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Virginia Tech and Leidos Partner on Critical Healthcare Research

Thursday, October 8, 2015  
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Virginia Tech and science and technology solutions company Leidos have partnered to collaborate on student-conducted scientific research into the big data challenges of today’s electronic health records with the aim of optimizing healthcare delivery. Leidos and Virginia Tech will use technical data from hospitals and physician offices to establish methods to improve quality of care and reduce the cost of healthcare, particularly for hospitals. This partnership is expected to prepare the Virginia Tech students for professional careers in academia, industry or government.

“We’re at the frontier of putting clinical and claims data to use for better health outcomes and to improve financial performance,” said Julie Rosen, chief scientist for Leidos Health, who will serve as the technical advisor to Virginia Tech on the project. “The spiraling cost of health care in this country is unsustainable. Analysis of healthcare delivery data must be done throughout the country if we’re going to be able to bring costs back down and keep people healthy.”

Leidos chief technology officer S. Gulu Gambhir added, “Through the partnership with Virginia Tech, Leidos will receive valuable insight that we expect to benefit our federal and commercial health customers. We’re also excited to facilitate the opportunity for Virginia Tech students to conduct research on the project and glean useful, hands-on experience with data.”

In conjunction to the joint research initiative, Leidos has made a financial commitment to Virginia Tech’s Center for Business Intelligence and Analytics in the Pamplin College of Business. The funds will support the center and the Leidos Graduate Fellowship in Advanced Information Systems, which will help the center to recruit top graduate students to conduct research on healthcare issues.

The Center for Business Intelligence and Analytics, established in 2014, focuses on the mining of big data to make better, more-informed business decisions. The center’s work is cross disciplinary, with an emphasis on allowing students to conduct their own research.

“Leidos is delighted and proud to have an opportunity to support important research and development work at Virginia Tech, and we are certain that our partnership will yield benefits for the university, for Leidos, and for the clients we serve in both commercial and Federal health markets,” said Jerry Hogge, Deputy President, Leidos Federal Health and graduate of Virginia Tech with a bachelor of science and electrical engineering and master of science in industrial systems engineering.

Linda Oldham, the center’s executive director, said there is an immediate need in industry for employees with experience in business analytics. She said she’s grateful for the support from Leidos and looks forward to the important work that will come from the project.

“We’ve been able to hire some incredibly talented graduate students to work for us and with us on healthcare issues,” said Oldham. “It’s exciting because we have a group of students who are passionate about mining healthcare data to improve the quality of health care.”

Two fellows have already been named as part of the Leidos-sponsored program and Oldham said the center hopes to add more.

Zachary Davis, of Bremo Bluff, Virginia, is one of the Leidos fellows. Davis, a doctoral student studying business information technology, said he is excited to conduct his healthcare research. “The fellowship gives me the opportunity to speak with important individuals in the health care field,” he said. “With these contacts, I will be able to obtain the data necessary to solve real-world problems in the health care industry. Research interests of mine are: decreasing financial costs of hospitals through data analysis, improving the design of electronic health records and usability to create greater efficiencies, and furthering support for patients through the use of information technology.”

Junyan Wu, of Beijing, China, is one of the Leidos fellows. Wu, a doctoral student studying computer science, said he is honored to join the team and conduct his research. “Leidos gives me an opportunity to conduct research related to health information management and security,” Wu said. “Nowadays ‘big data’ provides an opportunity to optimize the management of electronic healthcare records and reduce security breaches that can jeopardize the quality of healthcare.”

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