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Category : Big Data

The University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University and UPMC Form Alliance to Transform Health Care through Big Data

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (PRWEB) March 16, 2015

Today’s health care system generates massive amounts of data –patient information in the electronic health record, diagnostic imaging, prescriptions, genomic profiles, insurance records, even data from wearable devices. Information has always been essential for guiding the care of individuals, but computer tools now make it possible to use that data to provide deeper insights into disease itself.

Leveraging “big data” to revolutionize health care and wellness is the focus of the new Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance, a powerful collaboration announced today by Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC.

For example, the use of smart data could help hospitals and doctors rapidly detect potential new outbreaks and immediately alert staff and authorities to take appropriate actions. Systems based around this principle of finding emerging events in complex data sets have already been made possible by collaborations among UPMC, Pitt, and CMU.

This one-of-a-kind alliance is a wide-reaching commitment to advance technology and create new data-heavy health care innovations over the coming years, resulting in spin-off companies and furthering economic development in the region.

The alliance, funded by UPMC, will see its work carried out by Pitt-led and CMU-led centers, with participation from all three institutions. The centers will work to transform the explosion of health-related data into new technologies, products and services to change the way diseases are prevented and how patients are diagnosed, treated and engaged in their own care.

Using health care data to its full potential will require close collaboration among the leading health sciences research at Pitt, world-class computer science and machine learning at CMU, and the clinical care, extensive patient data and commercialization expertise at UPMC. The close proximity and world-leading talent among these organizations provide the ideal setting to transform all aspects of health care, not only in western Pennsylvania but around the world.

“The complementary strengths of the alliance’s partner institutions will allow us to re-imagine health care for millions of people in our shared, data-driven world,” said Subra Suresh, president of CMU. “Through this collaboration, we will move more rapidly to immediate prevention and remediation, further accelerate the development of evidence-based medicine, and augment disease-centered models with patient-centered models of care.”

The new research centers at CMU and Pitt will be funded over the next six years by UPMC and also will benefit from several hundred million dollars in existing research grants at all three institutions. They promise to create what UPMC CEO Jeffrey Romoff calls an “innovation ecosystem” for health data in the region.

“We are unlocking the potential of data to tackle some of our nation’s biggest challenges: raising the quality and reducing the cost of health care. Not only will this effort benefit patients, but it also will accelerate Pittsburgh’s revitalization,” said Mr. Romoff. Corporate partners and entrepreneurs from around the world will want to be close to this health care data hub, he predicted, just as Google, Apple and Disney already have space in or near Oakland to be close to CMU’s and Pitt’s talented faculty and students.

The alliance will support applied research and commercialization, along with basic foundational research in medicine and computer science. “Through this partnership, our brilliant scientists at Pitt and CMU will have unprecedented resources for turning their innovative ideas into products and services that can truly better the lives of patients and society,” said Patrick Gallagher, chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh. “The knowledge created here will result in the spin-off of many new companies and thousands of new jobs over the next decade.”

Initially, the Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance will include two research and development centers: the Center for Machine Learning and Health (CMLH), led by founding director Eric Xing, Ph.D., a CMU professor in the Department of Machine Learning; and the Center for Commercial Applications of Healthcare Data (CCA), spearheaded by Michael Becich, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Pitt. Scientists from all three institutions will participate in the work of each center.

The CMLH will work on challenging problems at the intersections of health care and machine learning. Data from sources as varied as electronic medical records, genomic sequencing, insurance records and wearable sensors will be utilized to directly improve health care. For example, imagine a smartphone app that suggests the single dietary change that will most improve your health, based on your genetic makeup and medical history. Or suppose a physician receives an automatic alert when a patient enters the earliest stages of rejecting a transplanted organ and can react while the condition is most easily treatable. The center will focus on five areas: big health care data analytics; personalized medicine and disease modeling; issues of privacy, security and compliance in the context of big data; data-driven patient and provider education and training; and a new general framework for big data in health care.

The CCA at the University of Pittsburgh will research and invent new technology for potential use in commercial theranostics and imaging systems for patients and doctors. (Theranostics works to develop individualized therapies for various diseases, and to combine diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities.) These technologies will be based on intelligently engineered big data solutions. Some areas of focus for CCA will be: personalized medicine for understanding diseases such as cancer and various lung disorders; genomics and imaging data; and methods for data capture and health care analytics. A key goal is new technologies and methods to create actionable information.

