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UPMC Fosters ‘Personalized Medicine’ with $100 Million Investment in Sophisticated Data Warehouse and Analytics

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What if a doctor could easily predict which treatment would be most effective and least toxic for an individual breast cancer patient, based on her genetic and clinical information? What if an intelligent electronic medical record could flag patients at risk for kidney failure, based on subtle changes in lab results? Or what if physicians could tell from the medical records of a large population of patients when the next outbreak of flu might occur and have the right kind and quantity of vaccine ready?

These are just a few of the scenarios behind UPMC’s five-year, $100 million investment in a sophisticated enterprise analytics effort that will foster personalized medicine. Together with technology partners Oracle, IBM, Informatica and dbMotion, UPMC today announced that it intends to create a best-in-class data warehouse that brings together clinical, financial, administrative, genomic and other information that today is difficult to integrate and analyze. Advanced analytic and predictive modeling applications for clinical and financial decision-making are expected to produce better patient outcomes, enhanced research capabilities, continual quality improvements across UPMC, and reduced costs.

“Every patient is different; every patient has a unique story. This comprehensive analytics approach will enable us to treat each patient in a personalized way to produce the best possible results,” said Steven D. Shapiro, M.D.,  chief medical and scientific officer at UPMC, recently ranked No. 10 on U.S. News and World Report’s Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals.

“UPMC, with the help of the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute, has methodically studied best practices in analytics both inside and outside of health care. We’re now ready to turn what we’ve learned into action to support our goal of developing new models of affordable, effective, patient-focused health care,” said Lisa Khorey, vice president of enterprise systems and data management at UPMC. “As one of the largest and most technologically sophisticated health care systems in the world, we are perfectly positioned to leverage our vast stores of data to innovate the way that patient care is delivered.”

For more than a decade, UPMC has been at the forefront of investing in electronic health records, interoperability and financial management systems. 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,” said Dr. Shapiro. And with the rapidly decreasing cost of sequencing genes, huge amounts of genomic information will be added to that data base in the future.

With the help of its technology partners, UPMC 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.

“UPMC’s analytics initiative is one of the most ambitious and comprehensive efforts of its kind in health care,” said Neil de Crescenzo, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Health Sciences. “Given the size, scope and influence of this leading academic medical center, the discoveries made here are likely to transform the practice of medicine far beyond the walls of UPMC. Oracle is honored that UPMC has selected its integrated health sciences applications and technology stack to provide the analytics and insight for this groundbreaking initiative.”

“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,” said Dan Pelino, general manager, IBM healthcare and life sciences. “This is the next logical step in UPMC’s strategic plan, and in IBM’s strategic partnership with UPMC, to build one of the most advanced information technology infrastructures in the industry.”

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 the cost of variations in care; and offer predictive alerts that will improve disease prevention.

The terms of UPMC’s new agreements for this initiative with Oracle, IBM and Informatica were not disclosed. Besides hardware and software, UPMC’s planned investment includes internal salary costs, training and other operational support.