NYU School of Medicine Health Care by the Numbers

Institute for Innovations in Medical Education Grants NYU School of Medicine Health Care by the Numbers
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Institute for Innovations in Medical Education Grants NYU School of Medicine Health Care by the Numbers

NYU School of Medicine has created Health Care by the Numbers, a flexible, technology-enabled curriculum 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 is 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. The students can track their own activities.

A new online portal based on students’ experiences allows for self-directed learning.

Analyzing Data to Enhance Population Health

Health Care by the Numbers aims 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 can break that number down according to age, ethnic background, geographic location, illness severity, cost, or length of stay. Such information can help students conceive of new preventive and treatment approaches to a familiar and common diagnosis. 

Our medical students develop skill in examining data across panels of patients, recognize the strengths and pitfalls of analyzing big clinical databases, and demonstrate an ability to work with large data sets to answer clinical questions and improve care quality.