UPMC Enterprises, the commercialization arm of UPMC, will lead the efforts to turn these innovative ideas into new, for-profit companies and jobs, building on its nearly 20-year track record of investing in and growing companies that solve health care problems.

For more information about the Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance, visit

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About Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon ( is a private, internationally ranked research university with programs in areas ranging from science, technology and business, to public policy, the humanities and the arts. More than 12,000 students in the university’s seven schools and colleges benefit from a small student-to-faculty ratio and an education characterized by its focus on creating and implementing solutions for real problems, interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation. A global university, Carnegie Mellon has campuses in Pittsburgh, Pa., California’s Silicon Valley and Qatar, and programs in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and Mexico.

About Pitt

An internationally renowned public research university founded in 1787, the University of Pittsburgh ( is a leading center of learning and research in the arts, sciences, humanities, professions, and health sciences. Pitt ranks fifth among all U.S. universities in terms of the competitive grants awarded to members of its faculty by the National Institutes of Health, and consistently ranks among the country’s leading U.S. public research universities, according to The Top American Research Universities report issued by the Center for Measuring University Performance. With 16 schools and colleges and 35,000 students on five campuses, the University offers nearly 400 distinct degree programs.

About UPMC

A world-renowned health care provider and insurer, Pittsburgh-based UPMC is inventing new models of accountable, cost-effective, patient-centered care. It provides more than $ 887 million a year in benefits to its communities, including more care to the region’s most vulnerable citizens than any other health care institution. The largest nongovernmental employer in Pennsylvania, UPMC integrates more than 60,000 employees, more than 20 hospitals, more than 500 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites, a more than 2.5-million-member health insurance division, and international and commercial operations. Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, UPMC ranks No. 12 in the prestigious U.S. News & World Report annual Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals — and No. 1 in Pennsylvania. For more information, go to

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Managing Cyber Risks a High Priority for Organizations Responsible for Protecting Healthcare Data

New York, NY (PRWEB) March 07, 2015

On February 4th, 2015, Anthem Inc., the nation’s second largest health insurer, disclosed that they had been the victim of a data breach which saw the personal information of 80 million customers compromised, the largest breach of its kind in history. The ripples of that attack are still being felt far and wide, as this article published last week on February 28th in Modern Healthcare shows.

“Healthcare data can be a real prize for hackers,” says Joe Caruso, founder and CEO/CTO of Global Digital Forensics (GDF), a premier national provider of cyber security solutions headquartered in New York City. “To the casual observer it may seem like the kind of information healthcare providers and insurers hold is not as problematic as having actual credit card numbers and access to financial accounts fall into the wrong hands, but that is just not the case. With a social security number and a date of birth, for instance, a hacker could open a brand new credit account and bleed it dry before the victim even realizes it happened. They wouldn’t see it in their monthly statements no matter how vigilant they are, because they wouldn’t even know the account exists, much less how to access it. Personal information can also be used to craft very personalized and convincing spear phishing campaigns, the number one vector hackers use to gain access credentials and account information.”

A big job.

“The increasing sophistication and sheer magnitude of attacks can be daunting for healthcare providers and insurers, especially since the personal data the healthcare industry revolves around is highly attractive to hackers,” says Caruso. “So many things in the digital world have converged to make life easier for cyber criminals. Dark Web sites make it easy for them to buy and sell stolen information, the global connection puts entities in play from other countries which can make it extremely difficult if not impossible to find and/or prosecute the criminals, sophisticated exploit kits can be easily bought and put the power of advanced hackers into the hands of just about anyone, and then there are things like the BYOD “Bring Your Own Device” movement, which has become the norm as organizations rely more heavily on digital connectivity to save time and make things as convenient as possible for their customers, and with this shift, introducing a vast array of new cyber threats to deal with. There are just so many ways to be compromised, and in a world of instant 24/7 media, making headlines for the wrong reasons certainly doesn’t inspire confidence in those they have provided services to, making it more difficult to keep customers, attract new ones, or get old ones back after a successful attack.”

Improving cyber security posture the right way.

