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UPMC Promotes Personalized Medicine with Big Data Initiative

Medical Center will invest $100 million to improve patient outcomes, reduce costs.


The Burrill Report

“This effort represents the new intersection of technology and patient care.”

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has announced a new five-year, $100 million enterprise healthcare analytics initiative that will foster personalized medicine. Along with technology partners Oracle, IBM, Informatica, and dbMotion, UPMC intends to create a data warehouse that brings together clinical, financial, administrative, genomic, and other information that today is difficult to integrate and analyze.

Such information would enable doctors to better predict which treatments would be most effective and least toxic for individual patients based on their genetic and clinical information.

UPMC, a $10 billion integrated global health enterprise, expects that advanced analytic and predictive modeling applications for clinical and financial decision-making will produce better patient outcomes, enhance research capabilities, improve the quality of care, and reduce costs.

“Every patient is different; every patient has a unique story,” says Steven Shapiro, chief medical and scientific officer at UPMC. “This comprehensive analytics approach will enable us to treat each patient in a personalized way to produce the best possible results.”

UPMC has been investing in electronic health records, interoperability, and financial management systems for more than ten years. Although this has provided vast amounts of information to enhance the quality and safety of care, the explosion of data—now totaling more than 3.2 petabytes at UPMC alone—“is moving faster than our ability to transform that information into intelligence and improved decision-making at the point of care,” says Shapiro.

And with the rapidly decreasing cost of genetic sequencing, UPMC expects huge amounts of genomic information will be added to its database in the future.

In order to make the data useful, UPMC and its technology partners over the next two years will install the hardware and software needed to create a comprehensive data warehouse that will bring together data from more than 200 sources of information across UPMC, UPMC Health Plan, and outside entities, including labs and pharmacies. Clinicians, researchers, and administrators will have secure, real-time access to data and analytic tools that fit their particular interests and needs.

“This effort represents the new intersection of technology and patient care, enabling UPMC to find the most effective ways to manage and mine valuable health information,” says Dan Pelino, general manager of IBM healthcare and life sciences.

Early analytics projects are expected to improve quality reporting and measurement across UPMC hospitals and physician offices; provide insight into the effectiveness of treatments and cost variations in care; and offer predictive alerts that will improve disease prevention.

“Today’s healthcare institutions have access to unprecedented types and volumes of data that have the potential to unlock the secrets of human health and disease leading to new and highly personalized care pathways,” says Shapiro. “In this environment, advanced information management and analytics platforms will fuel the next giant leap forward for healthcare, in much the same way that the microscope and antibiotics transformed care in generations past.”

October 04, 2012

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