Smart Enterprise Magazine

Volume 8, Number 1, 2014

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Changing the Face of Healthcare One industry that's behind the rest is healthcare, although there are medical organizations that are finding ways to put data to work successfully. For instance, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) is using Big Data to uncover ways to help its patients take better care of themselves when they are outside its care. Lisa Khorey, Vice President of Enterprise Systems and Data Management at UPMC is helping to find ways for its doctors, researchers and nurses to improve patient outcomes. The healthcare field faces challenges when it comes to Big Data, explains Oscar Marroquin, MD, Director of the Center for Interventional Cardiology Research and Director of Provider Analytics at UPMC. "The type of data we re l y o n a s c l i n i c i a n s isn't clean, and it's a mix of structured and unstructured data, which makes it more difficult to manage, query and analyze it," he explains. His team, along with Khorey and her team, have to define the data points that are important and turn unstructured data into something that can be analyzed. This is something every industry faces on some level, says Phil Simon, author of Too Big to Ignore: The Business Case for Big Data. "Plenty of companies out there claim that they are truly using Big Data," he says. "They have spent millions on systems that were built to handle structured data. Most Big Data is unstructured, though. For example, an insurance company can pull in claims data and customer data. However, the data from a customer interview is very valuable—and often ignored." UPMC is handling some of its unstructured data by changing it when that can be done w i t h o u t n e g a t i ve l y a f f e c t i n g c l i n i c i a n s' workflow. It is also starting to implement natural language processing and text-mining techniques to identify and extract data from unstructured documents. One of its most recent wins using the aggregation of structured clinical and cost data was an analysis of heart attack patients who had received heart artery stents. The organization discovered that one group of cardiologists was spending more money to care for heart attack patients. When Dr. Marroquin and his team drilled into the data, they discovered that those particular cardiologists were using a more expensive type of catheter to treat their patients, but were also receiving better outcomes six months after the procedure, including lower mortality rates and less need for additional surgeries. The patient populations among the cardiologists were similar and thus did not account for the better outcomes. By bringing together cost and outcomes data in the enterprise analytics program, says Dr. Marroquin, "We've had the ability to have all this information in the same ecosystem, which allows us to ask more holistic questions." It's Not Always About the Customer While much of Big Data's allure is its ability to help boost profits, improve customer relation- ships and help when it comes to research and development there are other internal uses of Big Data that can be just as beneficial, says Jeff Cotrupe, Big Data and Analytics Global Program Director at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan. "Liberty Mutual is a good example," says Cotrupe, who recently spent time with Stephen Patton, the company's security architect. The insurance firm uses Big Data technology to safeguard the security of its network by analyzing network data. "For Liberty Mutual, it's all about slicing and dicing the information, including which devices are accessing the network, the locations, types of traffic, who is allowed access. They're constantly watching the data handoffs—where it's coming in and going out," he says. While Patton was charged with the security of the network, Big Data helped Liberty Mutual figure out that there were things they could do to make the network more efficient, too, says Cotrupe. "Big Data is taking security in a whole new direction, but they were also able to make changes to traffic flows and storage based on the analysis, improving efficiency by 10 to 15 percent. To me, that's a great example of Big Data at work." It's also proactive rather than reactive, s o m e t h i n g t h a t Co t r u p e b e l i e ve s e ve r y organization needs to start focusing on when it comes to Big Data. "Don't be reactive because you're afraid or confused—because, irony of ironies, there is simply too much data floating around out there about Big Data. Look to what others are doing in your industry and in other industries, set goals and start off with a frame of reference. Big Data is a smart way to figure out what you're supposed to be doing." KAREN J. BANNAN is a freelance writer and editor based in New York. She is also the former executive editor of Smart Enterprise magazine. While Big Data can have big results, right now there are only a small number of success stories. According to a September 12, 2013 Gartner study, Survey Analysis: Big Data Adoption in 2013 Shows Substance Behind the Hype, "Big data investments in 2013 continue to rise, with 64% of organizations investing or planning to invest in big data technology compared with 58% last year. Investments are led by media and communications, banking and services. Planned investments the next two years are highest for transportation, healthcare and insurance. Fewer than 8% of respondents have deployed." Among those planning to invest over the next two years, 80 percent are in the earlier stages (knowledge gathering and strategy phase). The Smart Enterprise takeaway: There's plenty of room for growth across the board and across industries. – K.J.B. BIG DATA, BIG DELAYS Oscar Marroquin, MD, Director of Center for Interventional Cardiology Research, UPMC Lisa Khorey VP of Enterprise Systems and Data Management at UPMC IMAGES: COURTESY OF UPMC 20 SMARTENTERPRISEMAG.COM

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