TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama’s Business Analytics Lab at the Culverhouse College of Commerce recently completed its first business analytics study for Healthcare Business Solutions, one of its partner companies.
The Analytics Lab, which opened in the fall of 2015, is a research-oriented, experiential learning facility where faculty and students partner with companies to solve real world problems. Other corporate partners in the Analytics Lab include SAS and Lockheed Martin.
During the UA/HBS project, 13 graduate students worked under the direction of Dr. Denise McManus, director, UA Institute of Business Analytics at Culverhouse, to evaluate the use of emergency rooms by Medicaid patients for primary care services, and particularly whether Medicaid patients used the ER more than those with private insurance or other payment types.
The project was more than an academic exercise. The findings of the research can have a meaningful impact on healthcare, the leaders said. If Medicaid patients use emergency rooms for services that a primary care provider can treat, the costs can be significantly higher and lead to less funding available for other important services to the Medicaid recipients.
The raw data for the study came from the Centers for Disease Control public-use database for the years 2003–2011. It included data from several payment types, in addition to Medicaid, and covered emergency room visits in all areas of the country.
The student researchers used SAS software to perform a predictive analysis. The graduate students recently presented results of the semester-long analysis with HBS leadership. In addition to evaluating the use of emergency room services, the students’ research identified potential avenues for additional study and possible new technologies that could improve healthcare outcomes for Medicaid patients.
The graduate students who worked on the project and their hometowns are Benjamin Bailey, Prattville; Andrew Brown, Dothan; Matt Collins, Greensboro; Kelsey Gibson, Knoxville, Tennessee; Jake Gurkin, Birmingham; Erik Halaj, Slovakia and Hoover; John Michael Ikard, Tuscaloosa; Taylor Larkin, Tuscaloosa; Wesley Moss, Dothan; Lindsey Stackhouse, Florence; Josh Teel, Montgomery; Joey Weed, Mountain Brook; and Chris Wilhelm, Birmingham.
HBS is a shared services company headquartered in Birmingham that strives to implement business solutions in the ever-changing healthcare industry.
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.