Aetna and the Center for Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School Announce Research Collaboration

-- Researchers will use bioinformatics techniques to recommend more targeted health care treatments --

HARTFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Aetna (NYSE: AET) and the Center for Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School today announced a research agreement aimed at analyzing health care data in new ways to further clinical research and improve the quality and affordability of health care. The research will be conducted by members of the Center for Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School and Aetna clinicians and informatics specialists. It will be supervised by Isaac (Zak) Kohane, M.D., Ph.D., Henderson Professor of Pediatrics and Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and co-director of the HMS Center for Biomedical Informatics, and Brian Kelly, M.D., head of Informatics and Strategic Alignment at Aetna.

“If our health care system is going to become a ‘learning’ health care system, we need to better use the enormous amount of information we derive from health care to develop tools to understand what is happening today —such as which drugs are not working as safely as we thought, which therapies have unexpected benefits, what are the predictors of effective diabetes management and which genetic tests are likely to usefully guide therapy,” said Dr. Kohane. “Major advances in research and clinical care can be made by applying new bioinformatics techniques to large, aggregated clinical databases. We are excited about the opportunity to work with Aetna to rapidly develop and deploy algorithms and applications that can make a real impact on biomedical discovery and patient care,” he said.

“We are delighted to be working with a thought leader in health care and bioinformatics like Harvard Medical School on this initiative. Aetna has been committed to using health care information technology to improve the quality and affordability of health care, and through this collaboration we believe we can together make an even greater impact,” said Dr. Brian Kelly.

Bioinformatics is the application of computer science and information technology to the field of biology and medicine. Researchers on the project will benefit from the extensive clinical resources and expertise available through the HMS Center for Biomedical Informatics and its affiliated institutions as they focus on:

  • Evaluating the outcomes of various treatments for specific conditions based on quality and cost;
  • Determining factors that predict adherence to medical and drug treatments for chronic diseases;
  • Studying how claims data and clinical data available through electronic health records can best be used to predict disease and follow outcomes; and
  • Improving the ability to predict adverse events through the proactive study of claims and clinical data.

About Harvard Medical School

Harvard Medical School (HMS) has more than 7,500 full-time faculty working in 11 academic departments located at the School’s Boston campus or in one of 47 hospital-based clinical departments at 17 Harvard-affiliated teaching hospitals and research institutes. Those affiliates include Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Cambridge Health Alliance, Children’s Hospital Boston, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Forsyth Institute, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Hebrew SeniorLife, Joslin Diabetes Center, Judge Baker Children’s Center, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Massachusetts General Hospital, McLean Hospital, Mount Auburn Hospital, Schepens Eye Research Institute, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and VA Boston Healthcare System.

About Aetna

Aetna is one of the nation's leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 36.3 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities and health care management services for Medicaid plans. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see


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