UPMC Enterprises’ latest spinout uses natural language processing to enhance care quality
UPMC Enterprises, the innovation and commercialization arm of Pittsburgh-based UPMC, launched Astrata. The company has developed natural language processing technologies that aim to improve the quality of care.
Astrata’s technologies help payers and providers assess care delivery in accordance with quality measures, like the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS). These measures aim to ensure the delivery of high-quality care and mitigate gaps.
Increasingly, the government and private payers are tying provider compensation to quality measures amid the move toward value-based care.
The company’s technologies can comb through hundreds of millions of clinical notes, and by applying natural language processing, can identify whether a patient has received care that is compliant with quality measures, said Dr. Rebecca Jacobson, president of Astrata, in a phone interview.
“[The platform] is really evaluating all the text across one member or one patient and [then it] says, yes this person is in the denominator, that is, the measure applies to them,” she explained.
Once the platform has determined whether a measure applies to a patient, it then assesses whether the care they received is compliant with that measure.
For example, there is a HEDIS measure that focuses on older women with bone fractures who have not yet received appropriate imaging and treatment. Astrata’s platform is able to analyze clinical notes and pinpoint those patients.
“That’s a true gap,” said Jacobson. “That is someone that the health plan and the provider want to know about because they want to intervene quickly so that they can prevent subsequent morbidity and mortality.”
Further, the platform allows healthcare organizations to conduct year-round monitoring and quality improvement efforts as opposed to the current system, where quality rates for many HEDIS measures can only be determined once a year via a manual process.
Astrata partnered with UPMC Health Plan to develop and validate its technologies. The platform has been used by UPMC and UPMC Health plan for several years.
“Over the last two years, UPMC Health Plan abstractors found they can work up to 38 times faster with the implementation of Astrata’s NLP-assisted tools,” said Diane Holder, president and CEO of UPMC Health Plan, in a news release. “This partnership facilitates a more rapid and accurate flow of thorough, meaningful data between our quality team and our providers.”
With the launch of the spinout, Astrata’s tools are now available in the U.S. market.
The company also plans to increase its workforce by 30% in 2021.
Photo: sdecoret, Getty Images