A big-data revolution at UC Irvine

Applying big-data analytics strategies to clinical operations and care delivery, the University of California Irvine Medical Center is focusing on reducing readmissions, speeding up research and tracking patient statistics in real time, according to an article in Healthcare Informatics

Charles Boicey, UCI's information solutions architect, said they're using open-source technology to improve clinical data searchability.

In one hospital program, patients take home a scale to weigh themselves daily. It automatically and wirelessly transmits that data to Hadoop, where an algorithm determines which weight changes indicate risk of readmission and alerts docs, according to the article.

UCI Medical Center's big data strategy largely has to do with continuity of care documents (CCD). Back in 2010, Boicey wanted to make CCDs available for physician queries and research. Boicey looked at Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn--all examples of environments that store information temporarily--and found out Hadoop is the underlying technology in all of them.

The architecture makes data viewable and searchable but also allows an organization to retain its legacy information, Boicey said. 

At the University of North Carolina Health Care, a large non-profit healthcare provider in Chapel Hill, N.C., one doctor said data and analytics are increasingly at the heart of how his hospitals run.

An example of how UNCHC has merited results from big data: They developed a unique algorithm inserted into natural language processing software platform, allowing them to identify, extract and report on abnormal results from pap smears and mammography screenings.

In November, CIO highlighted several real-life cases of healthcare organizations that are using big data analytics to improve outcomes and reduce costs in a slideshow. It included examples from Boston-based Partners HealthCare system, which uses big data to connect its financial, operational and clinical analytics systems; Intermountain Healthcare, which mines more than 90 million patient EHRs for outcomes analysis; and Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center, which uses text message reminder to reduce missed appointments.

So far, though, health payers are more invested in the power of big data and analytics tools than providers, according a recent report from IDC Health Insights.

To learn more:
- read the article in Healthcare Informatics

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