CIMS Uses Big Data to Help Global Health Organization Diagnose TB in Third World

CIMS Uses Big Data to Help Global Health Organization Diagnose TB in Developing World

The Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) is partnering with the Center for Innovation Management Studies (CIMS) at NC State University’s Poole College of Management to explore big-data analytics to discover creative and efficacious ways to diagnose and treat infectious disease in third-world countries. Initially, the CHAI-CIMS partnership will focus on developing faster, more cost-effective ways to diagnose tuberculosis, which in 2011 sickened 8.7 million worldwide and with more than 95 percent of deaths from TB occurring in low- and middle-income countries.  The Principal Investigator of this project is Richard E. Kouri, Executive Director of the BioSciences Management Initiative at the Poole College of Management, assisted by Jessica Cotton, a recent graduate of the College’s MBA program with a concentration in biosciences management.

Currently, diagnosing tuberculosis is difficult in low-resource countries due to a variety of cultural, geographical, financial and medical challenges. And information that could address these challenges is often incomplete, unreliable, and widely dispersed. CHAI’s leaders are confident the solutions to these challenges can be found through the kind of big-data research, also called decision modeling, that CIMS has become known for over the last several years.

CIMS researchers and faculty will use supercomputing and natural-language processing software to comb through a curated, giant database containing a substantial amount of the world’s information pertinent to TB-diagnostics. The approach relies on data to derive evidence-based weightings to help CHAI leaders identify both obvious and novel capabilities and choose potential targets for further research, enabling the organization to leverage its financial resources, knowledge networks and talent for maximum impact.

“To delver a transformative impact, we need to understand what the world knows about TB and TB diagnostics and related opportunities.” said Paul Domanico, Senior Director of Research and Development at CHAI. “Big Data Analytics and CIMS give us a comprehensive approach to make sound decisions quickly and efficiently.”

The project is designed as a three-stage, proof-of-concept model that is expected to take close to a year to complete. In addition to helping CHAI identify the best ways to advance its TB diagnostics work, the CIMS-CHAI partnership will also create capabilities within CHAI that will enable it to use decision modeling with other infectious-disease efforts such as prevention and treatment.

“We’re excited to be able to share our resources with an organization that’s having such a tremendous impact on world health,” said Paul Mugge, director of CIMS.  “This partnership is an example of how data analytics can be used to demystify the process of making more-informed strategic business decisions.”

 About CHAI

The Clinton Health Access Initiative is a global health organization employing over 1000 people in dozens of countries that is committed to strengthening integrated health systems in the developing world and expanding access to care and treatment for HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, malnourishment, amongst other health issues facing these areas. With respect to AIDS care and treatment in Africa alone, CHAI has successfully improved drug distribution, reduced the cost of HIV treatment by up to 90 percent and HIV diagnostics by up to 80 percent, and has saved developing nations over $3 billion in overall treatment costs since 2007. For more information, see


About CIMS

Founded in 1984, the Center for Innovation Management Studies is a research center of the Poole College of Management at N.C. State University in Raleigh, N.C. Helping clients and member organizations use big data analytics, or decision modeling, has become a core competency of CIMS, which partners with N.C. State’s computing experts and supercomputing resources in these projects. CIMS is the leading authority on innovation management and innovation research and represents a unique convergence of academia and industry. With today’s businesses as its focus, CIMS creates, synthesizes and disseminates information on innovation management. It also helps develop current and future generations of innovation-management researchers and practitioners. For more information, visit the CIMS web site at

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