Orion Health: Big Data for Big Health Impact

by RaeAnne Marsh

shutterstock-224618095The Center of Excellence that Orion Health opened recently in Scottsdale to be its North American research and solution center aims to enable clinicians to provide more proactive healthcare on a population basis — “trying to understand chronic patients, pre-chronic patients, well and long-term care from a population perspective,” says David Bennett, the company’s executive vice president of Healthier Populations. Using big data analytics — for instance, prescription, claims and clinical data — can help identify patients with specific diseases and then identify gaps in care.

“There is a shift from volume to value, with providers more accountable for outcomes and not just the services they provide,” Bennett notes. After helping identify the population, Orion Health provides care plans and clinical pathways. “The whole model is changing. It requires understanding and defining the care plan for the patient.” And it requires tools to manage the programs. Orion Health’s tools help a medical director to define medical assessments and deploy the care. Software includes alerts and engagement with mobile devices. “Nurses can call and remind the patient about preventive tests, and if they see exacerbations, they can intervene,” Bennett explains.

Orion Health makes healthcare information available anywhere by providing healthcare IT connectivity in nearly all of the 50 United States and more than 30 other countries, and its ability to facilitate date exchange within and among provider organizations, accountable care organizations, health plans, governments and health information exchanges helps to improve care coordination, enable populations health management, enhance quality of care and reduce costs.

After looking at other potential locations nationwide for its new development center, the Auckland, New Zealand-based company selected Arizona because of its strong healthcare network that includes research centers and large hospital systems, says Bennett, specifically naming Translational Genomics Research Institute, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic Hospital and Banner Health. “Also important for us is the good academic environment, so we have a healthy mixture of fresh graduates and senior people on our team.” Arizona State University, he notes, has one of the largest engineering programs in the country, including a focus on big data, bio medicine and computer science; and Grand Canyon University has a new STEM program with healthcare-focused IT and also one of the country’s largest nursing programs. “And [Arizona’s] Medicaid — the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System — program is the the best in the country.”

Bennett, who brings to his position with Orion Health a background of software development successful at a global level (his Cyclone Commerce became one of the largest B2B integration companies in the world) and the personal drive of having a son with cystic fibrosis, describes Orion Health as “passionate about helping physicians with care.” Healthcare, he adds, “has to be mission-driven to change the world, and that is what will attract talent — and keep great students here.”

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