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5/14/2014
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Alison Diana
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Healthcare Dives Into Big Data

Healthcare organizations hope big data and analytics projects can help reduce costs and improve care. Consider these innovative examples.
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University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and UPMC Insurance PlanSeveral years ago -- before analytics became a buzzword among healthcare organizations -- UPMC Health Plan wrote its own software application to analyze its vast database comprising information pulled from multiple, disparate sources. This database, which currently holds 6.3 terabytes of data, includes electronic clinical notes, claims data, patient demographics, individuals, self-reported health assessments, pharmacy data, household data, and more.

As the chief analytics officer of UPMC Insurance Services Division and VP of health economics at UPMC Health Plan, Dr. Pamela Peele and her team use the homegrown software to perform analytics and predictive models to forecast patient behavior and provide preventive care. The big-data-based analytics also allows the organization to evaluate itself, creating best-practices and scaling the most efficient and effective programs. 

'We use multiple technologies and techniques, including data visualization software that provides a view of highly complex and large datasets revealing underlying and previously unknown patterns and interactions between patients and providers,' says Dr. Peele. 'We're seeing real progress predicting patient behavior and providing preventative care.' 

For example, the two organizations have modeled the future impact of the flu season on members; figured out which members who require high use of medical services will continue to do so in the future; predicted who will need emergency care; and determined the probability of readmission before it occurs, Peele told InformationWeek. As a result, patient care improved, the healthcare provider manages resources appropriately, and both organizations operate more cost effectively. 
In the future, other organizations might be able to benefit: UPMC is very aggressive about marketing the technology systems it develops for in-house use to other healthcare providers and insurers. The company has the philosophy that if UPMC has to develop software to meet its needs, then there's an unmet need in the market that UPMC should fill by commercializing its in-house software.

UPMC Tower (Source: UPMC)

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and UPMC Insurance Plan
Several years ago -- before analytics became a buzzword among healthcare organizations -- UPMC Health Plan wrote its own software application to analyze its vast database comprising information pulled from multiple, disparate sources. This database, which currently holds 6.3 terabytes of data, includes electronic clinical notes, claims data, patient demographics, individuals, self-reported health assessments, pharmacy data, household data, and more.

As the chief analytics officer of UPMC Insurance Services Division and VP of health economics at UPMC Health Plan, Dr. Pamela Peele and her team use the homegrown software to perform analytics and predictive models to forecast patient behavior and provide preventive care. The big-data-based analytics also allows the organization to evaluate itself, creating best-practices and scaling the most efficient and effective programs.

"We use multiple technologies and techniques, including data visualization software that provides a view of highly complex and large datasets revealing underlying and previously unknown patterns and interactions between patients and providers," says Dr. Peele. "We're seeing real progress predicting patient behavior and providing preventative care."

For example, the two organizations have modeled the future impact of the flu season on members; figured out which members who require high use of medical services will continue to do so in the future; predicted who will need emergency care; and determined the probability of readmission before it occurs, Peele told InformationWeek. As a result, patient care improved, the healthcare provider manages resources appropriately, and both organizations operate more cost effectively.

In the future, other organizations might be able to benefit: UPMC is very aggressive about marketing the technology systems it develops for in-house use to other healthcare providers and insurers. The company has the philosophy that if UPMC has to develop software to meet its needs, then there's an unmet need in the market that UPMC should fill by commercializing its in-house software.

UPMC Tower
(Source: UPMC)

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anon3926317251
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anon3926317251,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/6/2014 | 2:54:22 PM
Re: Due North Analytics
You are so correct, the industry is definitely growing and there is a serious need. Hopefully more people start to understand and implement our software so they can help improve the healthcare industry. 
eyu906
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eyu906,
User Rank: Strategist
6/24/2014 | 2:42:45 PM
Re: Wearables for Healthcare
Hi Alison, these three companies probably were already in your list and interviewed by you. 

