Research initiative uses big data to improve patient care

Dec. 20, 2018

Researchers at the University of Colorado College of Nursing are participating in an initiative to improve healthcare outcomes and efficiencies by using large clinical and administrative data in a pediatric acute care setting. The project was funded by a grant received from Data Science to Patient Value (D2V) from the CU School of Medicine.

D2V is a multidisciplinary research initiative that funds projects focusing on using technology and big data and their applications to healthcare through collaborations with multiple stakeholders, including providers, patients, health systems, payers, and policy makers. Also playing key roles in the initiative are the CU College of Nursing and the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH).

The use of big data to improve healthcare delivery is being studied by Principal Investigator John Welton, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Co-Investigators Marcelo Coca Perraillon, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Health, Systems, Management & Policy in the ColoradoSPH and Peggy Jenkins, PhD, RN, assistant professor in the College of Nursing. Their study focuses on developing a database warehouse called the Nursing Value Research Data Warehouse (NVRDW) that collects data for each nurse caring for each patient during hospitalization.

The NVRDW is a large “pool” of data collected from various sources within multiple organizations that can be used to improve patient outcomes or transform healthcare systems and deliver quality care to patients. Additionally, it can be used by researchers as a resource to create innovative strategies that improve patient outcomes.

One of the products from the D2V study is the creation of a consortium of three schools of nursing including the University of Kansas and University of Minnesota to share expertise to collect big data across multiple institutions in the future and leverage the expertise developed from the D2V project to improve the quality of care and optimizing nursing care to lower healthcare costs.

Playing a huge role in the future of healthcare, big data is becoming more important to measure the quality of care provided to patients. Jenkins believes that nurses are just one of many individual interprofessional providers of patient care who can help in improving the quality of healthcare.

Although not all hospitals and healthcare settings have large database warehouses, the multidisciplinary work at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus is a step in the right direction. Problems such as incompatible data systems could make it hard to import data to use to improve quality of care. Patient confidentiality can also become an issue. With large amounts of data such as electronic health records being housed in one database, it can make patients’ information vulnerable to a security breech, so it is important to have clear protocols in place to make the data secure.

Additionally, big data can create higher-value care that is more efficient, effective, higher quality and more cost effective, which can improve the care patients receive from providers in all sectors of the health field. This is particularly essential to nursing care, Jenkins notes.

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus has the full article

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