United Health Group leverages AI and Analytics to fight the pandemic: Case Study

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People generate a lot of data when they go to the hospital, this data can be used to improve everyone’s experiences and provide even better healthcare. UnitedHealth Group (UHG) consists of a pharmacy company Optum and United Health, the largest Health insurance in the US. They oversee 140 million patients who generate around 1.5 trillion transactions every year. UHG has been successful in implementing machine learning techniques as well as powerful analytics tools to leverage the data that is generated and improve healthcare for people infected with Covid-19 and other who were unable to seek in-person healthcare due to busy hospitals.

UHG rescheduled 4000 appointments to telemedicine visits even at the very beginning of the pandemic, this freed up a lot of space for hospitals and allowed patients to receive immediate healthcare. This has only been scaled up in the months following. Remote monitoring for at-risk patients has been set up, complex surge forecasting algorithms help alleviate pressure due to high COVID cases, patient data has been tapped to find new ways to treat patients in the face of the unknown.

UHG uses analytics to draw data from biometric tools like blood-pressure cuffs, glucose monitors, scales, and digital thermometers. A cloud-based system takes data from these measurements and shows results on a user-friendly dashboard with automated monitoring that connects to a human expert when things have a chance to go wrong. Home monitoring for cardio-vascular patients with daily medication remainders dropped readmission by more than 66 percent. With this sort of monitoring physicians can prevent serious health issues even before they arise. In a specific case, UHG was able to figure out that an elderly patient had run out of medication but was too scared to go out during the pandemic. They were able to mail the medication directly and save serious issues from coming up. Predictive analytics helped the Organisation with operations during Covid by giving a good estimate on how many beds, ventilators, and medics would be needed, greatly reducing uncertainty. It can also help manage the supply and distribution of medication by instructing appropriate hospitals to send medication to the ones with high shortages.

UHG focused on these types of innovations long before the pandemic hit and they keep expanding on the features. By advancing on clinical trials, expanding smart detection, and tracking collateral damage from Covid-19 the organization has continued putting itself at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic throughout the world. This was done through power AI and analytics.

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