Storage News

Improved Patient Care Focus in Google, Tableau Collaboration

The Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine implements Google Cloud Platform and Tableau to improve personalized patient care.

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- The Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine (CCPM) announced that it is using Tableau Software and Google Cloud Platform to analyze patient data and improve patient care.

The healthcare organization is using Tableau’s software to develop targeted treatments based on individual patient health histories to better predict and diagnose diseases. The analytic software will allow clinicians to more deeply examine genetic makeup and its correlation with health history when it comes to certain diseases.

CCPM is supporting Tableau with its datacenter, Health Data Compass, which holds the genomic data needed for the analytics process. Health Data Compass stores the data taken from all CCPM electronic health records (EHRs) and the EHRs from UCHealth, Children’s Hospital Colorado, and CU Medicine.

The records also contain insurance claims, public health records, and environmental data with intentions to include social media and wearable data in the future.

To prepare for big data analytics, Health Data Compass needed to be migrated to a more flexible and scalable environment. The organization did not have the funds to support a project of that scale in its traditional on-premise storage environment.

Over a six-month period, Health Data Compass was moved to Google Cloud Platform and Tableau to better handle projected growth and bigger data sets. With Google Cloud Platform, CCPM was able to use Google BigQuery to ensure the data was being stored and shared within a HIPAA-compliant environment.

CCPM is also using Google Cloud Platform and Tableau to develop new tools to dig deeper into data collected. Tableau gives users a self-service-based visual analytics platform with connectivity to Google BigQuery for live analytics that can be immediately compared.

The Tableau dashboard also provides role-based access for clinicians so they can interpret the data easily and accurately.

"We take our responsibility to protect patient data very seriously. The Google Cloud Platform provides significant advantages in data security over on-premises systems and helps us achieve HIPAA compliance," CCPM Associate Director for Health Data Compass and Director of Enterprise Architecture Michael Ames said in a statement.

CCPM experienced an unexpected benefit from implementing Google BigQuery in Health Data Compass. The solution was able to make connections between duplicated records and combine or eliminate them accordingly.

“Information about patients comes from multiple sources, so Health Data Compass needs to ensure that records aren't duplicated,” CCPM said in a statement. “For example, it must determine whether 'Bobby Peterson' treated as a youth at Children's Hospital Colorado is the same as 'Roberta Peterson' treated as an adult years later at UCHealth.” 

Health Data Compass holds nearly 6 million EHRs and CCPM previously did not hold the processing power or budget to sort through all the records.

CCPM has successfully completed its comprehensive pilot using Google Cloud Platform and Tableau and is prepared to fully implement the solution this year.

The organization hopes its analysts can perform queries much faster than with its previous solution. CCPM will use the data collected to form alternative queries with clinicians and researchers to form complex concepts.

In addition to the advancements in data analytics and patient care, CCPM benefits from cutting back on IT infrastructure costs. The cloud platform scales quickly and does not require the organization to invest in additional hardware.

The flexibility of the cloud platform offers also makes it easier to integrate data from new sources because it doesn’t have to deal with opening ports or scaling around firewalls.

"Combining genomics with clinical data and the exploding diversity of other personal data to provide individualized patient care is the frontier of medicine and research,” CCPM’s Ames concluded. “Google Cloud Platform and Tableau provide us with the big data processing and analytics power we need to give researchers tools to improve healthcare for millions of people."