Hospital Association Aims to Use Big Data to Spot Bigger Trends

The New Jersey Hospital Association is launching a new program, CHART, to utilize big data in hopes of spotting the underlying problems behind the medical issues its members tackle.

Are there gaps in New Jersey’s healthcare coverage? One of the state’s medical groups is turning to big data to find out.

The New Jersey Hospital Association recently announced the creation of the Center for Health Analytics, Research, and Transformation (CHART), which aims to use analytics techniques, along with predictive modeling, to get a grasp on the underlying problems that might be affecting NJHA’s members and the state’s health.

The association hopes to use this analysis to work with members, policymakers, and others to respond proactively to health issues that arise. In a news release, NJHA President and CEO Cathy Bennett said the goal of the program was to better understand the structural issues at play.

“So many of the problems we see in healthcare today—racial and ethnic disparities, access to care barriers, variations in use of healthcare services, variables in access and funding of prevention and wellness—require a deeper dive into why,” she explained, adding that good data “shows us the root causes of these problems.”

NJHA’s first attempt to dive into data with CHART, coming this fall, will be a study that evaluates mental health and substance use claims. The goal of the white paper will be to get an idea of the scale of the crisis while identifying places where resources are needed. The association will also attempt to find hot spots for chronic care needs, explained Sean Hopkins, NJHA’s senior vice president of CHART.

“Our goal is to use data in a new way to educate providers of all types, as well as policymakers and opinion leaders, to facilitate communication and care coordination where there are opportunities for proactive change for improved chronic disease management,” Hopkins added.

The association, which plans to bring out a variety of reports through the CHART program, has been leaning on a tech mindset of late: Earlier this year, NJHA announced it would fund a software program that would better track opioid prescriptions and make data on their use available to medical professionals in real time. The goal? To identify patients who are traveling to multiple facilities to get opioid prescriptions.

(iLexx/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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