UPMC teams with universities to develop data-based health innovations

Two Pittsburgh-area universities are teaming up with UPMC to revolutionize healthcare through big data.

Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, along with UPMC, make up the new Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance, which is committed to creating new data-based innovations, according to an announcement.

Centers led by Pitt and CMU will carry out the work to create products and services using data that will focus on changing how diseases are prevented and how patients are cared for.

The healthcare industry has increasingly focused on ways to leverage the growing amount of data organizations and information exchanges collect.

The expansion of electronic health records brings an opportunity to take data and use it to better serve both individuals and populations throughout the U.S., National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo said in a recent interview with The Nation's Health.

With the Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance, "the complementary strengths of the alliance's partner institutions will allow us to re-imagine healthcare for millions of people in our shared, data-driven world," Subra Suresh, president of CMU, said in the announcement.  

He adds that the alliance will further "accelerate the development of evidence-based medicine, and augment disease-centered models with patient-centered models of care."

Over the next six years, the research centers will be funded by UPMC, as well as through already-existing grants. There will be two centers to start: the Center for Machine Learning and Health at CMU and the Center for Commercial Applications of Healthcare Data at Pitt. Scientists from all three institutions will work at the centers.

Many hospitals and companies already are using data to improve operations and care outcomes.

Susquehanna Health, a central Pennsylvania system, used a deep-dive perioperative analytics solution to create roadmaps for improvements that could be made financially, clinically and operationally.

Even efforts by Cerner and Pfizer are highlighting the promise big data holds. The University of Missouri-Kansas' Center for Health Insights and Truman Medical Centers are teaming up with Cerner to use the electronic health record vendor's Health Facts database to explore local health and find ways to improve care. And Pfizer is using data to find out which aspects of a disease should be studied.

To learn more:
- read the announcement