More than a dozen major health systems, with millions of patients in 40 states, are banding together to launch Truveta, a new data-driven focused on collaborative approaches to precision medicine and population health.
WHY IT MATTERS
Some of the biggest and most recognizable providers in the U.S. have joined for the launch of Seattle-based Truveta, which will draw on their own vast troves of normalized and deidentifed data, with a keen eye on privacy and security protections, they said. The health systems are:
- 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
- Trinity Health
Truveta will leverage machine learning to help mine those many datasets to gain new insights at significant scale as the providers research the unique health needs of their own diverse patient populations.
The goal is to innovate care delivery and spur development of new therapies by leveraging “billions of clinical data points with a single search.”
The platform, by normalizing structured and unstructured data types from across those major health systems, seeks to drive approaches to diagnoses, geographies and demographics. Through automation technology, Truveta can deliver continuous learning to physicians, researchers, pharma developers and others.
Truveta will be board-advised to help ensure a variety of perspectives as the initiative grows and evolves, with special attention paid to areas such as ethics and health equity, data integrity and clinical outcomes.
“Our vision is to save lives with data,” said Terry Myerson, the former Microsoft executive and venture investor tapped to be CEO of Truveta, in a statement. “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.”
THE LARGER TREND
In announcing the Truveta platform, the health systems behind it point to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis as an object lesson in the power of data-driven research – with just a year having elapsed between the first case and the first vaccines.
But there are always more insights to be gained from mining large and diverse de-identified datasets, with better answers to questions of broad and narrow focus – especially given how the pandemic has been experienced so differently by so many different patient populations.
For instance, the Truveta announcement offered examples such as: “Which medications are most effective? When should patients be intubated? Why do African American men have significantly higher mortality rates? In the U.S., why are nearly one-third of the nurses who died of COVID-19 Filipino, even though they represent 4% of the nursing population? What are the effects of COVID-19 and related isolation on adolescents and their mental health?”
With the launch this month of an ongoing feature series on racial justice and health equity, Healthcare IT News heard from Dr. Patrice Harris, former president of the American Medical Association (and the first Black woman to lead AMA), who made the case that there needs to be better data on the communities of color that are suffering disproportionately from COVID-19.
“Many of us already knew about the health inequities,” she said. “But what this pandemic has forced us to do is have a conversation about structural racism – and more conversations about the interconnection between the social determinants of health.”
The U.S. healthcare system “has to be more focused on the determinants of why more black and brown folks are dying,” said Harris. That requires more granular, ZIP code-level data on race, demographics, socioecomic factors and more, she explained.
Hopefully the cooperation of the 14 health systems participating in Truveta can offer a richer source of data from a wide geographic footprint in order to enable advancements such as those. But it will be key to ensure integrity of AI algorithms too, since studies have shown that “under-developed and potentially biased models” can actually worsen COVID-19 care disparities for people of color.
ON THE RECORD
“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 Dr. Rod Hochman, 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.”
“The future of health care is collaborative,” added Lloyd Dean, CEO of CommonSpirit Health. “We have a unique opportunity today to rebuild the health care system in our country, so it is better, stronger, and more responsive to the needs of everyone – especially the vulnerable and underserved populations.”
“We believe the cure for certain diseases could lie within the Truveta platform,” said Michael Slubowski, CEO of Trinity Health. “For the first time in the history of health, we have enough data at scale to dramatically advance innovation in healthcare with collective commitment to partner on ethical innovation.”