News Feature | December 10, 2015

HHS, OptumLabs Leverage Big Data To Improve Healthcare

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Your Industry, Healthcare IT Clients Are Setting Sights On Big Data

The collaborative will use health data to create additional value for the nation’s healthcare system.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and OptumLabs, the collaborative healthcare research and innovation center co-founded by Optum and Mayo Clinic, have entered into a new collaborative agreement that will leverage health data to create additional value for the nation’s healthcare system and drive improvements in patient care.

The new venture means agencies under the purview of HHS will be able to develop and lead innovative healthcare research accessing Big Data housed in OptumLabs, which link de-identified medical claims and clinical data in order to present big picture interpretations of populations and patient care.

“As HHS and its affiliates seek opportunities to improve the health, safety and well-being of all Americans, we believe that partnering with private-sector organizations such as OptumLabs will help accelerate the discovery of new healthcare models and practices,” Susannah Fox, chief technology officer of HHS stated. “We are eager to collaborate with OptumLabs and its partners on a variety of initiatives that harness the power of health data to improve patient care and outcomes.”

According to OptumLabs, the first joint project will be with researchers at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to compare and contrast trends in its Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) with trends in claims records from OptumLabs’ databases. Their intent is to increase the value of MEPS in healthcare cost research. Additional projects will revolve around population health and the economics of healthcare.

“Government is a key stakeholder in healthcare and through this partnership now has a seat at the table of our collaborative community at OptumLabs,” said Paul Bleicher, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of OptumLabs. “We are grateful to have HHS as a new partner and welcome its active engagement as we focus on new initiatives that can directly translate to improvements in patient care.”

OptumLabs brings together healthcare stakeholders dedicated to improving patient care by sharing information assets, technologies, knowledge, tools, and scientific expertise. Last year, they added seven new members to the constantly-expanding research collaborative.