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/apple-google-samsung-vie-bring-050748520.html
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
5/19/2014 | 2:20:04 PM
Re: Big Data Strategy
Thanks for the additional information, @Jim. Doximity appears a natural fit for your business. Clinical trials increasingly use social media as part of their recruitment and identification, especially as patients become more willing to discuss their symptoms, side effects, treatments, and other topics on sites -- especially dedicated communities or health-specific platforms. Having the right tools in place to gather and analyze this wealth of information is critical, otherwise pharma and other healthcare orgs omit a huge piece of the complex puzzle -- the patient. 

Are you also incorporating medical device tracking tools like Fitbits and Jawbones into your data-capture or isn't this information your clients want/need/can use? 
Jim_Manousos
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Jim_Manousos,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/19/2014 | 1:57:18 PM
Re: Big Data Strategy
Our team already works with Doximity in the social space and we have supplied them with much of their initial data.  Most of our revenue is in the clinical trial recruitment and KOL identification spaces.  We look at healthcare as a big jig saw puzzle and have a lot of fun helping our customers putting all the pieces together.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
5/19/2014 | 9:36:59 AM
Re: Big Data Strategy
@Jim - Thanks for sharing your team's story. Fascinating how you've incorporate social, business, and educational connections to focus on how and why clinicans practice in the way they do. I'm really interested, too, into your inclusion of social media, specifically providers' tweets and blogs. Are you also looking to partner with some of the healthcare-specific social media sites?

Sounds as though one way in which you separate yourself from competitors is by how 'clean' your data is. I'd think, too, with the inclusion of social and the ability to provide big data analytics you're also differentiating via the breadth, depth of data? What other ways do organizations like yours compete, especially as this is such a hugely attractive market for investors and entrepreneurs right now! 
Jim_Manousos
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Jim_Manousos,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/18/2014 | 9:17:15 PM
Re: Big Data Strategy
Allison, There are a lot of data out there.  My team processes over 1.5 billion medical claims annually into our warehouse and then blends it with 30 years of social, business and educational connections to fingerprint healthcare providers.  It not only allows you to understand how they practice and the type of patients they treat but it allows you to understand why they treat the way they do and who influenced them to treat that way.  This allows identifying outbreaks of anything on a daily basis, patient's diagnosis with a rare disease for trial recruitment and so many other issues that the uses are endless.  Since all the data is HIPAA compliant, there are never any issues.  The more people that learn to utilize these data the better.  This will save untold lives.

Our data is cleaner than the other data you have mentioned since it we standardize and uniquely identify all physicians as the records flow through our process.  We are just starting to delve into the tweets and blogs of physicians and combing through the text to pull those gems out.  I am sure this will be much more of a challenge.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
5/16/2014 | 9:05:46 AM
Re: Wearables for Healthcare
Thanks for the suggestion, @eyu906. I've just started working on a piece on that topic: Over the next week or so, I'll be interviewing execs about the opportunities and challenges wearables create for healthcare providers, insurers, et al, in terms of data. Obviously, these devices generate a LOT of information -- info that could be incredibly useful -- but that's also incredibly time-consuming unless organizations figure out efficient, automated ways to analyze it and discover actionable nuggets. So please keep visiting InformationWeek.com to look for this story later in May.

What other information do you want to see from a story like this?
eyu906
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eyu906,
User Rank: Strategist
5/15/2014 | 8:28:29 PM
Wearables for Healthcare
Hi Alison Diana, any info on wearables leveraging big data for healthcare?
HM
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HM,
User Rank: Strategist
5/15/2014 | 9:43:12 AM
Re: Big Data Strategy
Alison, thanks! If you would like more information or a briefing on what LexisNexis's HPCC Systems has to offer please feel free to let me know. I'd be happy to share!
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
5/14/2014 | 5:07:13 PM
Re: Big Data Strategy
Thanks for sharing LexisNexis' experience in analytics within healthcare. I had not realized the extent to which this company was involved in healthcare although I knew, of course, LexisNexis was heavily involved in analytics and big data work. When organizations discover savings and reduce fraud, waste, theft, and abuse, the entire system benefits. 
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
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