Healthcare Technology Featured Article

January 18, 2013

Newly Founded Optum Labs will Analyze Big Data to Improve Patient Care, Lower Costs of Care

A new lab launched by the Mayo Clinic and Optum, the analytics unit of United Health, will use big data analysis to improve the quality of healthcare and lower healthcare costs.

Called Optum Labs, it will be a research facility based in Cambridge, Mass. It is adjacent to the MIT campus.

The lab will use Mayo Clinic's clinical data and claims information from Optum to come up with new approaches to patient care. Optum Labs will also work with academic institutions, life-sciences companies, commercial and government payers, and sector providers.

"Mayo Clinic is excited to work with Optum and other organizations to address the challenges and issues facing health care in order to help us provide better care to our patients, and help lead improvements to the delivery of care," Dr. John Noseworthy, president and CEO of the Mayo Clinic, said in a recent statement. "Our strategic research alliance with Optum Labs will leverage what we believe to be the largest combined source of clinical and claims information, providing a more comprehensive picture of patients ' diagnoses, progression of diseases, comparative treatments and outcomes."

Also, Optum and the Mayo Clinic will publish their research “to benefit patients everywhere, rather than keeping their findings to themselves,” according to a report from Information Week. In addition, they will welcome collaborations with other like-minded organizations.

In addition, Optum Labs scientists will look for the best treatments for chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). They also will develop applications to measure the economy of different medical devices, find ways to improve the diagnosis of Hepatitis C and identify health disparities among the elderly.

"Mayo Clinic and Optum are bringing together the best clinical insight, health information and research expertise to drive innovation that works for care providers and the patients they serve,” Larry Renfro, CEO of Optum, added in the statement. “We also welcome and look forward to the perspectives, ideas and contributions of future participants from across the health care system who share the goal of creating a better future for patient care."

Optum is made up of three companies: OptumHealth, OptumInsight and OptumRx. Optum will provide claims data on 100 million patients. In addition, the Mayo Clinic will provide five million clinical records.

"By combining the Mayo Clinic's robust clinical insight with Optum's extensive claims information, we will be able to better understand health care delivery over time, compare the effectiveness of care we provide today, and analyze the total cost of care for specific procedures or diseases," Dr. Veronique Roger, director of the Mayo Clinic Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery. "This will help provide better care to patients, and help the health care industry better define value through outcomes instead of volumes.”

Optum has diverse offering in the health services sector. For instance, it recently released a Smart Measurement System for Late Phase, which is software to help pharmaceutical companies manage large, complex and multiyear drug studies more efficiently and cost-effectively, according to HealthTechZone.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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