A coalition of businesses, governments and universities believes two words hold the key to solving the world’s biggest health issues – ‘big data’. At a news conference today, Texas-based HMS (NASDAQ: HMSY), the Digital Health CRC (Cooperative Research Centre), Stanford University and Southern Methodist University (SMU) announced the U.S. launch of research which will use data analysis to solve health care’s most vexing issues, including today’s deadly opioid epidemic.
“Health care’s digital revolution is just beginning, and it is about a lot more than reducing skyrocketing costs and improving efficiencies. It is about focusing more on the patient, improving quality of care and changing health outcomes for the better,” said Bill Lucia, HMS chairman and CEO. “Today’s announcement marks a critical step in unlocking the power of data to predict health issues, deliver better patient outcomes and ultimately, save lives.”
Commenced in 2018, Australia’s Digital Health CRC is the largest digital health research cooperative in the world with funding from government, universities and businesses totaling more than $160 million. Through this initiative, HMS and Digital Health CRC, along with several recognized universities will identify new ways to enhance patient outcomes while controlling costs.
“Our country recognizes that by working with private industry and academia, we can advance the health of all people worldwide,” said Dr. Victor Pantano, Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre CEO. “We look forward to the results of this ground-breaking data analytics’ research and its ability to solve some of the most critical health issues of our time.”
As the lead U.S. partner, HMS will facilitate the research data environment – consisting of a Limited Data Set of de-identified data from paid claims eligibility and associated data provided by select clients who have signed up to participate. Today, HMS maintains current healthcare eligibility data for more than 290 million individuals, provides services to more than 40 state Medicaid agencies and serves more than 325 health plans – so there is a wealth of potential big data to support this initiative. To date, several states have signed up to provide their Medicaid claims data.
From there, leading universities will provide graduate students in health care economics, biostatistics, data science, public health and other related fields who will perform research on various health care issues. The first research project will focus on the opioid crisis.
“The opioid crisis has now reached critical proportions as Americans are more likely to die from an accidental opioid overdose than in a car accident,” said Dr. Gary Call, chief medical officer for HMS. “By utilizing the data in this research, we will be able to get the most complete picture to date on what factors are driving opioid addiction, abuse and relapse.”
The opioid research project led by Dr. Tina Hernandez-Boussard, associate professor in Medicine, Biomedical Data Science and Surgery at the Stanford University School of Medicine, will focus on developing claims data-based predictive analytics models to identify potential opioid misuse disorder risk factors for:
- Patients who have no previous abuse history
- Providers who have at-risk opioid prescribing patterns and,
- Relapse of patients into opioid misuse
Additionally, the research will seek to identify the characteristics of successful treatment regimens for opioid abuse.
Subsequent research projects will focus on other important healthcare issues – including developing a predictive model to cut the rate of hospital readmissions led by Dr. Daniel Heitjan and graduate students from SMU.
To learn more about this initiative, watch the full webcast announcement below.
About Digital Health CRC
In April 2018, the Australian Government announced its support for – and agreed to contribute funding to – the Digital Health CRC. The Government’s grant, covering a seven-year period, came into effect in July 2018. The Digital Health CRC is the largest digital health research cooperative in the world, with funding from government, universities and businesses totaling over $160m. Our mission is to develop a unique, multidisciplinary, collaborative taskforce of research, clinical, industry, government and educational organizations to focus research and development in the healthcare space – by combining individual and collective expertise with healthcare data, information and telecommunication technologies. Over 80 organizations, including health funds, health technology providers and 16 universities, have joined this research and development consortium. Find out more about the Digital Health CRC at www.digitalhealthcrc.com, and follow us on Twitter at @digihealthcrc, Facebook at @digitalhealthcrc, and LinkedIn.
HMS advances the healthcare system by helping payers reduce costs and improve health outcomes. Through our industry-leading technology, analytics and engagement solutions, we save billions of dollars annually while helping health plan members lead healthier lives. HMS provides a broad range of coordination of benefits, payment integrity, care management and member engagement solutions that help move the healthcare system forward.