HHS announces big data analytics network

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Officials from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have confirmed that Archimedes, a San Francisco-based healthcare data modeling firm, has been awarded a contract to develop a large-scale medical analytics system.

The web-based interface, known as the Archimedes Healthcare Simulator, will be developed with assistance from Kaiser Permanente and promises to enable physicians and healthcare IT personnel to access significant volumes of patient information and medical demographic data. Officials claim the system will improve medical research and analytics, and enable researchers to assess the effects of specific healthcare interventions more quickly and effectively.

“The quality and cost of healthcare are determined by decisions made by policymakers, physicians and others,” David Eddy, founder and chief medical officer of Archimedes, said in a statement. “To make those decisions wisely, decision makers need to know the consequences of the different options they face. For a high proportion of decisions, the only feasible way to get the needed information is to use mathematical models that integrate existing evidence, and are validated against evidence.”

The Archimedes Healthcare Simulator will be made available to a range of government healthcare agencies, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute and the Food & Drug Administration.

Using healthcare modeling data based on the Archimedes system, Kaiser Permanente suggested that aspirin, lovastatin and lisinopril be administered to patients at high risk of serious cardiac conditions. Based on this recommendation, rates of heart attacks and strokes observed in at-risk individuals fell by 60 percent during a two-year period.

Key objectives of the system include improving preventative policy guidelines, federal incentive programs, in addition to evaluating the effectiveness of different treatment options and healthcare IT systems. Officials say the network will also be used to design clinical trials, more accurately forecast the costs of federal healthcare initiatives and estimate the return on investment of intervention programs.