UPMC Holds Second ‘Health Data Palooza’

By: Kelly Bresnan

From an application that will help to put the minds of a patient’s family members at ease, to a platform that examines UPMC’s buzz in the realm of social media, to a tool that gives patients a full picture of procedure costs, it’s clear that the recent “Health Data Palooza” successfully set the stage for innovative thinking.

UPMC’s second palooza brought together employee teams from the Information Services Division to develop prototype solutions for health care problems. Fourteen teams spent Nov. 20 and 21 at the UPMC Technology Development Center (TDC) brainstorming and rapidly developing their ideas with the ultimate goal of improving care and the patient experience.

On the second day, teams wrapped up and presented their projects to event attendees and a panel of judges, composed of UPMC senior leadership and select business and community leaders. Four awards were given to three teams, including the People’s Choice Award. Dan Drawbaugh, chief information officer, awarded the three winning teams with the opportunity to attend an upcoming national palooza.

Events and programs such as this are a valuable opportunity for staff to think “outside the box” and apply their skills and expertise to new areas. “It’s really about a day of innovation for staff. It gives them time to think about some of the problems they observe when they’re out in the field, but don’t really have an opportunity to innovate on while working on current projects,” says Rebecca Kaul, the TDC’s president.

The three solutions chosen for further development are:

  • Gold Medal and People’s Choice Award: UPMC Patient Connect. The UPMC Patient Connect team developed an application that will allow patients to designate a representative who can receive updates on the patient’s care, procedure times, and status through various types of alerts. This application will help to enhance patient care by keeping the patient’s family informed and engaged.
  • Silver Medal: REACH (Respectfully Engaged and Caring Health System) REACH chose to tackle customer satisfaction through the development of an application that will examine mentions of UPMC across social media platforms, allowing for a comprehensive view of perceptions and issues to be addressed.
  • Bronze Medal: My Health Cost Advisor. The My Health Cost Advisor team plans to provide members and patients with a clear picture of the costs associated with a procedure or service through an application that will examine real-time information for cost assurance. In response to health care reform and the national movement toward health care consumerism, this application is designed to increase cost transparency.