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Battelle Solvers

We have some of the best employees working to solve the world’s most difficult challenges. 

Health & Analytics Staff

Michael Schwemmer, Ph.D.

Michael Schwemmer, Ph.D., Research Scientist

Dr. Michael Schwemmer is making medical devices and healthcare systems a whole lot smarter. A Research Scientist and Statistician on the Battelle Health Analytics team, he applies advanced machine learning methods to solve complex problems in neurotechnology, quality measure development, and other aspects of healthcare.

Mike is an applied mathematician with six years of experience in applying computational and mathematical techniques to problems in the fields of neuroscience, psychology, and physics. He is an expert in modeling complex systems and has published scientific papers in mathematics, physics, neuroscience, engineering, psychology, and neuroscience journals. At Battelle, his current work is focused on utilizing deep learning neural network tools. He explains, “Deep learning neural networks mimic the structure of the brain. The idea is that a large network of very simple components can solve complex problems if you wire enough of them together.” Neural network tools can be applied to solve advanced pattern recognition problems that standard algorithms do not handle well, such as image recognition, speech recognition, classification problems, and other applications that involve extracting meaningful information out of massive data sets.

Since joining Battelle in January of 2016, Mike has worked on a number of projects applying statistical and data analytical methods for both private and government clients. Much of his work has been focused on improving the algorithms for Battelle NeuroLife™, a neural bypass technology that has allowed a paralyzed man to regain conscious, dexterous control of his wrist, hand, and fingers. The technology works by interpreting brain signals collected from a chip implanted in the man’s motor cortex and translating those signals into electrical outputs that stimulate the muscles in his hand using a specially designed sleeve. In this way, the technology bypasses his damaged spinal cord. Advanced algorithms are used to pick out the signal indicating the patient’s intent (e.g., ‘raise the index finger’) from massive amounts of other data generated by the brain. Currently, these algorithms have to be recalibrated daily, because the shape of the signal shifts slightly depending on the patient’s emotions, level of alertness, or other brain states. Mike is working to develop new algorithms based on deep learning neural networks that will provide more stable, long-term performance and eliminate the need for daily calibration. He will share the latest development on NeuroLife at the HIMSS conference on February 22.

Mike is also applying his expertise to refine Sematrix™, a cognitive analytical system that uses natural language processing to extract and represent the knowledge contained in scientific, technical, or general text. A project for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) uses Sematrix to extract knowledge from the National Library of Medicine (Pub Med) as well as policy documents, study results, and summary information available through other libraries in order to inform the development of new quality measures. This work will vastly reduce the amount of time that it takes to find relevant study results needed to develop new, evidence-based measures. Mike’s work will help to improve the natural language processing engine to ensure that results for complex queries are relevant and accurate.

Moving forward, Mike hopes to continue to advance NeuroLife and other assistive technologies and medical devices. “My brother has Cerebral Palsy, and I grew up around many people struggling with disabilities,” he says. “Working on projects that help this community is very personal for me.” He will also be working on other projects related to patient adherence for diabetics and patients using inhalers. He sees tremendous potential to apply deep learning technologies to other types of problems in healthcare, including prediction of disease onset and progression. “We’re only starting to see the possibilities of this,” he says. “Deep learning can be applied to any problem where we have access to large amounts of data. There really seems to be no ceiling to what is possible with these types of algorithms.”

Prior to joining Battelle, Mike was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and instructor at Princeton University. He also completed postdoctoral work at the Mathematical Biosciences Institute at The Ohio State University, where his work focused on understanding the computational properties of neural circuits in the brain that are known to be involved in decision-making and working memory processes. He has substantial experience presenting his work at scientific conferences as well as teaching mathematical and computational methods. He holds a B.A. in Mathematics from Queens College, CUNY and a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of California-Davis.

Barry Dickman

Barry Dickman, Program Manager, Battelle Health & Consumer Solutions Team

Barry Dickman has spent his career helping government agencies find efficiencies though healthcare information technology. Now, he is continuing that work as a Program Manager on the Battelle Health and Consumer Solutions Team.

Barry joined Battelle in June 2016. He is a subject matter expert in the application of Health IT & Analytics solutions in the federal government marketplace and works with Battelle’s many federal clients, including Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Veterans Administration (VA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Defense Health Agency (DHA), Department of Defense (DoD), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE).

