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Mayo Clinic, UnitedHealth Announce Massive Research Project

CAMBRIDGE (CBS) - Two of the largest names in healthcare have announced a massive medical research project to be centered in Cambridge.

Mayo Clinic and UnitedHealth Group will form a company called Optum Labs to research millions of medical records in search of the best outcomes, procedures and practices.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Anthony Silva reports


Mayo Clinic CEO Dr. John Noseworthy tells me this is very different than most research. He says much of the research that physicians and scientists do focuses on a small number of patients. "The advantage of a large database is that it can bring tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or in this case, tens of millions of data pieces together," he says. That enables researchers to look at the bigger issues of what happens to patients in the real world over a period of time.

Noseworthy says the research will focus on medical records, scrubbed clean of personal information.

He says Optum Labs chose Cambridge for its home because it is a center for biomedical research, and has such outstanding science and medical providers. Noseworthy adds that Cambridge is a neutral location for both the Mayo Clinic and United Health.

Noseworthy says the idea of this collaboration is to discover what's next in medical care in this country. "Patients are living longer, costs of care are going through the roof. Essentially, we have a system that is not sustainable," he says.

The dedicated research could study specific treatments, like the long-term effectiveness of hip replacement surgery, or ways to improve Hepatitis C diagnosis.

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