Big data medicine is still largely unproven, but that's not stopping several medical centers and analytics vendors from jumping in with both feet.
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The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) is taking its big data initiative a step further, investing $100 million to create a comprehensive data warehouse that brings together data from more than 200 sources across UPMC, UPMC Health Plan and other affiliated entities.
To collect, store, manage and analyze the information maintained in the data warehouse, UPMC will use the Oracle Exadata Database Machine, a high-performance database platform; IBM's Cognos software for business intelligence and financial management; Informatica's data integration platform; and dbMotion's SOA-based interoperability platform, which integrates patient records from healthcare organizations and health information exchanges. These tools will manage the 3.2 petabytes of data that flows across UPMC's business divisions.
The goal is to help physicians tap into a more intelligent EHR; flag patients at risk for kidney failure based on subtle changes in lab results; or predict the most effective, least toxic treatment plan for an individual breast cancer patient based on her genetic and clinical information. In the case of breast cancer, much of this work will be done through analyzing groups of patients so that researchers and physicians can follow their reaction to treatments and their health status over time.
Officials at UPMC explained that they will begin using their new analytical tools on data gathered from a group of 140 breast cancer patients that were previously studied. Researchers already have both genomic and EHR data for these patients, which will give researchers a head start in their quest to understand the nuances of individuals and their response to medical treatment.
Neil de Crescenzo, senior VP and general manager of Oracle Health Sciences, said the initiative is important both for Oracle and UPMC because the enterprise healthcare analytics platform they're developing integrates data from clinical, genomics, financial, administrative and operations across the organization. These all are areas that need to drive greater efficiency into their workflows as UPMC tackles the challenges of coping with the exponential growth in data.
To sort through its data challenges, UPMC will use a wide range of Oracle tools, including Oracle Enterprise Healthcare Analytics and Oracle Health Sciences Network. UPMC also will implement Oracle Fusion Analytics, as well as multiple components of Oracle Fusion Middleware such as Oracle Hyperion Profitability and Cost Management to support cost-based accounting and Oracle Identity and Access Management Suite Plus for regulatory compliance and data protection.