Feb 15, 2021

Healthcare firms form Truveta to reduce health inequities

health inequalities
personalised medicine
clinical trials
Leila Hawkins
2 min
Healthcare firms form Truveta to reduce health inequities
New data platform Truveta has been created by 14 leading US healthcare providers aiming to reduce health inequities...

A group of leading US healthcare providers have partnered to create a new data platform that will help them deliver more personalised medicine and reduce healthcare inequalities in their communities. 

Organisations including Northwell Health, Henry Ford Health System, Providence Health System and Tenet Health have formed Truveta, a new company who state that their vision is to “save lives with data.” 

Together, these 14 health providers care for tens of millions of patients across 40 states. Through structuring and de-identifying data from each of these health providers, the new data platform will be built, with careful protection of patient privacy and security. This will use AI and machine learning, and providers will be able to learn from each other thanks to the representation of diverse populations.

In a press statement, Truveta explain that if the platform had existed before the pandemic started, clinicians could have learned best treatment paths from each other faster, including which medications are most effective, at what stage should patients be intubated, and why mortality rates are significantly higher in African American men and Filipino nurses. 

Additionally researchers could have staffed clinical trials more quickly with statistically representative populations, saving time during the vaccine approval process. A greater understanding of health equity could also have helped ensure more equitable distribution of vaccines.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how much the world needs to learn faster, so we can better serve our communities” Terry Myerson, CEO of Truveta said. “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 personalised medicine. We are honoured to be partnering with innovative and world-class health providers in this pursuit.”

Truveta will be advised by a Board of Governors to ensure there is expertise from a variety of perspectives, and leaders from a diverse set of health providers will provide strategic, scientific and operational advice on ethics & health equity, data integrity, and clinical outcomes to help ensure Truveta operates according to its mission.

“We see such a valuable opportunity to save lives in partnership with the Truveta platform” Alan Sanders, Vice President of Ethics at Trinity Health said. 

“We believe it would be irresponsible to not join Truveta on this mission. It would be a tremendous data waste and withhold valuable contributions to the common good."

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Jul 25, 2021

Getting ready for cloud data-driven healthcare

 Joe Gaska
4 min
Getting ready for cloud data-driven healthcare
 Joe Gaska, CEO of GRAX, tells us how healthcare providers can become cloud-based and data-driven organisations

As healthcare continues to recognise the value of data and digital transformation, many organisations are relying on the cloud to make their future-forward and data-centric thinking a reality. In fact, the global healthcare cloud computing market was valued at approximately $18 billion and is expected to generate around $61 billion USD by 2025. 

At the forefront of these changes is the rapid adoption of cloud-based, or software-as-a-service (SaaS), applications. These apps can be used to handle patient interactions, track prescriptions, care, billing and more, and the insights derived from this important data can vastly improve operations, procurement and courses of treatment. However, before healthcare organisations can begin to dream about a true data-driven future, they have to deal with a data-driven dilemma: compliance. 

Meeting regulation requirements

It’s no secret that healthcare is a highly regulated industry when it comes to data and privacy – and rightfully so. Patient records contain extremely sensitive data that, if changed or erased, could cost someone their life. This is why healthcare systems rely on legacy technologies, like Cerner and Epic EHRs, to manage patient information – the industry knows the vendors put an emphasis on making them as secure as possible.

Yet when SaaS applications are introduced and data starts being moved into them, compliance gets complicated. For example, every time a new application is introduced into an organisation, that organisation must have the vendor complete a BAA (Business Associate Agreement). This agreement essentially puts the responsibility for the safety of patients’ information — maintaining appropriate safeguards and complying with regulations — on the vendor.

However, even with these agreements in place, healthcare systems still are at risk of failing to meet compliance requirements. To comply with HIPAA, U.S. Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Part 11 and other regulations that stipulate the need to exercise best practices to keep electronic patient data safe, healthcare organisations must maintain comprehensive audit trails – something that gets increasingly difficult when data sits in an application that resides in the vendor’s infrastructure.

Additionally, data often does not stay in the applications – instead healthcare users download, save and copy it into other business intelligence tools, creating data sprawl across the organisation and exposing patient privacy to greater risk. 

With so many of these tools that are meant to spur growth and more effective care creating compliance challenges, it begs the question: how can healthcare organisations take advantage of the data they have without risking non-compliance?

Data ownership

Yes, healthcare organisations can adhere to regulations while also getting valuable insights from the wealth of data they have available. However, to help do this, organisations must own their data. This means data must be backed up and stored in an environment that they have control over, rather than in the SaaS vendors’ applications.

Backing up historical SaaS application data directly from an app into an organisation’s own secure cloud infrastructure, such as AWS or Microsoft Azure, makes it easier, and less costly, to maintain a digital chain of custody – or a trail of the different touchpoints of data. This not only increases the visibility and auditability of that data, but organisations can then set appropriate controls around who can access the data.

Likewise, having data from these apps located in one central, easily accessible location can decrease the number of copies floating around an organisation, reducing the surface area of exposure while also making it easier for organisations to securely pull data into business intelligence tools. 

When healthcare providers have unfettered access to all their historical data, the possibilities for growth and insights are endless. For example, having ownership and ready access to authorised data can help organisations further implement and support outcome-based care. Insights enabled by this data will help inform diagnoses, prescriptions, treatment plans and more, which benefits not only the patient, but the healthcare ecosystem as a whole. 

To keep optimising and improving care, healthcare systems must take advantage of new tools like SaaS applications. By backing up and owning their historical SaaS application data, they can do so while minimising the risk to patient privacy or compliance requirements. Having this ownership and access can propel healthcare organisations to be more data-driven – creating better outcomes for everyone. 

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