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UT System Invests $12.4M to Bring Big Data Analytics to Patient Care

Austin—The University of Texas System is dedicating $12.4 million to build a “big data” analytics network for its system of hospitals.

The network, which is going to be developed over the next four years, will collect anonymous patient and administrative data from its hospitals around the state. That information will be used to analyze and assess how to improve patient care, as well as to monitor how effectively the hospitals operate.

The UT system has four hospitals and clinics at six healthcare institutions it operates throughout Texas, such as the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio and the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. The university system’s board of regents, its governing body, approved the $12.4 million investment today.

Analysis of the aggregated clinical data could help physicians understand whether one strategy of managing a disease or condition works better than another, the university system wrote in a prepared statement. It could also help the university system observe and compare the cost of hospital procedures at each institution.

The hospital data is collected in the process of caring for hospital patients, as well as outpatients, according to Ray Greenberg, the system’s executive vice chancellor for health affairs. The data currently are housed at each individual institution, preventing the UT system from viewing a bigger picture of what is happening, Greenberg said in the statement.

Each year, hospitals and clinics owned and affiliated with UT have more than 6.8 million outpatient visits and 1.4 million hospital days (the 24-hour period that begins at the hour of admission, according to the American Medical Association).

System leaders also hope that any insights gained from the data will help the healthcare institutes compete nationally for funding, UT said.

David Holley is Xconomy's national correspondent based in Austin, TX. You can reach him at dholley@xconomy.com Follow @xconholley

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