Mayo Clinic, UnitedHealth form health research lab in Massachusetts [Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.]
|By Christopher Snowbeck, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
But now, amid more examples of collaboration between insurers and health care providers across the country,
Both companies are
The research lab is near the
The lab will employ 50 to 60 people who will bring together claims data from
"This partnership between two
One barrier to doing such research, officials said, has been that patient information tended to be gathered in two distinct areas -- the claims data collected by health insurers and the clinical data stored by doctors and hospitals. The new research center will bring together those two data sets so that doctors can better understand the total cost of care for patients, said Dr.
"We believe that patients should expect more out of U.S. health care -- both higher quality, but also affordability," Noseworthy said. "This strategic research alliance allows us, for the first time, to truly examine best outcomes for patients at lower cost."
All patient data used by researchers in the lab will be stripped of identifying information to preserve confidentiality, Slavitt said. Optum will contribute data from more than 100 million patients who received care over a 20-year period; Mayo will contribute 5 million clinical records spanning a 15-year period.
"Optum and Mayo can't do this alone," Noseworthy said. "We'll be interested in asking other health care organizations ... to join this effort."
In the past, both groups have independently talked about working to define "best practices" for medical care, said
The new research effort is a high-profile example of trying to bridge the gap, but there have been others.
Parente pointed out that
"This signals a sea change from the
"Strategically, it's kind of brilliant because it's two very large national if not global brands," he added. "How much really comes out of it remains to be seen."
The federal Affordable Care Act of 2010 encourages doctors and hospitals to take some of the financial risk for the health care costs of patients, and the push for these "accountable care organizations" has prompted some care providers to partner with insurers. But the
Still, the effort dovetails with some of the broader themes in the federal health law including a push for research that compares the effectiveness of competing treatment options. Officials said that
The large data set available to researchers at
Heart-failure patients often contend with the condition over long periods of time, making repeat visits to the hospital, Roger said. With the data at
"The goal, obviously, will be to share that knowledge with the medical community by research publication and other dissemination means," Roger said.
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