Analytics initiative to use radiology claims for research

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A newly created analytics lab will aim to apply big data analytics and artificial intelligence to large medical databases, with a focus on medical imaging.

The initiative, called the Health Economics and Analytics Lab (HEAL) is a joint initiative between the American College of Radiology’s Neiman Institute and the George Institute of Technology.

The five-year research partnership, with $3 million in funding, seeks to better understand how evolving healthcare delivery and payment models affect both patients and providers.

"The HEAL will provide needed research to inform the national medical imaging policy debate and develop new approaches for improving population health," says Danny Hughes, executive director of the Neiman Institute and Georgia Tech professor of economics, who will lead the lab. "The HEAL is uniquely positioned to exploit the vast stores of medical data now available to ensure we move toward a sustainable healthcare system."

The lab will be housed within Georgia Tech’s Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, and it fits well with the school’s core research areas, says G.P. Peterson, the school’s president.

"Issues of population health, cost and access to healthcare are certainly among the most complicated we face,” Peterson says. “Georgia Tech's strong emphasis on data engineering and public policy will provide a firm foundation for Dr. Hughes and the HEAL team."

The lab will support full-time post-doctorate researchers, graduate research assistants, and affiliated Georgia Tech faculty to produce both methodological and policy-oriented research. A secondary aim of HEAL is to provide training and mentorship to radiologists interested in performing research into health economics and health policy.

In addition to financial support, the Neiman Institute will provide HEAL researchers access to their extensive data resources, to include large-scale medical claims databases covering millions of U.S. residents.

"This partnership provides a tremendous opportunity to leverage the Neiman Institute's policy expertise with the analytical capabilities of a world-class engineering institution to address the pressing problems of improving population health, increasing access to medical care and reducing medical costs," says Geraldine McGinty, chair of the American College of Radiology's board of chancellors.

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