EHRs to help predict preterm births

Inova Translational Medicine Institute (ITMI)--a non-profit research faction of Falls Church, Va.-based Inova Health System--and Cambridge, Mass.-based data analytics company GNS Healthcare are teaming up to build computer models with electronic health records and genomic data to predict infants at risk of preterm live birth.

The models will be built from ITMI's database of normal and preterm birth information and will link genetic and molecular factors with clinical data and health outcomes to assess who's at risk of preterm birth. The computer models and associated software will eventually be licensed and commercially available to health systems, pharmaceutical companies, research centers and others.  

Preterm birth is costly and frequently life threatening. Twelve percent of babies are born before 37 weeks of gestation, causing 10,000 deaths and costing $28 billion a year, according to the organizations' announcement. Fully half of preterm births occur with no known cause.

"These models will characterize the complex relationships among many variables in order to identify the associations and underlying causal mechanisms of preterm birth and will allow for personalized prediction of preterm birth risk and gestational length," the announcement says. "This, in turn, will help prioritize the testing of potential new diagnostic and treatment plans for at-risk patients."

EHRs continue to prove their worth for improving children's health. Other reports have found that EHRs boost vaccine efficiency and increase flu vaccination rates. Vendors also are beginning to turn their eye toward children's health; new EHRs are being developed to focus on the unique needs of pediatrics.

To learn more:
- read the announcement