Thanks to an innovative effort by a firm spun off from the Cleveland Clinic in 2009, hospitals can now track their best practices, determine their most efficient use of research dollars and program funding, and monitor best patient outcomes by tapping into trend-spotting software that has long been used by other industries.
Population Explorer, a product of Cleveland-based Explorys Inc., uses data-crunching software similar to the kind of technology used by large, fast search engines such as Yahoo! and Googlem thereby giving healthcare systems a new perspective on the mountains of information accumulated on patient care.
"In almost every other industry, this kind of technology has been in use for a long time," explains Explorys President and Chief Technology Officer Charlie Lougheed. "It allows them to see trends and correlations that you can use to make a difference in patient's lives. It lets hospitals become more efficient, offer better care and in most cases, do it less expensively."
Explorys doesn't examine individual patient information, instead looking at the outcomes of care and how hospitals arrived at decisions that resulted in the best outcomes for patients. The result is a roadmap to improved, efficient care.
Born from a smaller prototype that the Cleveland Clinic started building five years ago, Population Explorer took off when the hospital brought in two "big data" veterans in early 2009. Lougheed and Stephen McHale (now Explorys' CEO) had founded Everstream Inc., a data analytics company focused on media trends, in 1999, later selling it to a Georgia company for $15 million. When the duo took over the new project, they immediately started expanding the scope of the clinic's software. Months later, Explorys was spun off to commercialize the system. Since then, its growth has been explosive.
It now mines trend information from not only the Cleveland Clinic, but University Hospitals and MetroHealth hospitals in Cleveland, Akron-based Summa Health System, as well as MedStar Health in Columbia, Md. Other national health care providers are due to come online soon as well, reports Lougheed.
Others have taken notice, too. Gartner Inc., a leading information technology research and advisory company based in Connecticut, recently named Explorys as one of five of its "Cool Vendors in Life Sciences" winners for 2011.
After starting with 10 employees and a modest budget, Explorys has already expanded to 25 employees. Lougheed expects the company to double its staff again by the end of the year, with further growth planned for next year.
Source: Charlie Lougheed, President & CTO
Writer: Dave Malaska