Taking the next step as a national thought leader in digital health innovation among university-based medical centers, the USC Center for Body Computing (CBC) announced the first Digital Health Fellowship in the U.S. The inaugural 12-month fellowship will provide exposure, training and research opportunities in digital health patient education, diagnosis and therapy that are under development and study at the USC CBC, the digital health technologies incubator of Keck Medicine of USC.

The first fellow, Andrew Keibel, MD, a recent graduate of the Keck School of Medicine of USC’s internal medicine residency program, was chosen from among more than a dozen residents. The one-year fellowship began July 1, supported through a grant from Doctor Evidence, a leading evidence-based medicine company and one of eight foundational partners in the USC CBC Virtual Care Clinic, a first-of-its-kind digital health platform developed at the CBC.

“For the last 12 years, we’ve led the country’s top university-based research and strategic development partnerships for digital health, wearable tech and medical apps so creating a fellowship specifically for digital health was a natural next step,” said Leslie Saxon, MD, founder and executive director of the USC CBC and the fellowship supervisor. “Andrew exhibited the creativity and enthusiasm about digital tools as the future of patient empowerment and physician efficiency so we’re thrilled he will be our first fellow to help shape this program for the future.”

The USC CBC has developed and conducted private-public programs to synthesize technology, business, engineering, entertainment, design and medicine into new health care delivery paradigms that will innovatively enhance quality of life. USC CBC has partnered with leading influencers in various industries including: AliveCor, Apple, BMW, Boston Scientific, Karten Design, IMS Health, Medable, Medtronic, NFL, Proteus Digital Health, Sanofi, VSP Global and others.

Keibel will focus on digital health tools for chronic disease management, social media for biometric data collection, and research in body worn and implantable sensors for optimization of elite athletic and military warfighter performance, resiliency and prevention. Many of the fellowship research and clinical care programs will require working with external partners and assembling the multidisciplinary expertise unique to USC including: USC Institute for Creative Technologies, USC Viterbi School of Engineering, USC Cinematic Arts, USC Stevens Center for Innovation and the international physician scientist experts at Keck Medicine of USC.

“We’re in an era of increased focus on value-based delivery and preventive care as well as the consumerization of health care,” said Rohit Varma, MD, MPH, interim dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC and director of the USC Roski Eye Institute, one of the first clinical service lines to integrate the Virtual Care Clinic concept. “The thought leadership work of Dr. Saxon and the CBC in digital health is fertile training ground for the next generation of doctors. We’re proud to be the first university-based medical center to offer this type of fellowship.”

“By providing the funding for the Digital Health Fellowship at USC, we underscore our commitment to ensuring the most current, relevant and trustworthy data is readily available to doctors and patients when making important health care decisions,” said Robert Battista, MBA, co-founder and chief executive officer of Doctor Evidence.

An important aspect of the fellowship will be training in specific data analytic tools and techniques required when performing digital research in compliance with current privacy and FDA regulations specific to digital health and mobile solutions. Saxon participates on an FDA panel shaping the evolving regulations around medical apps and medically based digital health solutions.

Learn more about the USC Center for Body Computing at: uscbodycomputing.org

— Sherri Snelling