Coordinated Care Management

October 02, 2012

IBM and UPMC Join, Using Data Analytics to Provide Personalized Patient Care

IBM is at it again. Long known for its mainframe computers and PCs, the company has expanded into solutions for the healthcare world, and today, as part of a five-year, $100-million investment, it is partnering with UPMC in Pittsburgh to provide sophisticated enterprise analytics to foster personalized medicine and reduce hospital readmissions.

At the foundation of this project is a series of IBM software and services, which will serve as the basis of the healthcare system's prescriptive and predictive analytics throughout much of the enterprise. In March, IBM announced a partnership with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to develop a tool to sift through massive amounts of data to personalize treatments for cancer patients targeted specifically at that patient unlike today’s “one-size-fits-all” protocol.

The strategy is based on an enterprise analytics platform that is flexible, easy to use and provides intensive prescriptive and predictive analytics capabilities.

IBM has a long history with UPMC, “and helped the healthcare delivery system lay out the vision for this long term analytics initiative,” according to a recent statement.

The company will, with its ability to perform deep analytics on both business data and clinical data, help UPMC over the next two years to build what it’s calling “one of the most sophisticated health analytics systems in the healthcare industry.”

The key to this huge project will be to centralize information “across UPMC’s 20-plus hospitals, 400 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites and health insurance services division, big data from more than 200 sources of information, such as medical records and imaging systems, labs, pharmacies, financial and administrative systems,” and mine them using predictive and content analytics software to support UPMC’s personalized medicine strategy, the statement added.

In addition, IBM plans to work with UPMC to incorporate massive amounts of unstructured textual data, such as information in physician notes and nursing documentation, for new insights to provide better care.

The source explained that so-called “big data” can be blended with analytics to help reduce hospital readmissions by identifying high-risk individuals, such as congestive heart failure or diabetes patients, to ensure they receive the care they need after leaving the hospital, and in this way, reduce readmission rates.

For chronically ill patients, UPMC will be able to track their progress and health outcomes over a lifetime so UPMC can continuously improve treatment plans and develop new models of care.

According to IBM, UPMC will also incorporate the latest health data from other organizations, such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and national disease registries, “for the latest outcome benchmarks and metrics, or Press Ganey for insight on patient satisfaction and other performance metrics.”

“Every patient is different. Every patient has a unique story. This comprehensive analytics approach will enable us to treat each patient in a personalized way to produce the best possible results,” said Dr. Steven S. Shapiro, chief medical and scientific officer at UPMC, recently ranked No. 10 in U.S. News and World Report’s Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals. 

Edited by Braden Becker
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