Mayo Clinic, Mercy working together on major 10-year data initiative

Mayo Clinic and Mercy this week announced what they’re calling a “first-of-its-kind alliance” between these two leading-edge IT and informatics pioneers.

The 10-year agreement will see Mayo and Mercy focus on data science for improved patient outcomes, using the troves of deidentified patient data each organization has amassed over the past decade-plus to help detect diseases earlier and enable more effective interventions.

Leaders from both health systems say the early plan is to concentrate on information collaboration and algorithm development and validation.

They’ll use a distributed data network that enables Mayo and Mercy to work with deidentified datasets without extracting or transferring any data between them. Instead, each organization will retain control over its data outcomes throughout the process.

The goal is to help data scientists analyze patterns of effective disease treatment and prevention based on longitudinal data review over extended periods of time.

The machine learning models and AI algorithms that come from this research will help point to proven treatment paths based on years of patient outcomes, and such evidence could eventually be made available to other providers to help them deliver more proactive and predictive care.

“This unique collaboration will eliminate the barriers to innovation in health care by bringing together data and human expertise through a new way of working together,” said Mayo Clinic Platform President Dr. John Halamka in a statement. “By working together, we will be able to find the best paths for treatment and diagnosis to benefit patients everywhere. Our union has the potential to transform medicine worldwide.”

While Mayo and Mercy are both longtime leaders in information technology and data science, officials say the huge datasets each has amassed since fist rolling out their EHR systems was too unstructured and complex to effectively analyze until just recently.

But secure cloud-based environments and AI and ML advancements are now enabling researchers to pinpoint patterns in the aggregated data that enable earlier detection and better treatment options.

Mayo’s expertise in highly complex care and its robust cloud platforms, along with Mercy’s more than 500 million deidentified patient encounters, will offer big opportunities for more refined algorithms. And the two health systems’ different populations and geographies will help reduce model bias and boost accuracy for stronger treatment recommendations.

“With Mayo and Mercy combining efforts, we can speed prediction and diagnosis, and provide better patient care, experience and outcomes, while ultimately saving more lives,” said Mercy President and CEO Steve Mackin.

“We also hope to innovate together in other patient-focused areas, including precision medicine, transplant care, complex cancer, cardiovascular, neuroscience and much more,” he said. “Together, we have the opportunity to do something for the greater good, be proactive and change health care for patients everywhere.”

“This gives physicians, providers and operational leaders critical information that can ensure patients receive the right treatment at the right time based on millions of previous patient outcomes, while simultaneously improving operational efficiencies and lowering costs,” added Dr. John Mohart, a cardiologist and president of Mercy Communities.

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: [email protected]

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