edge-based solutions to meet a range of patient needs, is one way that the state-wide push for innovative biohealth research comes to life. 

“Alongside the UW-Madison N+1 Institute, we’re pursuing a future in which edge computing technology in patient monitoring can support clinicians in providing real-time, critical patient care,” says GE HealthCare’s Roshy Francis, Chief Technology Officer for Patient Care Solutions. “In combination with advanced cloud technologies, edge computing has the potential to create a more connected, efficient, and intelligent digital ecosystem for the healthcare industry. We believe it can help address healthcare industry challenges and opportunities, as well as support timely decision making for more precise, personalized patient care.” 

Collaboration on the edge of transformative healthcare 

Edge computing, one of N+1’s three core research areas, is a computing model that distributes data processing and storage at the “edge” of a network rather than relying on a central server. Processing data closer to where it’s being generated improves speed, optimizes bandwidth, and increases reliability crucial factors in patient monitoring. With their combined efforts, GE HealthCare and the N+1 Institute set their sights on edge technology that will save time, omit guesswork, and even help save lives. 

“Due to its widespread impact and relevance to any sector that relies on data and computing, edge is a critical area for UW-Madison researchers,” says Suman Banerjee, a professor of Computer Sciences and Electrical & Computer Engineering and a member of N+1’s leadership team. “It’s particularly advantageous with time-sensitive data, which makes it so valuable for healthcare providers.”  

For doctors, real-time health monitoring means faster intervention when patient health begins to decline. This kind of use-inspired research will be central to how N+1 works with its other industry members. “In the coming years, N+1’s core research areas of edge, AI, and web3 will be hugely influential across most industries,” says CDIS Director of Corporate Relations Justin Hines. “Through collaboration, industry members have a chance to fundamentally advance the implementation of core technologies that directly impact business.”  

Yet it’s not just about industry outcomes. With the work being conducted at one of the country’s leading research universities, leaders from both N+1 and GE HealthCare are eager to involve another key group: students. 

Industry collaboration creates richer academic experiences 

As a founding member of the N+1 Institute, GE HealthCare plans to work closely with the UW-Madison team, mentor students during capstone and research projects, guide and leverage applied post-graduate research, and collaborate on course materials. The company will also provide patient monitoring technology, like Portrait™ Mobile, a wireless and wearable continuous monitoring solution that provides a real-time personalized view of the patient, to support coursework and research projects. For students, the arrangement offers a valuable real-world education. 

“By working with industry members like GE HealthCare, students won’t just develop practical skills from projects and coursework they will begin to understand the real-world implications of their education,” says N+1’s Kassem Fawaz, an associate professor in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering and affiliate in the Computer Sciences Department.  

In this case, it’s potentially life-saving technology. “GE HealthCare is supporting the growth of N+1 by providing students with learning opportunities and collaborating with faculty on use-inspired research. The result is an environment of educational and research excellence.” 

The collaboration will also prepare a trained workforce capable of supporting the Biohealth Tech Hub that Wisconsin legislators, University leaders, and industry members worked so hard to establish.  

To learn more about the N+1 Institute and membership options, register for the N+1 Institute Launch Event or contact Director of Corporate Relations Justin Hines.