As an organization with a long history of research innovation, the University of California and University of California Health (UCH) rely on data analysis to fuel continual improvement. From the COVID-19 pandemic to health equity to our everyday patient care, UCH physicians and researchers seek data to help answer today’s most pressing questions.
In recognition of this important need, the University of California Health created a center dedicated to providing data and data analysis to help our clinicians improve care, the Center for Data-driven Insights and Innovation (CDI2).
The center uses de-identified patient electronic health records from our academic health centers. In addition, CDI2 uses claims data from UC’s self-funded health plans and external sources of data such as Vizient and California's Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. The result is a vast set of clinical information that reflects the diversity of California's population, which is essential to improving health equity.
Looking at Large Sets of Data
Because UCH academic health centers collectively see so many patients, we’re able to look at large sets of data that helps us identify trends and best practices.
For example, since 2012 (when UCH started its conversion to electronic health records), UCH hospitals and clinics have had more than 200 million patient encounters (e.g., office or hospital visits) with nearly 150,000 health care providers. In those encounters, we conducted 400+ million procedures, ordered or prescribed 600+ million medications, made more than 2 billion vital signs and test result measurements, and were able to make and assign more than 600 million diagnosis codes. And this dataset grows with each passing day.
What does all this information mean? It means that when physicians and researchers come to us with a specific question about how they can improve patient care, we can begin the process of helping them answer it using data.
To do this, we find information about how well UCH patients are doing today. We look at the measures that are already in place to track what is considered best practice for a specific condition or procedure. If we’re falling short on some measures (or for some groups over others), we’ll quickly see that. And then we’ll exchange information across our academic health centers to see how we can, together, change our current approaches.
How We’re Using Data to Improve Care Across California
At each of our academic health centers, our physicians, researchers and other clinicians make data-informed decisions that improve today's care and support the discoveries of tomorrow.
The following are a few of the many examples of how we’re taking that practice and using it to benefit all Californians — by coordinating the exchange of data across UCH.
Improving Health Across Populations
Looking at data from across University of California Health allows us to drill down to track the health of certain populations. This helps us identify where some groups of people (or neighborhoods) do not have the same health outcomes as other groups — something known as health disparities. Health disparities exist across many conditions, including in cancer, heart disease and diabetes. By analyzing our data and sharing best practices across the UCH system, we can begin to identify better ways to address health inequities.
Using Research to Inform Patient Care
Using data to improve clinical care is only one part of the data analytics equation at University of California. UC performs nearly 10 percent of all academic research funded by U.S. federal agencies each year — fueled in large part by sharing data and analytics. We are typically awarded one in seven National Institutes of Health grants.