April 11, 2019

Using Analytics to Improve Healthcare Outcomes in Oncology


Health analytics may be the answer to improving quality of care for cancer patients and reducing costs. The Oncology Care Model (OCM), an initiative of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), provides financial incentives to oncology practices that demonstrate high-quality and more coordinated patient care, as well as adherence to treatment guidelines for patients undergoing chemotherapy. Launched in 2016, the five-year pilot payment project has now reached the halfway point.

Technology has supported participating practices’ success in value-based care in multiple ways, reports Healthcare IT News. For instance, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center in Pittsburgh uses a platform from Integra Connect, a specialty care health IT vendor, which provides population health analytics to identify the highest-impact opportunities to improve quality and cost in alignment with value-based care requirements. "This is especially important for our successful participation in the Oncology Care Model program," Rushir Choksi, MD, told Healthcare IT News. "For example, Integra Connect analytics help us understand our patients' incidence of inpatient admissions, ER visits, and hospice care – the three most powerful levers for managing cost of care. We are able to analyze usage by cancer type, by provider, by location, at an individual level and more."

The market for population health analytics tools is booming, as is the field of health informatics, which merges information technology, information management, and healthcare. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts job growth in health informatics will increase 17% by 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Now more than ever, there is a need for healthcare and IT professionals who can integrate and manage new technologies and data into healthcare-related workflows.

The University of Miami’s UOnline Master of Science in Health Informatics prepares healthcare and IT professionals to advance their careers by offering rigorous courses taught by high-caliber faculty who are respected experts in the field. Dr. Steven Gerst is a leader in the current technical revolution that is taking place in healthcare. He has been at the forefront of every major change in healthcare over the last 40 years.

Gerst, currently an “Entrepreneur in Residence” at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, holds degrees from Columbia University (M.D., M.P.H and B.A.) and Emory (M.B.A), as well as professional certificates from Harvard and Wharton. Most recently he has been involved in the medical device industry, remote patient monitoring, chronic care management, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, genomics, and telemedicine. In the classroom, he uses his experience, expertise, and interests to teach health informatics students.

In my public health course, I am teaching genomics, epi-genomics, and precision medicine,” says Gerst. “The nice thing about being in this field is that it is the cutting edge of healthcare. The materials that I teach are what we are also currently developing with some of the largest electronic medical records, health IT companies, health systems, health insurers, and private equity companies in the world. We are able to teach the students about what is coming because we are the ones bringing it to market.

Technology is behind the Oncology Care Model’s impressive results to date, according to Healthcare IT News. It has provided cancer centers with unprecedented levels of visibility to understand their patient populations, and it has improved their ability to target appropriate interventions to the cancer patients who need them.

If you are ready to be at the forefront of patient care and health information technology, the University of Miami’s online Master of Science in Health Informatics program provides you with the skills needed to advance your career, increase your earning potential, develop professionally, and grow your network. To find out more, call an enrollment advisor at 800-411-2290 or visit the site for more information.