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Optum Labs Adds Four Partners for Big Data Research

September 9, 2014
by David Raths
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Partnership offers researchers access to data, tools, expertise, and infrastructure

Optum Labs, a research center co-founded by Optum and Mayo Clinic, has added four new partners: Harvard Medical School Department of Health Care Policy, Medica Research Institute, pharmaceutical company Merck and the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

“Our growing base of partners enables Optum Labs to expand into additional areas of health care research, paving the way for new initiatives that can be directly translated to improvements in patient care,” said Paul Bleicher, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of Cambridge, Mass.-based Optum Labs, in a prepared statement.

In the case of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, the partnership with Optum Labs enhances UMB’s recognition as a leader in ‘big data’ research,” said Eleanor Perfetto, Ph.D., M.S., professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research, in a prepared statement. She added that the new partnership would enhance and augment UMB’s existing research and informatics resources with the data, tools, expertise, and infrastructure available at Optum Labs to increase the scope and impact of Alzheimer’s disease and healthy aging research.

In addition to these newly announced partners, Optum Labs previously announced relationships with founding consumer advocate organization AARP, the American Medical Group Association, Boston Scientific, Boston University School of Public Health, Lehigh Valley Health Network, Pfizer Inc., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Tufts Medical Center, and the University of Minnesota School of Nursing.

Optum Labs, which claims to have the largest, de-identified patient database in health care, offers participants access to information resources, proprietary analytical tools and scientific expertise to help drive the discovery of new applications, testing of new care pathways and other opportunities to drive innovation in wellness and care delivery.

Optum Labs was one of the subjects of a February 2014 Healthcare Informatics article about cross-industry collaborations. As Bleicher mentioned in that article, the effort is starting to generate interesting insights. Leaders from Optum Labs and its partner organizations are presenting research findings and other developments at a variety of industry forums throughout the rest of this year and into 2015.

And because Mayo is an early and active participant, it can quickly bring to its clinical setting new insights about issues such as anticoagulant usage and hip and knee replacements.  An example of the work being done is a focus on better predictions of which patients with congestive heart failure will be readmitted to the hospital.