The Meaningful Use of Complex Medical Data (MUCMD) Symposium

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LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- What does targeted advertisement on FaceBook have to do with healthcare? Maybe more than you’d think. Biology and medicine have become information sciences and require new types of collaborations – joining the expertise of clinicians, researchers, mathematicians, computer scientists and even marketing experts.

Left to right: Alina Beygelzimer, PhD, T. J. Watson Research Center, IBM; Randall Wetzel, MD, Childr ...

Left to right: Alina Beygelzimer, PhD, T. J. Watson Research Center, IBM; Randall Wetzel, MD, Children's Hospital Los Angeles; David Kale, MS, Children's Hospital Los Angeles; John Langford, PhD, of Yahoo! Research (Photo: Business Wire)

“When we treat patients we must learn from every single transaction,” said Randall Wetzel, MD, chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology Critical Care Medicine at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and professor of Pediatrics at USC. “Every patient encounter that we don’t record, analyze and learn from is a missed opportunity to improve the care of the next child.”

On August 26 through 28, Dr. Wetzel and David Kale, data scientist for the Laura P. and Leland K. Whittier Virtual Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (VPICU), organized “The Meaningful Use of Complex Medical Data (MUCMD) Symposium” at The Saban Research Institute of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The purpose of the meeting was to bring together clinical researchers from across the nation including Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Harvard University, Texas Children’s Hospital and Johns Hopkins University with computer scientists who solve “big data” problems at places as diverse as NASA, Yahoo, IBM, Cloudera, University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has set the agenda on electronic clinical data for the purposes of research. The agency rates it as a national priority, one possible solution to our fiscal healthcare problem, and is providing funding for development and research related to “clinical research networks.” Their position is that the real long-term benefit of electronic medical records –in controlling the cost of healthcare and, allowing more people to live healthy lives – will develop from research. This research will be produced by analyzing huge amounts of patient data and will ultimately lead to earlier diagnosis, more effective treatment and less morbidity from disease.

Speakers were invited from a wide range of disciplines to offer their insights on how to work with large data sets. The meeting explored a broad array of topics across the spectrum of computer science and clinical research, and attendees were exposed to new questions, ideas and methodologies. The meeting featured time for discussion, debate and socializing, which the planners hope will lead to the formation of new relationships and collaborative projects.

Highlights of the meeting included:

  • Convincing arguments for the adoption of open source software solutions in medicine by Jeff Hammerbacher of Cloudera and Chris Mattmann, PhD, and Daniel J. Crichton, MS, of NASA Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL)
  • Robust debate about how to reform the clinical trials system inspired through talks by machine learning experts Alina Beygelzimer, PhD, of IBM and John Langford, PhD, of Yahoo! Research
  • A stunning demonstration of the power of interactive visual analysis of large data sets by Jeffrey Heer, PhD, of Stanford University
  • Impressive presentations about the promise of applying computational techniques to medical data by experts such as Stuart Russell, PhD, of University of California, Berkeley, Suchi Saria, PhD, of Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University, and Eamonn Keogh, PhD, of University of California, Riverside

On Saturday, the VPICU team demonstrated their ongoing research in software architectures for data management and sharing, computational analysis of physiologic similarity in large PICU patient data sets, and visualization of similar patients to support bedside decision-making. Involving diverse team members, Robinder Khemani, MD, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Andrew Hart, MS, NASA/JPL, Ben Marlin, PhD, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Christian Shelton, PhD, University of California, Riverside, and Diana Maclean, PhD candidate at Stanford University, this project demonstrates the power of cross-discipline collaborations.

“Our goal in planning MUCMD was two-fold,” explains David Kale. “First, we wanted to be iconoclastic, to shake up the clinical research establishment by demonstrating the potential of computational tools and methods used in other domains that have seen minimal penetration into medicine; and second, we wanted to interest smart people from other domains in medical data and the associated problems. From that standpoint, the meeting was an unqualified success. Everyone, from medical researchers to industry computer scientists, went out of their way to tell us that MUCMD was one of the best meetings they’ve attended in a long while and that they sincerely hope we will hold it again.”

For more information, visit and the “Meaningful Use of Data” Facebook Page and follow the MUCMD twitter account @mucmd.

About Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Children's Hospital Los Angeles has been named the best children’s hospital in California and among the best in the nation for clinical excellence with its selection to the prestigious U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll. Children’s Hospital is home to The Saban Research Institute, one of the largest and most productive pediatric research facilities in the United States, is one of America's premier teaching hospitals and has been affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California since 1932.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available:


Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Ellin Kavanagh, 323-361-8505
[email protected]

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  California

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:   Technology  Data Management  Software  Practice Management  Health  Hospitals  Research  Science  General Health


Left to right: Alina Beygelzimer, PhD, T. J. Watson Research Center, IBM; Randall Wetzel, MD, Children's Hospital Los Angeles; David Kale, MS, Children's Hospital Los Angeles; John Langford, PhD, of Yahoo! Research (Photo: Business Wire)


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