“With the cyber threat landscape always maintaining an ever-evolving fluid state, perfect cyber security is simply impossible,” says Caruso. “The very nature of cyber security today is reactive. As threats get developed and vulnerabilities get exploited, there is always some victim at the starting point that had to experience it before it’s identified, exposed, documented and fixes or patches are built to eradicate the problem. That’s the harsh reality and any “cyber security specialist” that says otherwise is not being forthright with their clients. But that’s not to say healthcare providers should just crawl under a rock and give up, because excellent cyber protection can still be achieved by adhering to the basics, step one always being a comprehensive threat assessment and penetration test designed to test an organization’s unique situation, from equipment, policies and function, to personnel procedures and habits, as well as the regulatory compliance obligations the healthcare industry faces.”

“Once weaknesses are exposed, we deliver detailed reports breaking them down and offer remediation options to help strengthen all the links in the chain. We understand one size doesn’t fit all; a restaurant, a hospital and a military defense contractor will obviously have very different needs to be considered. But with our background spanning two decades of handling a great diversity of clients, including the healthcare industry, we won’t be overwhelmed or overmatched to handle any situation,” says Caruso.

What if an incident has just occurred, or is occurring right now?

Global Digital Forensics has responded to cyber intrusion incidents for some of the most recognized entities in the world. With a network of experienced emergency incident responders strategically situated across the country and the globe, Global Digital Forensics can respond within hours, not days, to a major cyber incident and help the client identify the breach or attack, control it, help meet regulatory compliance issues and help clients survive the aftermath of an attack, which always has the potential to severely erode customer confidence and trust if not properly handled.

*Global Digital Forensics is a recognized industry leader in the fields of computer forensics, cyber security and emergency incident response, with years of experience assisting clients in the government, banking, healthcare, education and corporate arenas. For a free consultation with a Global Digital Forensics specialist, call 1-800-868-8189 about tailoring a cost-effective plan which will meet your unique needs, without wasting resources on solutions you simply don’t need. Emergency responders are also standing by 24/7 to handle intrusion and data breach emergencies whenever and wherever they arise. Time is critical if a cyber incident has occurred, so don’t hesitate to get help. For more information, visit

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eMazzanti Technologies, a NYC area IT consultant and managed services provider (MSP), explains predictive analytics and its practical applications for business in a new article intended to help organizations take advantage of the technology.

“Business intelligence technologies are helping businesses of all sizes compete more effectively,” said James Mazzanti, Senior Developer, eMazzanti Technologies. “The basis for developing predictive analytics capabilities is a solid data foundation.”

Below are a few excerpts from the article “What is Predictive Analytics?” Read the full article here.

“In business, predictive analytics is used to look at past and current data to identify opportunities, analyze risks and understand customers. Marketers use predictive analytics to optimize campaigns and determine next steps. Credit scoring is perhaps the best-known predictive analytics application.”

“The answers generated by predictive analytics affect all of us. Increasingly vital applications include clinical decision support in healthcare and fraud detection in banking, credit and insurance. Customer relationship management (CRM), government, law enforcement and manufacturing all benefit from predictive analytics.”

“Professional consultants have the real-world experience to create a practical, successful data model. Off-the-shelf products can’t integrate everything from all of your data sources so it’s wise to choose a consultant you can trust with an excellent track record to guide the process.”

eMazzanti Can Help

Big Data and increasingly powerful business intelligence tools like predictive analytics are transforming business processes. Expert assistance is available to guide development and implementation of the technology in your organization.

To learn more about how to apply predictive analytics and data warehouse technologies to make better decisions and grow your business contact us at info(at) or call 1-866-EMAZZANTI.

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About eMazzanti Technologies

eMazzanti’s team of trained, certified IT experts rapidly deliver cloud and mobile solutions, multi-site implementations, 24×7 outsourced network management, remote monitoring and support to increase productivity, data security and revenue growth for clients ranging from professional services firms to high-end global retailers.

Serving more than 400 Hoboken, NJ, NYC area and international customers, eMazzanti is Microsoft’s 2012 Partner of the Year and 2013 Northeast Region Partner of the Year, a 5X WatchGuard Partner of the Year and has made the Inc. 5000 list five years running. Contact: Carl Mazzanti 201-360-4400 or Twitter: @emazzanti Facebook:

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