What You Should Know:
– UPMC spinout company Astrata launches a natural language processing (NLP) technology platform that allows health insurers to more efficiently analyze unstructured clinical data.
UPMC Enterprises, the innovation and commercialization arm of UPMC has incubated and launched Astrata, a digital healthcare quality company. Astrata uses advanced analytics and natural language processing (NLP) to improve value-based care.
Founded by Rebecca Jacobson, M.D., M.S. Astrata and its team of data scientists has developed cloud-based NLP platform that allow health insurers to more efficiently analyze unstructured clinical data.This transformative solution generates real-time insights that more accurately assess quality of care and population health against Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) measures. Both government and private health care payors are increasingly aligning provider compensation to such measures.
UPMC Health Plan Pilot
During incubation at UPMC Enterprises, Astrata partnered with UPMC Health Plan, which serves 3.9 million members, to develop and validate its technology. For many important HEDIS measures, health care organizations currently are able to determine their quality rates only once at the end of the year through a manual process, but Astrata’s technology enables year-round monitoring and quality improvement efforts at scale.
“Traditionally, health insurers use claims information to evaluate health care quality against HEDIS measures. A wealth of additional information is available in medical charts, but it goes uncaptured because the process to extract it is labor-intensive, expensive and unscalable to entire populations,” said Rebecca Jacobson, M.D., M.S., president of Astrata. “Astrata’s unique technology serves as a catalyst for the transition our industry is experiencing and ultimately aims to help health care payors and providers use all the data at their disposal to improve the health of the population as a whole.”
In addition to improving efficiency in HEDIS operations, Astrata is piloting a real-time NLP monitoring platform with UPMC and UPMC Health Plan, focusing first on a HEDIS measure that identifies older women with bone fractures who have not yet received appropriate imaging and intervention for osteoporosis. Identifying candidates for screening often is delayed by months because it relies on claims-based data. Astrata’s tools use NLP to read provider notes and identify members in need of intervention within hours of the fracture occurring.
Initial findings from the pilot, which began prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, show UPMC Health Plan members signing up for screenings at higher rates after the implementation of Astrata’s technology, possibly because it enabled a UPMC Health Plan representative to contact members more quickly.
Astrata plans to increase its workforce by 30% over the coming year with new opportunities on technical, sales, and customer-facing teams.