You're a University of Mississippi Medical Center heart patient, and your care is tailored to a mathematical analysis showing that in a grouping of 10 patients with your symptoms, seven are predicted to have a heart attack over the next year - and you are in that seven.
It's just one example of predictive analytics, a method of crunching data that only in recent years has become an effective tool in the health-care arena for forecasting and treating diseases.
Leading that effort at the Medical Center is Dr. John Showalter, assistant professor in the School of Medicine and UMMC chief health information officer. He's a trailblazer in predictive analytics and began delving into that electronic health-care tool a decade ago.
He and his six-member team in the new Center for Informatics and Analytics hope to finish validating data gathered via analytics from UMMC patients so that by this fall, it can be used for creating individualized treatment plans.
"We're using a lot of data - things like a patient's vital signs, lab results, whether or not they smoke, what medications they're on, and how close they live to a pharmacy - to identify their health risks," Showalter said. "It's a mathematical approach to identifying health risks, and ideally, at the patient level."
Showalter's innovative use of predictive analytics has garnered plenty of national attention. He's among a handful of recipients named an Analytics All-Star by the magazine Health Data Management, which recognizes organizations and individuals creatively using analytics to improve the health of their patients and by doing so, helping the financial performance of their organizations.
In naming Showalter its All-Star Clinical Visionary, the magazine wrote: "Showalter is a force behind UMMC's effort to address heart disease in Mississippi using clinical predictive analytics.
"Using the predictive insights, UMMC is able to identify high-risk patients and to provide interventions in a tactical, efficient and effective way," the magazine said.
Much of Showalter's efforts have been concentrated in achieving better health outcomes for patients suffering from heart disease, a leading cause of death in Mississippi. He and his team are working with the predictive analytics company Jvion to take in hand their clinical data and use it to predict which individuals are at the highest risk of heart attack. "They are combining that data with environmental factors that are based on that patient's zip code," Showalter said.
Just as a lab test involves analyzing blood, Showalter said, "predictive analytics is an analysis of your electronic health record data. The results come back, just like they do on a blood test, and it will figure into clinical decision-making."