Industry Watch

March 18, 2021

Big Data

Fourteen Health Systems Collaborate on Large-Scale Data PlatformFourteen Health Systems Collaborate on Large-Scale Data Platform

Fourteen large healthcare organizations have banded together to build a large-scale data platform company called Truveta. They said the platform would provide longitudinal insights that link together underlying health conditions, treatments, and outcomes so physicians can learn how to best treat patients and share this knowledge broadly.

The participating health systems are AdventHealth, Advocate Aurora Health, Baptist Health of Northeast Florida, Bon Secours Mercy Health, CommonSpirit Health, Hawaii Pacific Health, Henry Ford Health System, Memorial Hermann Health System, Northwell Health, Novant Health, Providence health system, Sentara Healthcare, Tenet Health, and Trinity Health.

Together, these 14 health providers care for tens of millions of patients and operate thousands of care facilities across 40 states. The health providers will govern Truveta’s pursuit of insights from this de-identified data set. The company said it would use artificial intelligence and machine learning to deliver tools to physicians, biopharma and families with aggregate analysis of conditions, therapies, and prognosis.

According to its website, the vision for Truveta began as an idea within Providence health system in 2018. They knew there were valuable needles of insights buried within the haystacks of data they managed, yet they could not access them. After working on their concept, they realized the data set needed to be much larger to statistically serve all patients and that building a data platform to make sense of the data would require significant technical expertise and investment.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how much the world needs to learn faster, so we can better serve our communities,” said Terry Myerson, CEO of Truveta and a former Microsoft executive, in a statement. “Our vision is to save lives with data. We want to help researchers find cures faster, empower every clinician to be an expert, and help families make the most informed decisions on their care. We believe the Truveta platform can help improve health equity and advance personalized medicine. We are honored to be partnering with innovative and world-class health providers in this pursuit.”

Truveta is advised by a board of governors to ensure expertise is infused from a variety of perspectives for strategic stewardship. Leaders from a diverse set of health providers will provide ongoing strategic, scientific, and operational advice on areas of expertise including Ethics & Health Equity, Data Integrity, and Clinical Outcomes to help ensure Truveta operates according to its vision, the company said.

The company said that data at scale can help improve health equity, particularly when it includes diversity across ethnicity, socio-economic, and other factors. The platform will be able to help fuel understanding, leading to discovery, and better care for all communities, Truveta said.

“For years we have seen the opportunity for diverse health providers to come together with a shared sense of purpose and use our collective data for the common good of humanity,” said Rod Hochman, M.D., president and CEO of Providence, in a statement. “With Truveta, we created a unique model that is led by the health providers yet supported by one of the most talented technical teams to focus on health.”

As it builds out its technical team, Truveta is simultaneously pursuing the security certifications and privacy audits necessary to ensure trust and confidence in data protection.


HIE Leaders: Many EHR Vendors Still Engage in Information Blocking

Forthcoming regulations from federal policymakers will penalize stakeholders who engage in information blocking that prevents the flow of health data, as outlined in the 21st Century Cures Act. But a new survey of health information exchanges (HIEs) finds that the majority of respondents—55 percent—reported that electronic health record (EHR) vendors still at least sometimes engage in information blocking, while 30 percent of HIEs reported the same for health systems.

The study, conducted between May 2019 and February 2020 by health policy researcher Julia Adler-Milstein, Ph.D., of the UCSF School of Medicine, Jordan Everson, Ph.D., a health policy professor at Vanderbilt University, and Vaishali Patel, Ph.D., an analyst at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), included responses from 89 HIE organization leaders who helped measure the prevalence of information-blocking behaviors observed by these third-party entities.

The information-blocking concept was originally defined by Congress in the Cures Act, and the concept entails interfering with, preventing, or materially discouraging access, exchange, or use of electronic health information. The latest research, published in JAMIA, reveals that 55 percent of HIEs reported that EHR vendors at least sometimes engage in information blocking, while 30 percent of HIEs reported the same for health systems. The most common type of information-blocking behavior EHR vendors engaged in was setting unreasonably high prices, which 42 percent of HIEs reported routinely observing. The most common type of information-blocking behavior health systems engaged in was refusing to share information, which 14 percent of HIEs reported routinely observing.

What’s more, greater developer competition was associated with higher reported levels of information blocking, the research showed. In relatively competitive developer markets, 47 percent of HIEs reported high levels of information blocking by vendors, and 14 percent reported low levels. In contrast, 16 percent of HIEs located in relatively low competition markets reported high levels of information blocking, while 58 percent reported low levels of information blocking.

This trend was less evident for health system competition, with the same percent of HIEs (31 percent) indicating high and low information blocking in markets with high health system competition. In less competitive markets, 19 percent of HIEs reported high levels of information blocking, and 38 percent reported low levels of information blocking.

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