THE GE­OG­RA­PHY OF DIS­EASE

There are plenty of doc­tors, but no white coats, in the Cam­bridge, Mass. of­fices of Op­tum­labs™.

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With a fo­cus on sci­ence and dis­cov­ery, the re­search and in­no­va­tion col­lab­o­ra­tive ex­am­ines data, not pa­tients. Op­tum® part­ners across the en­tire health sys­tem in help­ing solve health care’s big­gest chal­lenges. Its goal is to help em­ploy­ers, in­surance com­pa­nies, providers, life sci­ence or­ga­ni­za­tions, gov­ern­ments and oth­ers un­der­stand health FDUH LQ DOO LWV FRPSOH[LW\ DQG ÀQG ZD\V WR LPSURYH FDUH and re­duce the costs. The Op­tum™ Com­mu­ni­ty­health dataset tracks close to 100 dif­fer­ent health met­rics in more than 300 com­mu­ni­ties QDWLRQZLGH HQDEOLQJ UHVHDUFKHUV WR TXLFNO\ YLVXDOL]H DQG un­der­stand key dif­fer­ences and sim­i­lar­i­ties across mar­kets. 7KH SURSULHWDU\ GDWDVHW SURYLGHV UHVHDUFKHUV ZLWK LQIRUPDWLRQ IURP PRUH WKDQ PLOOLRQ SDWLHQWV³ZLWK DOO WKH GDWD anonymized to en­sure pa­tient pri­vacy. ,W RIIHUV FRPSDULVRQV RI KHDOWK ZHOO EHLQJ VRFLDO IDFWRUV DQG KHDOWKFDUH V\VWHP TXDOLW\ LQ FRPPXQLWLHV DFURVV WKH 8 6 8VLQJ WKLV GDWD HPSOR\ HUV FDQ LQYHVWLJDWH ZKLFK in­ter­ven­tions can im­prove care for their em­ploy­ees, and ZKHUH WKHLU LPSOHPHQWDWLRQ ZLOO KDYH WKH JUHDWHVW LPSDFW Some of the re­gional vari­a­tions are easy to un­der­stand. The KLJKHU SUHYDOHQFH RI K\SHUWHQVLRQ LQ WKH 6RXWK FRLQFLGHV ZLWK the higher in­ci­dence of a va­ri­ety of other se­ri­ous con­di­tions there, in­clud­ing di­a­betes and high choles­terol, ac­cord­ing to Op­tum­labs CEO, Dr. Paul Ble­icher, M.D., PH.D. The high in­ci­dence of chronic ob­struc­tive pul­monary dis­ease (COPD) in the Ohio River Val­ley, par­tic­u­larly in West Vir­ginia and .HQWXFN\ FRUUHODWHV ZLWK FRPPXQLWLHV WKDW UHSRUW VRPH RI the high­est lev­els of smok­ing per capita. An­other ex­am­ple: There are more re­ported cases of de­pres­sion per capita in the Rocky Moun­tain states than in other re­gions. That may be be­cause a higher per­cent­age of Rocky Moun­tain res­i­dents are de­pressed—but it may also be be­cause they are “more likely to go to the doc­tor, or more likely to tell the doc­tor about their symp­toms, or the doc­tor may be more likely to di­ag­nose de­pres­sion than do doc­tors in other re­gions,” says Ble­icher. Some­times even a dataset as so­phis­ti­cated as the one at 2SWXP/DEV LV LQVXIÀFLHQW WR SURYLGH LQVLJKWV RQ VRPH ÀQGLQJV For in­stance, none of the al­most 100 fac­tors tracked FRUUHODWHV FORVHO\ ZLWK WKH KLJK LQFLGHQFH RI ORZHU EDFN SDLQ in the Great Plains states. In all the re­gions, by ap­pre­ci­at­ing “the mea­sures of FRPPXQLW\ EHKDYLRU WKDW DUH FRUUHODWHG ZLWK³DQG LQ VRPH FDVHV DUH NQRZQ WR EH UHVSRQVLEOH IRU ³ WKHVH GLVHDVHV and con­di­tions,” em­ploy­ers can fund pre­ven­tive health FDUH PHDVXUHV DQG LQWHUYHQWLRQV LQ D ZD\ WKDW ZLOO GHOLYHU max­i­mum value to them and their em­ploy­ees, Ble­icher says.

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