Unprecedented change in the US health care system is being driven by the rapid uptake of health information technology and national investments in multi-institution research networks comprising academic centers, health care delivery systems, and other health system components. An example of this changing landscape is Optum Labs, a novel network "node" that is bringing together new partners, data, and analytic techniques to implement research findings in health care practice. Optum Labs was founded in early 2013 by Mayo Clinic and Optum, a commercial data, infrastructure services, and care organization that is part of UnitedHealth Group. Optum Labs now has eleven collaborators and a database of deidentified information on more than 150 million people that is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. This article describes the early progress of Optum Labs. The combination of the diverse collaborator perspectives with rich data, including deep patient and provider information, is intended to reveal new insights about diseases, treatments, and patients' behavior to guide changes in practice. Practitioners' involvement in agenda setting and translation of findings into practical care innovations accelerates the implementation of research results. Furthermore, feedback loops from the clinic help Optum Labs expand on successes and give quick attention to challenges as they emerge.
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