UNC Health Care System: Smarter Planet Leadership Series Video

Smart is - doctors making more accurate diagnoses faster

Published on 2 Feb 2010

University of North Carolina (UNC)


Deployment country
United States


The nexus of information technology and healthcare delivery is a familiar place for Dr. Donald Spencer. In leading the creation of UNC’s healthcare data warehouse, Spencer recognized that for an organization as complex and multifaceted as UNC, addressing governance issues early on is critical to long-term success.

Business need
UNC made a quantum leap in all aspects of its research capabilities. It can identify highly specific research cohorts10 times faster than it could before— in the process of redefining what’s possible in the realm of medical research. It’s a big reason UNC was recently awarded a $61 million research grant by the NIH. On the clinical side, UNC is now better adapted to the “pay for performance” reimbursement model increasingly demanded by payers. UNC has translated its superior ability to demonstrate the quality of its care into higher reimbursements that strengthen its operating performance.

Advance Planning With UNC creating a completely new information resource for the entire UNC system, it needed to work out how that resource should be regulated— specifi cally, how it’s used, paid for and invested in—and do so before it was designed and built. “If you have a great idea for the logical or technical design of a warehouse, and you think you’re going to establish the governance for how to use that data afterwards, you’re going to end up spending a lot more money unnecessarily.” — Dr. Don Spencer, Associate Director of Medical Informatics, UNC Health Care System

• Ten times faster identifi cation of research cohort targets, shortening the time and cost of launching new research projects • Facilitated more than $60 million in new research funding due to superior data management capabilities • Ability to negotiate higher reimbursements from payers by demonstrating adherence to high quality care practices • Improved ability to infuse clinical research into patient treatment and medical education


IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

IBM Global Business Services

Big Data & Analytics, Big Data & Analytics: New business models, Smarter Planet

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