Seven Leading Health Organizations Join Optum Labs Research Collaborative


Date Posted : February 13, 2014

  • Addition of universities, life sciences, care delivery and other organizations will strengthen Optum Labs’ mission to improve health care delivery and patient outcomes
  • Partners benefit from depth of data, collaborative approach to research, scientific expertise and advanced analytics to help drive discovery of new applications and testing of new care pathways

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Feb. 13, 2014 – Optum Labs, the collaborative research and innovation center founded by Optum and Mayo Clinic, today announced the addition of seven new charter partners committed to improving the quality and value of patient care. The announcement follows the recent addition of AARP as Founding Consumer Advocate Organization of the collaborative.

These new partners, which represent a broad cross-section of health care stakeholders, are:

  • American Medical Group Association, Alexandria, Va.
  • Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Mass.
  • Lehigh Valley Health Network, Allentown, Pa.
  • Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE), New York, N.Y.
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Troy, N.Y.
  • Tufts Medical Center, Boston, Mass.
  • University of Minnesota School of Nursing, Minneapolis, Minn.

“As the founding medical partner of Optum Labs, Mayo Clinic is excited to welcome the fresh insights and perspectives that new partners will bring to this collaboration,” said John Noseworthy, M.D., president and CEO of Mayo Clinic. “In addition to having access to large sources of clinical and claims information, all partners will now benefit from the unique viewpoints that others bring as we work to transform health care in the U.S. and truly meet the needs of patients in this country.”

“These additional charter partners will help Optum Labs accelerate the pace of innovation, paving the way for exciting new research initiatives that can be directly translated to improvements in patient care,” said Paul Bleicher, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of Optum Labs.

Optum Labs brings together a community of health care stakeholders dedicated to improving patient care by sharing information assets, technologies, knowledge, tools and scientific expertise. Research is linked to the clinical environment through prototyping and testing in Optum and partners’ care settings, with a goal of achieving knowledge that improves health care delivery and patient outcomes.

Optum Labs participants will have access to information resources, proprietary analytical tools and scientific expertise to help drive the discovery of new applications, testing of new care pathways and other opportunities to drive innovation in wellness and care delivery.

More than 20 major research initiatives are currently underway at Optum Labs, including studies that compare results from randomized clinical trials to analyses of observational data; the effectiveness of various medical devices; research into geographic variation in care patterns; and the most effective approaches to consumer engagement and treatment. Results from Optum Labs research will be shared through publications in scientific journals and presentations at professional meetings. Several projects are slated for publication in mid-2014.

About Optum Labs

Optum Labs was established through a partnership between Optum, a leading information and technology-enabled health services business, and Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research, and education, as an open center for research and innovation. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership of more than 37 million individuals, joined the collaborative as Founding Consumer Advocate Organization in late 2013. Optum Labs brings together a community of partners dedicated to improving patient care by sharing information assets, technologies, knowledge tools, and scientific expertise. Research partners bring diverse perspectives to shared problems, and address questions that reflect patient care needs. Partners have access to in-depth and expansive de-identified clinical and claims data in an environment of innovative thinking and collaboration. Optum Labs is based in Cambridge, Mass. For more information, visit www.optum.com/optumlabs

Comments from Optum Labs Partners

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Feb. 13, 2014 – The statements below may be used with attribution in connection with today’s announcement of new partnerships at Optum Labs.

American Medical Group Association (www.amga.org):

“AMGA members are leading the transformation of health care from volume to value, working to align payment incentives with improving population health and reducing overall cost,” said Donald W. Fisher, Ph.D., CAE, president and CEO of AMGA. “Working with Optum Labs, AMGA researchers and members can identify how to best manage population health, especially what works best for the most challenging patients – those with multiple conditions. Together, we can translate findings into practice, faster and more consistently than in the past.

Media Contact:  Cindy Shekailo, (703) 838-0033 ext. 361, cshekailo@amga.org

Boston University School of Public Health

“As a school of public health, we hope to bring to this partnership a whole new set of questions that large data sets are able to address – not just about the effectiveness of medication, as many studies may look at, but everything from understanding environmental health exposures, to basic epidemiology, to health policy questions. These data represent a broad swath of the population – not just the elderly, as Medicare does, or veterans who are seen in the VA, but children and people of diverse ages and backgrounds. This broadens the opportunities for our faculty and students throughout the institution to explore issues using detailed data representing millions of people.”  -- statement from Dan Berlowitz, M.D., professor of health policy and management at the Boston University School of Public Health

Media Contact:  Lisa Chedekel, 617-571-6370, chedekel@bu.edu

Lehigh Valley Health Network (www.lvhn.org):

“Lehigh Valley is unique in our emphasis on being a premier academic medical institution while at the same time serving as a major community health system,” said Ronald Swinfard, M.D., Lehigh Valley Health Network’s president and CEO. “We believe strongly that expanding our access to resources such as those provided at Optum Labs will enable us to continue to bring world-class capabilities to our medical staff and, most importantly, to the patients we serve.”

Media Contact:  Brian Downs, 484-884-0825, brian.downs@lvhn.org

Pfizer Inc. (www.pfizer.com)

“Pfizer seeks to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of real world data, and we see tremendous benefits that can be achieved sharing and coordinating these efforts at the industry level using advanced technology and analytics available at Optum Labs,” said Marc Berger, M.D., vice president of Real World Data and Analytics at Pfizer.  “We welcome the opportunity to partner with other industry participants who can help achieve broader goals than we each could accomplish individually.”

Media Contact:  Victoria Davis, 484-865-5194, victoria.davis@pfizer.com

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (www.rpi.edu):

“Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is globally transforming biomedical research through the intersection of data science/analytics with biological sciences/bioengineering,” said Jonathan S. Dordick, Ph.D., vice president for research at Rensselaer. “Working with Optum Labs and the other partners, Rensselaer will forge a path from fundamental science to technology development that will result in innovation and discovery. The results of this new partnership will enable health care organizations to make better decisions, make better products, and ultimately, reduce costs of health care delivery.”

Media Contact:  Allison Newman, 518-276-8432, newmaa3@rpi.edu

Tufts Medical Center (www.tuftsmedicalcenter.org):

“Tufts Medical Center is proud to trace its roots to one of the nation’s first permanent medical centers, while emphasizing forward-looking initiatives that drive advances in patient care,” said David Kent, M.D., M.S., director of the Predictive Analytics and Comparative Effectiveness (PACE) Center in the Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies at Tufts Medical Center . “Partnering with Optum Labs gives us access to unparalleled data sources for observational comparative effectiveness research, and enables Tufts Medical Center to bring new findings to its patient population and the broader health care system.”

Media Contact:  Julie Jette, 617-636-3265, jjette@tuftsmedicalcenter.org

University of Minnesota School of Nursing (www.nursing.umn.edu):

“The University of Minnesota School of Nursing is at the forefront of advancing the use of data and analytics to improve patient care. With access to electronic health data representing more than 140 million lives at Optum Labs, we look forward to collaborating with our national and university partners to identify, explore and answer research questions that will lead to better and more consistent evidence-based care," said Connie White Delaney, Ph.D., R.N., dean of the University of Minnesota School of Nursing.

Media Contact:  Barb Schlaefer, 612-626-9079 or 612-618-6797, barbss@umn.edu