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Team to build health informatics platform for patient care coordination

December 02, 2016

Researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas will take part in a project that aims to design and construct a patient-focused and personalized health system that addresses the currently fractured structure of health care information.

The project, "Large-Scale Medical Informatics for Patient Care Coordination and Engagement," is led by Emory University, which received a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation. UT Dallas is one of several universities collaborating on the project.

The NSF is awarding $10 million to 10 "Big Data Spokes" projects to initiate research on specific topics identified by the Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs, which represent consortia from the Midwest, Northeast, South and West regions of the country. The UT Dallas project involves close cooperation with the South Big Data Regional Innovation Hub, located at Georgia Tech.

Dr. Indranil Bardhan, professor of information systems in the Naveen Jindal School of Management, will serve as a senior investigator on the project and contact person for all work performed at UT Dallas.

By using information about the environment gathered through mobile and wearable devices and social media data, the multi-university team will create a detailed and comprehensive picture of a patient's health and a tool to help manage patients' engagement with their health care providers. As its first pilot effort, the project will focus on African-Americans and Latinos diagnosed with cardiovascular disease.

"Successful completion of this project will allow us to accelerate progress toward addressing societal challenges related to addressing health disparities, health care access and precision medicine; improving care coordination, longitudinal health record creation and cohort tracking; and creating a system to enable closed-loop feedback once the patient is discharged," Bardhan said.

"Simply put, the integration of patients' sensor-based data with clinical data from electronic health records will enable improvements in diagnosis, monitoring and care coordination between patients and providers. The goal is to develop new ways to improve patient engagement and health outcomes."

The NSF project entails four areas of focus:
  • Building a technology infrastructure to collect and integrate high-resolution mobile and sensor data on individuals' state of health, context and environmental exposures over time.
  • Integrating the data with clinical partners' electronic health records and other third-party databases.
  • Integrating social networking information and other external databases.
  • Working with community members to maximize their engagement and empowerment in utilizing this technology.
Other local team members, who also contributed to the creation and funding of the South Big Data Regional Innovation Hub, are Dr. Ron Bose, research professor in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, Kristin Jenkins of DFW Hospital Council, and Kirk Kirksey of UT Southwestern Medical Center.

In addition to Emory, UT Southwestern and UT Dallas, the team includes researchers from Morehouse School of Medicine, Georgia Tech, West Virginia University, the University of Virginia and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Membership in the hub allows UT Dallas faculty to submit proposals for additional big data projects funded by NSF, Bardhan said.

University of Texas at Dallas

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