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    • Creating impact: Partnering to answer big questions with health care data

      Published Nov 03 2017, 11:01 AM
      • Health care data
      • Innovation
      • Collaboration
      • Analysis

      By Paul Bleicher, MD, PhD; William Crown, PhD; and Darshak Sanghavi, MD

      Welcome to the OptumLabs® blog. Here, we will take a regular look at some of the most complicated issues in health care, and explain how we’re addressing them through collaborative research and innovation.

      We'll make it accessible. We'll make it interesting. The goal is to bring you into the world of health care data with engaging but scientifically rigorous stories that make an impact on the health care system and on the health of people.

      But first, what does it take to create “impact” in health care using health care data? Impact is one of the key goals of OptumLabs. We think a lot about how to create impact and how to measure it.

      Sometimes, when you have one of the largest databases in health care, it is tempting to study a problem or do an analysis because the results will be “interesting.” But answering “interesting” questions alone doesn’t create a positive impact on people’s lives. 

      Creating impact by solving some of health care’s biggest problems with complex health data depends on a number of factors. First, you need the data and the sound science to use it. Next, you need the right expertise in health care to conceive and implement solutions once you generate important findings. And, often it takes working together with world-class organizations that have the resources and skills to implement these solutions.

      That’s OptumLabs.

      With access to health care’s richest data set of more than 200 million de-identified lives, data and analysis — with a focus on health system improvement — resides at the center of how we solve the biggest problems in health care. 

      OptumLabs staff and partners represent the world’s experts in health care. With our diverse group of partners from Mayo Clinic, AARP, AMGA, University of California Health to many others in the private and public sectors, we work collaboratively with the help of the OptumLabs Data Warehouse — our industry-leading data asset containing de-identified, linked administrative claims, medical records, and patient self-reported health information.

      Applying some of the newest artificial intelligence techniques, we look at long-term trends to better understand the health experience of individuals and its impact on the industry by pairing claims data with unique details on patient and health plan costs, demographics, health behaviors and more.

      In this blog, we'll show how that happens. Every couple of weeks, OptumLabs experts and partners will touch on some of the biggest health care problems today; like how to track and understand the many dimensions of the opioid crisis, whether Alzheimer's disease and dementias can be detected earlier, how to guard against harming patients with diabetes while trying to control their blood sugars, and much more.

      Join us on our journey to improve health and health care. Follow us on Twitter (@OptumLabs) for new post alerts.

      About the authors:

      *Paul Bleicher, MD, PhD, is the chief executive officer at OptumLabs

      *William Crown, PhD, is the chief scientific officer at OptumLabs

      *Darshak Sanghavi, MD, is the chief medical officer at OptumLabs

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