Some organizations, by virtue of their size alone, give new meaning to the words “big data.”


UPMC, a major healthcare provider and insurer based in Pittsburgh, operates 22 hospitals and 400 outpatient sites, with locations in the United States, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Canada and China. The organization’s Insurance Services Division has nearly 2.3 million members.

“We have huge amounts of data, and we do all kinds of work on it,” said Dr. Pamela Peele, Chief Analytics Officer at UPMC Health Plan, Insurance Services Division. “We use data for population health management, knowledge discovery, machine learning, modeling, predictive modeling, business analysis and more.  We bring together a large amount of data in order to understand which members need our assistance and when they need it.”

Healthcare organizations like UPMC face unique data challenges. A host of regulations, from ARRA meaningful use measures to CMS penalties for hospital readmission rates, require utmost efficiency in the handling and delivery of data. It is critical that physicians, providers and insurers receive data when they need it most.

“Data are exploding,” said Peele. “Being able to get our hands on the right data at the right time is the key piece. Of course we can make 500 different dashboards, but does anyone want to look at 500 different dashboards? Nobody wants to do that.”

Healthcare organizations that keep pace with the rapidly changing and complex environment not only serve their clients and patients better, but also stay aligned with the metrics that ensure across-the-board compliance.

“While data can accelerate the organization, data can also paralyze the organization,” said Peele. “Data paralyzes the organization when there’s too much of it. The ability to customize who sees what data, to make decisions to drive the business and to do our population health management, is critical.”

To learn more about how UPMC effectively handles its data, watch our video case study above.

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