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IBM Predictive Analytics Helps Metro Spinal Clinic Better Track and Manage Patient Pain

Advanced data collection and analysis helps to drive treatment breakthroughs for patients

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Sydney, Australia - 06 Dec 2011: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that Metro Spinal Clinic, a leading spinal pain interventional management facility, is using  an advanced data analytics system, Clinical Intelligence, built on IBM predictive analytics technology which allows clinicians to more accurately track and manage patients’ pain.

Patient data gained from using IBM SPSS Data Collection Web Interviews software, which assists patients in identifying where and how intensely they feel pain, has the potential to fuel front-line research to better understand common musculoskeletal disorders, including neck and lower back pain.

“We have a passion for research, and we have always believed that quantification is extremely important,” said Dr Paul Verrills MBBS MM (Pain Med), co-director and interventional pain physician at the Metro Spinal Clinic. “We realised that if we could build accurate measurements into our clinical processes, we could amass a body of data that would be hugely valuable in assessing the effectiveness of different treatment methods.”

Struggling with the accuracy of paper based questionnaires, and to increase rates of patient compliance, physicians and researchers from the Metro Spinal Clinic along with IT professionals developed Clinical Intelligence, an intuitive data collection system built on IBM predictive analytics software which could be easily used for current and future research. As part of the new system, patients tap on a simple graphical interface of a human body to show where they feel pain, and assign each point with a number to denote severity. The data collection system then forwards this information on to the IBM SPSS Statistics software, which stores all the data in a consolidated database for easy access and analysis.

“Different people collected data in different ways, which made the results difficult to interpret, and there was no consistent way to indicate the level of pain in each area,” said Adele Barnard PhD, Clinical Research Manager. “Often, we wouldn’t get a full response because patients would lose the forms or forget to fill them in.”

The new system has led to significant improvements in the quality and amount of data being collected, which could greatly assist both Metro Spinal Clinic and other research bodies in developing better evidence-based treatments for common musculoskeletal ailments.

“We’re now averaging 85 percent, up from 60 percent, for our response rate, which is excellent,” said Barnard. “In several high-profile studies, we have even achieved 100 percent response rates, which are almost unheard of. This gives the results of our research much more weight, because we aren’t missing any results that might be significant.”

“Metro Spinal Clinic shows how health organisations can turn data into clinical insights to improve diagnosis and treatment in order to improve patient care and outcomes,” said Rob Husband, Country Manager, SPSS Software, IBM Australia.

In the near future, Clinical Intelligence plans to roll out a new web portal that will allow physicians to access and analyse patient questionnaire data in real-time which should enable even more accurate diagnoses, as well as helping physicians communicate more effectively about possible treatment and outcomes.

IBM has invested more than $14 billion in acquisitions to build an analytics portfolio which includes more than 24 acquisitions. In addition, IBM has assembled about 8,000 analytics consultants with industry expertise, and opened a network of seven analytics centres of excellence.

For further information on IBM Business Analytics, including SPSS, please visit:

To learn more about Metro Spinal Clinic: please visit

To learn more about Clinical Intelligence:  please visit

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