Irving-based HMS, Australia Team Up to Solve a Global Challenge: Rising Health Care Costs

When the government of Australia was looking to drive down health care costs, it found a company halfway across the world to help: Irving-based technology company HMS.On Tuesday, the publicly-traded company announced the U.S. launch of research that will be part of the Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre, a task force started by the Australian government that includes more than 80 organizations from health care technology providers to universities. It also announced the first two American universities that will join the initiative are Southern Methodist and Stanford.HMS is providing a key piece of the puzzle: A massive database of more than 2 million patients that researchers can use to find patterns and flag people who are at-risk. Researchers will use the Medicaid claims data that HMS clients agree to share. It will be stripped of personal details like names and addresses that could identify a patient. The company is also investing about $2.4 million in the center's 7-year project.SMU researchers will look for risk factors that increase the odds of a patient returning to the hospital. Stanford researchers will look for risky prescribing practices and patient traits that up the likelihood of opioid addiction. The findings will be published in peer-reviewed journals and used to inspire products that can be commercialized.The Australian government-backed effort has raised more than $160 million and recruited universities, companies and other partners to look for solutions to a vexing problem for both the U.S. and Australia: Health care costs that are skyrocketing, even as outcomes lag behind. For HMS, the research could lead to new business opportunities. It could inform predictive models and other tech-based tools that can be used by clients, such as states' Medicaid and Medicare programs and private health care companies.Victor Pantano, chief executive of Digital Health CRC, said the immensity and significance of the project reminds him of the Apollo space program. He lives in Canberra, the Australian capital. It's near a former NASA tracking station called Honeysuckle Creek. The tracking station — a collaboration between scientists in the U.S. and Australia — received and relayed to the world the first images of astronaut Neil Armstrong walking on the moon.  Continue reading...

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