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HealthAxis Group, USF partner on Parkinson’s Research Project

TAMPA, Fla. (August 8, 2016) - Researchers will be able to study whether a group of commonly used drugs affects the onset of Parkinson's disease, thanks to a new grant partnership between the University of South Florida and HealthAxis Group.

The grant, totaling $63,818, is part of the Florida High Tech Corridor Matching Grant program, which is used to help fund the development of commercially applicable technologies. The new partnership will include HealthAxis Group, along with two areas of USF: the Muma College of Business and the USF Byrd Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center.

The study will focus on the connection between a specific common class of beta blockers, which are normally used to treat heart conditions or high blood pressure, and the effect they may have on the onset of Parkinson's disease symptoms. The study will use anonymous HealthAxis electronic health record data and could yield results that will affect future prescriptions of beta blockers, as well as scientists' understanding of Parkinson's disease itself. The researchers will also look for any medical markers that make it easier to reduce the risk of potentially dangerous and expensive side effects.

He Zhang, an expert in healthcare information and medicine technologies, is a USF business professor who is the lead investigator on the project. Zhang believes this interdisciplinary research will yield important results.

"This is an example of the impact of big data," said Zhang. "Health care, business, and technology can be used together to improve efficiency, encourage significant savings and inform a doctor's decision."

"By analyzing this large database we hope to uncover hidden patterns that would otherwise be impossible to detect," added Dr. Robert Hauser, director of the USF Byrd Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center. "Any associations we find could have immediate implications for how these medications are used, and laboratory researchers would work to discover how these medications affect the disease process itself."
"This work is the culmination of a decade of effort in developing and growing comprehensive electronic medical record data with the goal of uncovering unexpected medical findings in a manner that was not possible when I embarked on this mission," said Dr. Cyril Spiro, chief medical information officer at HealthAxis Group, and the founder and developer of the electronic medical record system.

In order to receive the Florida High Tech Corridor Matching Grant, a high-technology company in Florida must partner with a federal lab or one (or more) of the corridor universities. The corridor consists of three Florida universities: USF, the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida.

The Matching Grants Research Program has invested a total of $62 million in funds to the corridor, which has created an output of $938 million in "quantifiable downstream impacts," and a grand total project value of $1.18 billion.

About HealthAxis Group, LLC

Through its affiliated companies, HealthAxis Group provides outstanding information technology and service solutions that help payers and providers work more efficiently and collaborate to deliver better health with improved efficiency and lower costs. HealthAxis Group helps healthcare organizations address compliance; improve administrative efficiency; lower cost, and improve quality and delivery of care. Payer solutions include benefits administration platforms, web portals, network & application management, consulting, BPO, and transaction services. Provider offerings include practice management solutions, electronic medical records, and technology services that help providers operate more efficiently and effectively.

More information about HealthAxis Group Can be found on the web at www.healthaxis.com.

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