Change Healthcare to offer data science-as-a-service, with focus on SDOH

Change Healthcare on Tuesday announced a new cloud-based service, offered in collaboration with Amazon Web Services, to help health systems and life sciences organizations boost the effectiveness of care plans they design for patients – especially for underserved communities and vulnerable populations.

The new DSaaS approach combines de-identified claims data, together with social determinants of health insights, to help offer tailor-made datasets for clients aiming to develop compliant analytics projects at scale, according to Change Healthcare.

The secure cloud service can help organizations with different goals measure the comparative efficacy of different interventions and therapies – all while maintaining focus on the unique impact social determinant factors can have on care and outcomes.

The manual use of regulated health data has traditionally been challenging: slow-going, with many privacy and other compliance risks. Change says that its collaboration AWS will offer agility, scalability and security – with DSaaS pre-integrating data and offering automated monitoring of compliance obligations.

Change Healthcare’s dataset – diagnoses, prescriptions, and SDOH information – is drawn from across the U.S. healthcare system. Each DSaaS instance is dedicated to the specific client, the company says, with the opportunity to add other datasets, analytic tools or methods as the project or use case requires.

Several high-profile customers are already making use of the DSaaS offering. Duke University School of Medicine has leveraged the cloud service to compare differences in COVID-19 disease progression depending on pre-existing conditions and various interventions for different ethnic and socio-economic subgroups.

“Our work on COVID-19 highlights how comparative effectiveness research needs to better incorporate ethnicity and social determinants of health to truly assess the real impact of therapies and interventions,” said Michael Pencina, vice dean for data science and IT at Duke University School of Medicine, in a statement provided by Change Healthcare.

Other recent initiatives involve Carnegie Mellon University, whose Delphi Research Group has been using the dataset, combined with data from other sources, to create an interactive COVID-19 map that tracks behaviors, treatments and diagnoses. 

And MITRE is using DSaaS to explore how the pandemic has impacted the larger healthcare system – using the dataset to uncover key trends and gain insights into potential longer-term consequences for the healthcare ecosystem.

“As much as 80{c25493dcd731343503a084f08c3848bd69f9f2f05db01633325a3fd40d9cc7a1} of our health and well-being is affected by social determinants, such as whether someone can access or afford medical care, their level of healthcare literacy, their access to transportation, and their food and housing vulnerabilities,” said Tim Suther, senior vice president of data solutions at Change Healthcare in a statement.

“Traditional comparative research fails to effectively account for these inequities. By integrating data beyond the clinical setting – in a way that supports privacy – we can understand how diverse life circumstances affect treatment efficacy. That understanding is key in improving outcomes and healthcare economics.”

“Providing secure access to comprehensive, linked healthcare datasets will enable life sciences organizations to personalize the patient experiences, support, and enable powerful population-level comparative research to improve precision medicine and personalized care, such as medication adherence, around the world,” added Wilson To, head of worldwide healthcare business development at AWS, in a statement.

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: [email protected]

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS publication.

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