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October 14, 2013

North Carolina healthcare system selects IBM Analytics to improve patient care

UNC Health Care (UNCHC) has implemented IBM big data analytics to improve quality of life for patients by delivering individualised care and creating a more connected healthcare system that helps reduce costly and preventable readmissions and decrease mortality rates.

By Mekala ShivaramPrasad

UNC

UNC Health Care (UNCHC) has implemented IBM big data analytics to improve quality of life for patients by delivering individualised care and creating a more connected healthcare system that helps reduce costly and preventable readmissions and decrease mortality rates.

The IBM Smarter Care solution enables UNCHC clinicians to quickly access and analyse critical patient information using natural-language processing.

IBM’s data analytics will help UNCHC to see and interpret both structured and unstructured data, allowing staff to identify high-risk patients, understand in context what is causing them to be hospitalised, and then take preventative action.

IBM director of enterprise content management strategy Craig Rhinehart said that IBM is creating a smarter, more connected healthcare system that empowers doctors and patients to make better choices.

"We’re pleased that our solutions can help UNC’s healthcare providers deliver more holistic and individualised care to their patients," Rhinehart added.

UNCHC previously deployed IBM Content Analytics to improve the accuracy of its 2012 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) measures and achieve double-digit quality improvements in mammogram, cancer and pneumonia screening.

UNCHC now plans to use the new IBM solution in three additional areas: timely follow-up of abnormal cancer screening results, reducing costly 30-day readmissions and engaging more patients.

Using IBM Content Analytics, UNCHC can extract abnormal results from cancer screening reports such as mammograms and colonoscopies and store the results as structured data.

UNCHC can then use these structured results to generate alerts immediately for physicians to proactively follow-up with patients that have abnormal cancer screening results.

"It can reveal trends, patterns and deviations while predicting the probability of outcomes so that we can make decisions in minutes versus weeks or months."

UNCHC associate professor of medicine Dr. Carlton Moore said that IBM Content Analytics allows clinicians to quickly transform raw information into healthcare insights.

"It can reveal trends, patterns and deviations while predicting the probability of outcomes so that we can make decisions in minutes versus weeks or months," Moore added.

Using the IBM solution, UNCHC can extract predictors of readmission risk from free-text clinical notes to find more effective ways to care for high-risk patients and provide safer patient care.

IBM Content Analytics will allow UNCHC to transform clinical data from electronic medical records into a simpler format so that patients can better understand their health information and participate in their care management plan.

UNCHC plans to further apply IBM Content Analytics to additional cases such as helping patients with diabetes or other chronic illnesses, subject to the success of the above programmes.


Image: The IBM solution is designed to help clinicians improve diagnosis and treatment. Photo courtesy of Yeungb.

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