546 hospitals are joining forces to build a new kind of data startup that doesn’t just rely on big tech

Terry Myerson Microsoft Truveta

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Fourteen health systems, including four of the nation’s 10 largest, are forming a new company, Truveta, to learn from their patient data. 

The idea behind Truveta, now headed by Microsoft veteran Terry Myerson, is about two years in the making, Rod Hochman, the CEO of Providence St. Joseph Health, told Insider. In 2019, Providence made $25 billion in operating revenue across 51 hospitals and more than 1,000 clinics in seven states.

Hochman, who spearheaded the initiative, wanted big systems like his to work together on complex data problems, knowing their combined insights could be more powerful. It took the coronavirus pandemic, and all the confusion it brought with how to treat patients, to cause this many large institutions to act.  

Truveta is funded by the health systems partners for now and will be a for-profit entity, though Truveta wouldn’t disclose financial details. Besides Providence, its backers 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, Sentara Healthcare, Tenet Health, and Trinity Health.

Its leaders want to find data insights about health equity, clinical trials, payment models, disease treatment, and even drug creation. The providers will share their de-identified data with Truveta across these variables. 

It sounds like a problem that big tech companies like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon, with their cloud tools and data savvy, are usually tapped to solve. But these providers, with their tens of millions of patients spread out across 40 states, wanted to build something themselves.

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The only question was how, Hochman said. 

“Because typically what’s happened in the past is that people have shipped off data to a tech company and then they kind of do with it what they will,” Hochman said. “And we said, we’re not comfortable with that model.” 

Providers are carving out their own data company

For some providers, the pandemic made big tech’s tools all the more important, since they can track things like bed count, coronavirus cases, and ventilator allocation in real time. But there can be a “tech hubris” among leaders who think healthcare’s biggest problems can be solved with technology, Hochman said.

It’s usually quite a bit more complicated than that. Haven, an Amazon-backed health venture, recently collapsed, and a multitude of common problems face tech giant’s healthcare pursuits.

Some providers have concerns about data privacy when it comes to cloud providers like Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft Azure, even with the strictest agreements in place. One of the key stipulations health systems had before joining Truveta was that the data be anonymized, Hochman said.

On the other hand, healthcare leaders, who thought electronic health records were a big deal, don’t always understand technology or how best to apply it. 

“Why don’t you marry the two of them together?” he said, referring to tech and providers. “We’re going to do that on a big scale.”

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Source:: Businessinsider – Tech


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