Hospitals raise $ 95 million to use patient data to improve medical treatments


The coronavirus pandemic forced many hospitals to face an uncomfortable truth: They sat on a plethora of patient records, but despite tens of millions of dollars spent on electronic health records and IT infrastructure, they were unable to gain useful insights to help with the Treating the virus to help keep the guards ravaging the disease. That experience marked the turning point that led a group of 17 hospitals to band together, including three new members announced this week to raise $ 95 million for a startup called Truveta.

The company’s goal is to enable hospitals to monetize anonymized patient data in a way that can both improve existing treatments and develop new ones. With the addition of Baylor Scott & White Health from Texas, MedStar Health from Maryland and Texas Health Resources, Truveta now represents organizations that provide 15% of patient care in the United States. The Seattle, Washington-based startup is not led by a healthcare veteran, but rather by former Microsoft executive Terry Myerson, better known for his work on Windows and Xbox.

At the start of the pandemic in March 2020, Myerson got a glimpse into data challenges facing hospitals from former colleague BJ Moore, who is now the chief technology officer at Providence Health System. “It was just so clear that the world needed this, whether it be the health inequalities exposed by the pandemic that could not be explored, or simply the inability to make decisions about how to treat patients, or the inability to Efficiently informing health authorities, ”recalls Myerson. “[The need] The creation of this health system-led data platform just became a must. “

Although Truveta is a company that owns the hospitals that store patient data, Truveta faces competition from an army of cash-filled digital health startups that are also addressing these issues thanks to new federal regulations that encourage data sharing. “We look forward to scenarios for improving patient care, developing new therapies, and ultimately helping families on their diagnostic journey,” says Myerson. But everyone else, too, including the largest electronic health record companies like Epic Systems of Verona, Wisconsin, and Cerner of Kansas City, Missouri, who also have large anonymized data and artificial intelligence projects underway.

It’s been about a decade since the federal initiative to digitize health data began in earnest, and while certain hospitals can easily share information within a larger health system, transferring data from unaffiliated hospitals has remained a major challenge. Many hospitals have spent tens of millions of dollars on electronic health record systems just to feel like their patient records are trapped. “We have a number of very small, bespoke data projects,” says Myerson. “And I think what our country needs is this diverse data platform that is incredibly well managed because of its ethics, privacy, security and equity.”

Hospital executives had been discussing the idea of ​​a data consortium for several years, but it wasn’t until September 2020 that four systems finally took the plunge: Providence, Trinity Health, Advocate Aurora Health, and Tenet Health. And while Truveta has attracted some big-name healthcare systems, the startup is still expanding its technology. The way Myerson describes the approach very broadly is to work with each hospital partner’s IT team to help them physically move data to the cloud, which involves the tricky process of standardization. He declined to specify the cloud provider, but said that Truveta’s platform will then provide hospitals with tools to analyze the data.

While Big Tech has long tried (and often failed) to resolve healthcare interoperability issues, Myerson said it was up for the challenge. “I made my video games. I did my enterprise computing, ”he says of his time at Microsoft and his decision to move into healthcare. “It just felt like an incredibly meaningful thing to build for the world.”

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