IBM, Oracle to Build UPMC Data Warehouse for Personalized Medicine

IBM and Oracle are among the IT vendors that will collaborate with UPMC on data warehousing and analytics technology that will enable advances in personalized medicine.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) has announced plans to invest in data warehousing and analytic tools that will enable health professionals to create predictive models enabling personalized medical treatment.

The data warehouse will store clinical, financial, administrative and genomic information that will allow doctors to improve patient outcomes, boost research and reduce health care costs, UPMC reported.

Announced on Oct. 1, the five-year, $100 million investment will incorporate IT infrastructure from dbMotion, IBM, Informatica and Oracle.

Using personalized medicine, doctors are able to determine the best treatment for a patient based on genetic and clinical information.

"This comprehensive analytics approach will enable us to treat each patient in a personalized way to produce the best possible results," Dr. Steven D. Shapiro, chief medical and scientific officer at UPMC, said in a statement.

With the data available for personalized medicine, doctors could predict outbreaks of illnesses by examining the electronic health records (EHRs) of a large patient population. In addition, they'd be able to tell which treatments would be least toxic for cancer patients, UPMC reported.

With the data warehousing infrastructure, UPMC will be able to add genomic information to the existing 3.2 petabytes at UPMC, said Shapiro. The cost of sequencing genes is decreasing, which enables UPMC to add large amounts of genomic data, he noted.

Among the applications UPMC will use for the project are Oracle Enterprise Healthcare Analytics, a data warehousing application, and Oracle Identity and Access Management Suite Plus, which allows the health system to maintain compliance with regulations and protect data.

"By leveraging Oracle's integrated health sciences applications and complete technology stack, UPMC will gain expanded insight into clinical, research and operational domains—all of which are critical to the delivery of personalized and cost-effective care," Neil de Crescenzo, senior vice president and general manager for Oracle Health Sciences, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, IBM tools such as Netezza, Cognos TM1 and SPSS analytic software will allow UPMC to build predictive models for medical data and create reports using IBM Cognos business intelligence software.

The database will provide access to more than 200 sources of information across the health system's insurance plans, labs and pharmacies. Clinicians, researchers and administrators will have secure access to the data in real time.

"This effort represents the new intersection of technology and patient care, enabling UPMC to find the most effective ways to manage and mine valuable health information," Dan Pelino, general manager of IBM health care and life sciences, said in a statement. "This is the next logical step in UPMC’s strategic plan and in IBM's strategic partnership with UPMC to build one of the most advanced information technology infrastructures in the industry."

Analytics, developments in science and access to EHRs along with analytics are critical to improving personalized patient care, Dr. Oscar Marroquin, interventional cardiologist and director of provider analytics for the health system, said in a UPMC video.

"There's a data explosion that's going to be occurring with genetic sequencing and personalized medicine," Daniel Drawbaugh, chief information officer for UPMC, added in the video.