Predicting a patient’s health path

Predicting a patient’s health path

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."

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Research, relationships road to reducing health disparities

A new collaboration between two programs dedicated to eliminating health disparities, both named for female African-American civil rights leaders, isn't your traditional agreement. 

"So many groups work in silos," said Dr. Bettina Beech, University of Mississippi Medical Center associate vice chancellor for population health and professor of pediatrics and family medicine.

She says that won't be the case in a budding research relationship between UMMC's Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center's Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity in Winston-Salem, N.C. The two entities have recently signed a memorandum of understanding, or MOU, that details their plans to together perform health disparities research across multiple platforms.

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Research, relationships road to reducing health disparities

People of the U: Alexander Soloveichik

People of the U: Alexander Soloveichik

Growing up in Ukraine, in the days when it was under the umbrella of the communist Soviet Union, was a challenge for Alexander Soloveichik. 

Seeking a better life and livelihood, his family left for Israel when Soloveichik was 22. "We had more economic opportunities in Israel. Life in Ukraine was difficult," he said of the country, which today is battling Russian-backed separatists on its eastern side, a growing threat to its establishment in 1991 as an independent state. 

Today, the University of Mississippi Medical Center rehabilitation technician is married with a family, adapting to a third culture as he begins his eighth year in Jackson. He's continuing his on-the-job training in helping patients overcome problems with mobility, or incorporate those limitations into daily life. 

It's his job to assist occupational therapists in helping patients navigate issues with movement following injury or illness. "We want to help them return to a normal life, and to be as independent as they can be," Soloveichik said. "Our patients are needy. I like to see the difference that therapy makes in their lives." 

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Schwartz Rounds, physiology seminar highlight week's events

A number of interesting events is scheduled for the upcoming week at the Medical Center.

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Schwartz Rounds, physiology seminar highlight week's events
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