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The Dallas Morning News: HMS, Australia team up to solve a global health challenge

SMU News

Originally Posted: May 15, 2019

Southern Methodist University (SMU) has teamed up with Texas-based HMS, the Digital Health CRC (Cooperative Research Centre) and Stanford University to tackle some of the world’s most significant health challenges using ‘big data.’ Dallas Morning News’ business reporter Melissa Repko covered the news on the collaboration, which was announced on Tuesday.

There are two key health care challenges that the coalition is looking to address: the global opioid epidemic and the high rates of avoidable hospital readmissions. The first research project conducted by Stanford University students will tackle the opioid crisis. The second project–led by Daniel Heitjan, Director of the PhD Program in Biostatistics at SMU and UT Southwestern–will focus on preventable hospital readmissions, which is when patients unexpectedly return to a hospital within 30 days of an earlier hospital stay.

As Repko reported, HMS is providing a key piece of the puzzle: A massive database of more than 2 million patients that researchers can use to find patterns and flag people who are at risk. Researchers will use the Medicaid claims data that HMS clients agree to share. It will be stripped of personal details such as names and addresses that could identify a patient.

Created last year by the Australian government with a seven-year grant, the Digital Health CRC is comprised of more than 80 businesses, universities and health technology providers. Its goal, working with HMS, SMU and Stanford University, is to develop and test digital health solutions that will solve “a vexing problem for both the U.S. and Australia: Health care costs that are skyrocketing, even as outcomes lag behind,” Repko wrote. READ MORE