Much of Barry’s career has been devoted to health information technology, standards and interoperability, program and project management support, quality assurance/improvement, HIPAA compliance, enterprise architecture and software development and requirements management. One of his first projects at Battelle is analyzing the public benefit attributable to interoperable health information exchange. He also has plans to develop a concept and strategy for the use of a 3-D visual tool to help improve veterans’ experience with internal services, resources and infrastructure by allowing veterans and their eligible dependents to efficiently obtain comprehensive information from the easy-to-use, visual platform.

Barry continues to serve on the Board of Directors for the Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society of the National Capital Area (HIMSS-NCA) Chapter as the Immediate Past-President. HIMSS is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to improving healthcare through IT solutions. HIMSS-NCA is the only federally-focused chapter nationwide. He has also represented the industry as an active member of eHealth Initiative—Interoperability Work Group, and previously with the Open Source Electronic Health Record Alliance (OSEHRA). Barry co-chaired the OSEHRA Interoperability Work Group (IWG) and has been a sought-after consultant on the challenges and barriers to successful interoperability. “Interoperability in healthcare IT systems is very important to ensure that medical records can be securely transferred between providers,” he explains. “Making sure that standards are implemented uniformly across all Electronic Health Record providers and hospital systems is essential to maintaining open, scalable systems and ensuring consistent quality of patient care.”

He also serves on the Planning Committee for the Interoperability Technical Symposium (IOP 2017) and Planning Committee for the American Immunization Registry Association (AIRA) 2017 National Meeting.

Barry’s work at Battelle keeps him in close contact with the federal agencies and senior executive staff though client engagements, industry events, panels and conferences. He sees opportunity in emerging trends in analytics to help agencies reduce costs, streamline services and take advantage of economies in scale. “My role is really to bring stakeholders from across industry together to ensure that best practices and lessons learned are implemented,” he says. “As a research and development nonprofit charitable trust, I believe we have a fiduciary responsibility to help our agency partners work to identify areas of opportunity to improve the efficacy and efficiency of their programs.” Part of this work will involve identifying and implementing innovative technology, new platforms and applications for cutting-edge analytics programs used in other industries and across Battelle, such as WayFinder and Sematrix.

Prior to joining Battelle, Barry was a Senior Consultant for AEGIS.net Inc., a small information technology consulting firm focused on federal civilian, defense and commercial sector clients. While there, he was responsible for tactical implementation and quality assurance for programs delivered to the DoD, DHA, VA and other federal agencies. Earlier in his career, Barry served as the Director of Health Solutions for Data Networks Corporation, as a Senior Advisor and Healthcare Consultant for the MITRE Corporation, and as a Project Manager for CTG, Inc.

 Barry’s volunteer community interests include the role of Immediate Past-President, Board of Directors for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Washington Field Office (WFO) Citizens Academy Alumni Association (CAAA). The CAAA is a community based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, distinct and separate from the FBI, dedicated to working with the FBI to enhance the quality of life in the Washington DC metropolitan area. The goal of the organization is to foster relationships and understanding between the FBI WFO and the community to improve the FBI’s ability to solve and detect crimes. The CAAA funds several important programs in support of the WFO Community Outreach Program including the Junior Special Agent, Adopt-a-School and Mentoring programs in the DC metro area public schools.

He has authored numerous articles, blogs and newsletters. Barry holds a B.A. in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland and a Master of Health Services Administration from George Washington University. He is a credentialed and trained member of the Office of the Civilian Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps (OCVMRC), Federal Deployment Operations. He currently serves as an active member and Incident Coordinator with the Fairfax Medical Reserve Corp (MRC). 

Jeffrey Geppert

Jeffrey Geppert, Senior Research Leader

Jeffrey Geppert believes in the power of analytics to make a difference in the world. “Patient safety is still a huge problem in this country,” he explains, “but if we can measure it—if we put hard numbers on adverse events—we can start to get a handle on it and ultimately change it.” 

As a Senior Research Leader on the Battelle Health and Consumer Solutions team, Jeffrey is working to make that goal a reality. He heads up Battelle’s work on hospital and physician quality measures for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). In this role, he leads the team responsible for maintaining the CMS measure inventory and the blueprint that defines the processes and decision criteria that are used to develop new quality measures. In addition, Jeffrey and his team use analytical engines to scan hundreds of thousands of updates and articles posted in the biomedical literature each month. Using a tool such as Battelle Sematrix™, they are able to analyze very large data sets to find meaningful information that could potentially impact CMS measure development.

