Big data project new requirement for NYU med students

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In a push to transform medical school curriculum and education to keep pace with modern developments, first and second year students at NYU School of Medicine will have to complete a project using big data and analytics to gain more insight into care quality and healthcare performance, according to an NPR report.

The project, "Healthcare by the Numbers: Populations, Systems, and Clinically Integrated Data," is funded by the American Medical Association's Accelerating Change in Medical Education Program, which seeks to transform medical education to better prepare future physicians for new demands in healthcare.

At NYU, students have access to a database containing more than 5 million anonymous records of every hospital patient in the state from the prior two years. Such information includes age, race and ethnicity, zip code, diagnoses, procedures and bills. They also have access to a database for approximately 50,000 outpatients with data drawn from NYU's faculty practices. This data is also anonymized so neither patient nor physician can be identified.

Then, students use analytical tools to look at quality measures and performance metrics of physicians and practices as a whole, according to the report.

"If you don't have these [big data] skills, you could really be at a disadvantage in terms of the way you understand the quality and the efficiency of the care you're delivering," Marc Triola, associate dean for educational informatics at NYU's medical school, told NPR.

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