Health Care by the Numbers
NYU Grossman School of Medicine created Health Care by the Numbers, a flexible, technology-enabled curriculum designed to train medical students in using big data—extremely large and complex data sets—to improve care coordination and quality. Principal investigator Marc M. Triola, MD, launched the initiative in 2013 with a grant from the American Medical Association.
This three-year blended curriculum was founded on patient panel databases, derived from deidentified data gathered from NYU Langone’s outpatient physician practices and government-provided open data from the 2.5 million patients admitted each year to New York State hospitals. Students could track their own activities.
An online portal based on students’ experiences allows for self-directed learning.
Analyzing Data to Enhance Population Health
Health Care by the Numbers aimed to provide the tools and skills medical students need to care for individuals and entire populations.
For instance, there were more than 23,000 admissions for asthma to New York State hospitals in 2014. A student could break that number down according to age, ethnic background, geographic location, illness severity, cost, or length of stay. Such information could help students conceive of new preventive and treatment approaches to a familiar and common diagnosis.
Our medical students developed skill in examining data across panels of patients, recognized the strengths and pitfalls of analyzing big clinical databases, and demonstrated an ability to work with large data sets to answer clinical questions and improve care quality.