The CMS quality measures are a critical driver in reducing medical mistakes and adverse events in hospitals. A CMS study reported that 13.5% of Medicare and Medicaid patients experienced an adverse event during a hospital stay in 2010, and another 13.5% experienced events causing temporary harm. The study concluded that 44% of these events were clearly or likely preventable. In addition to the harm caused to patients, these events are expensive, costing CMS an estimated $4.4 billion annually. The CMS measures that Jeffrey and his team are helping to develop and maintain are used to provide an objective measure of hospital quality, assist CMS in making reimbursement and value-based purchasing decisions, and inform data-driven quality improvement initiatives for individual hospitals and hospital systems. There is growing evidence that these efforts are working; the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has reported a significant reduction in adverse events since the measures were implemented, as measured by CMS claims data. 

Jeffrey has devoted a large part of his career to developing tools that can help hospitals quantify, understand and reduce adverse events. He recently served as Project Director of the Support for Quality Indicators (SQI) project, which develops software that health professionals can apply to their own hospital discharge data. Jeffrey’s team provides technical support to users, annual updates to indicator specifications, data security services and software and documentation maintenance. Jeffrey has also been instrumental in the development of the Battelle WayFinder™ QI Dashboard, a cloud-based quality improvement analytics tool that helps hospitals monitor performance, analyze trends and identify areas for improvement.

In prior roles at Battelle, Jeffrey was responsible for empirical testing and software development on a project that resulted in the development of the QI (Quality Indicator) modules for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). He has served as a technical consultant for implementation of the AHRQ measures for several states and agencies, including the Departments of Health for Utah and four other Western states, the Texas Hospital Association and the Texas Healthcare Information Council. Ten years ago, Jeffrey developed a method for calculating a composite score for hospital quality that is still in wide use today. “My work on hospital quality measures is the single thing that I have done that has the biggest impact on the world,” he says. “Hundreds of thousands of people still die each year due to preventable medical errors. Medical errors and adverse events are also huge cost drivers for the industry. I want to continue to work on projects that can make a difference for individual people and for the system as a whole."

Jeffrey brings 24 years of analytics experience to his role, including 22 years focused on health services. Prior to joining Battelle in 2004, he worked as a senior research analyst with the Health Care Economics Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research and Center for Health Policy at Stanford University. Jeffrey holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School, a Masters of Education from Harvard University, and a B.A. in Economics and Mathematics from Lawrence University.

Greg Daphnis

Greg Daphnis, Project Manager, Health and Analytics

Greg Daphnis is keeping the work of quality measure development moving. A Project Manager on the Battelle Health and Analytics team, he makes sure Battelle’s quality measure projects stay on schedule and on budget.

Greg joined Battelle in March 2016 and brings more than 13 years of experience in project management for healthcare analytics. He currently supports two projects for Battelle Health and Analytics:

  • The Measure Management System (MMS), a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) project that provides a standardized system and blueprint for healthcare measure developers. Battelle maintains the MMS and provides technical support to third party measure developers.
  • The Electronic Clinical Quality Measure (ECQM), also a CMS-funded project. As part of this project, Battelle is mainly responsible for continuing to develop and evolve the framework for the online Resource Center, which will be a public-facing, single source of information, as well as an interactive tool, for the Electronic Clinical Quality Improvement (eCQI) Ecosystem of standards and tools.

Greg provides project management services for both projects, keeping deliverables on track and providing timely updates to Battelle staff and CMS. 

Prior to joining Battelle, he worked for Econometrica, Inc., where he served as the Project Manager for the Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) program. PACE is a CMS-funded program that helps the elderly meet their health care needs in the community instead of going to a nursing home or other care facility. In this role, Greg managed the development of healthcare quality measures following the MMS blueprint. His prior experience on the “client side” of the MMS project has given him a deeper understanding of the needs of measure developers. “I’m very familiar with the MMS blueprints, because I had to follow it and know it from top to bottom as a measure developer,” he explains. “I know what kind of support and guidance measure developers need. 

During his three years at Econometrica, Greg also served as the Task Lead for two other CMS projects: Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) and the National Content Developer (NCD) program, which supported the Partnership for Patients (PfP) goal of reducing preventable harm in hospitals by 40 percent and reducing avoidable readmissions by 20 percent. Before his time at Econometrica, Greg worked for 10 years at America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), where he served as the Program Manager on the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) project.

Greg holds a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Epidemiology from Tulane University and a B.S. in Food Science and Human Nutrition from the University of Florida. 

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